This week saw the release of the eighth and final installment of Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, a Kindle Serial by prolific Star Wars author John Jackson Miller. The Orion Offensive is Miller’s first novel set in an original universe and my first introduction to him as an author. I was already excited for his upcoming novel Kenobi, and after reading The Orion Offensive, I can’t wait for more original stories from him. More specific thoughts after the cut.
What’s The Orion Offensive about, you ask? Here’s the description from Amazon:
After an egotistical stock trader for one of the twenty-second century’s biggest corporations gets greedy and loses his employer a fortune, he has two options: go to jail or make the money back before anyone notices. Unfortunately, the only place such profits can be found is the galactic frontier, a region so dangerous it’ll take an uneasy alliance with a crew of rugged mercenaries to keep him alive and in the black.
You’d have to be insane to trade with the violent denizens of the Orion Arm, but with just one hundred days to recoup $100 billion, Jamie Sturm is feeling a little crazy. Standing between Jamie and a variety of agonizing deaths is Surge Team Sigma, the squad of power-armored mercenaries tasked with protecting him. Their last job ended in disaster thanks to Jamie’s scheming, and, led by the implacable Bridget Yang, the team is determined to keep the hapless Jamie alive long enough to fix their reputation. That is, assuming they can ignore their own growing desire to flush the annoying tagalong out of the nearest airlock.
A space opera fueled by today’s financial bravado, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive strikes a thrilling balance between desperate firefights and trenchant dark humor.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it? And it is. Plain and simple, I loved this book. It’s the light-hearted science fiction/adventure story I’d been wanting and needing in my life. It’s no secret that I love space opera; I also love humor, so combining the two is a tug on my heartstrings.
The characters are engaging and compelling, especially Jamie and Bridget, the two main protagonists. I found myself wanting to punch Jamie in the face one minute and cheering him on the next. The rest of Surge Team Sigma are also fun to watch, especially Private Arcturus Dinner (yes, he’s called Private Dinner), and Kolvax is an effective mustache-twirling villain that’s perfect for space opera.
The universe is different and compelling, with the different companies competing for land and trading rights. It gave the novel a sense of realism even though it takes place hundreds of years in the future. I also appreciated the constraints Miller created by only letting objects of a certain size travel faster than the speed of light, and only by using a “whirlibang” device. That added a lot more tension to the plot.
Speaking of the plot, there were lots of twists and turns, and reading the novel in serial format made me curse Miller and his cliffhangers on Twitter more than a few times. I loved all the exotic locations and aliens, and that not one moment of this book takes place on Earth. Moreover, while The Orion Offensive has a definitive ending, the universe Miller has created seems ripe with potential for other stories–in fact, reading the words “Follow Surge Sigma again in OVERDRAFT: THE CYGNUS CAMPAIGN” on the last page made me do a little cheer.
I give Overdraft: The Orion Offensive a big GO.
The novel is currently available in Kindle format, and will be available in paperback on July 23.