Series: Aces High, Jokers Wild 01
Author: O.E. Tearmann
Genre: Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, Futuristic, Dystopian, Transgender
Length: Novel (350pgs)
Publisher: O.E. Tearmann (3rd September 2018)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4 ½ Hearts
Blurb: Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century.
Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned. Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in. Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.
Review: Aidan is about to embark on his first command and he’s nervous as hell. The Wildcards were the most famous base in the Democratic States Force but since the death of their last Commander they’ve become an unruly force and it’s Aidan’s job to turn them around and make them efficient again or the base will be disbanded.
This is a great story for those who love futuristic/dystopian settings. America’s Government has fallen and seven corporations have taken over, these corporations have their own rules for their territories. Citizens are rated and if you displease those above you then you are dropped down the ranks. Depending on which corporation territory you live in then just being yourself could get you dead.
Democratic States Forces (Dusters) are fighting back the best way they can, but it’s a tough fight that’s lasted for over sixty years. Wildcards are a team who has always succeeded but when their long term Commander dies of cancer the team grieves hard affecting their performance and attitude. Aidan is brought in to repair the team but it’s a tough challenge especially when he’s dealing with his own problems and depression.
We meet the Wildcards and can see the fracturing in their team straight away, Wildcards is a family unit who are grieving for the man who brought them all together, and while they try to keep it together they resent outsiders coming in and ordering them about.
Aidan finds a home at Wildcards; he’s been rejected at his home base and knows that his life is forfeit if some of the Corporations get their hands on him. Aidan is scared to death of how people will react if they discover his secret, and although he knows it could be dangerous he finds himself falling for Kevin, the logistics officer, and Kevin has his own secrets he’s keeping.
This is a really great story, we see a group heavily affected by the death of someone who was important to them, we see a young man struggling to find a place for himself while whipping them back into shape, we see a romance beginning to blossom, and we see people fighting back against the cruel grip of selfish leaders.
I enjoyed this story, I liked the way that there was a good mix of personal interaction between the characters and the missions they took part in, meaning that neither was overlooked so we become invested in both the characters and their mission to fight against the corporations.
The romance between Aidan and Kevin is perfectly woven, both men accepting the other and their secrets but not making it too easy on either of them. The romance is just a tiny part of the story, because at the end of the day they have much more important things to focus on.
I really liked all the characters and enjoyed seeing them all together; it truly is like a large extended family and with any large family when new people come into it they have to find their own place without upsetting the status quo.
There is danger as they guy’s head out on missions; we also see personal struggles, fears, and anger.
Just don’t expect to see hands on fighting because these guys are an invisible force, they make raids, help refugees to escape the corporations, and come up with ways to help their forces while disrupting the Corporations as much as they can.
I’d recommend this to those who love futuristic dystopian stories where the oppressed fight back the best way they can, where love is discovered, where a family is rebuilt, and where something precious can be built in a desolate Country.