81 points, 4 ¼ stars
Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary managed to get the Dancers back to Alliance space safely. Then they had a request. They wanted to visit Lyons, Kansas, but they wouldn’t say why. Things go wrong in a variety of ways, but they’re all mostly okay and ready to head back. And then the Dancers leave on another mission. Geary is asked to look after a backwater area of space experiencing a lot of troubles after the war – and finds a force capable of destroying the Alliance.
“But we’ll be highly motivated. ABout all you could do to motivate us more would be to dangle some beer out of an air lock. That’ll give us something to aim for.”
Steadfast was interesting because it had a lot going on, but not all at once. I liked this book the most in this series to date. This one had at least three major plots that happened throughout the book. It happened to make the story so much more interesting for me.
The first part is Earth, where two separate things start at once. Geary is bringing the Dancers to Earth for some mysterious task. It is actually really quite amazing, and I love it to pieces, but I won’t share what it is. But that starts the “just what the hell do the Dancers want with us” arc that spans across the entire book and beyond. The Dancers aren’t communicating to their full potential and now they’re going off to do their own thing. It is a bit worrisome, but they do appear to be allies.
The second part is that Earth system isn’t as wholesome as they had hoped. It is still broken by wars. Mars is a bit of a nightmare planet. And then there is Europa which we have already heard about. A moon that has been completely been put off limits because of an escaped virus. And they have to rescue two of their crew members from there. Interesting development. Then there is the “ha ha funny – not” portion, where the Sol system is a nightmare of bureaucracy and “has too many lawyers”. Yes, super funny. Look at all my laughing. Oh all you hear is silence? Imagine that.
When they get back to Alliance space, the politicians have a new task for Geary. There is a small planet near the border with the Syndicate that they want Geary to help. Newly Ex-Syndicate peoples are flocking to this planet as refugees. The planet doesn’t have money or forces to solve the problem. So they send Geary and a small portion of the fleet, with no resources or money of his own to work with, only his brains. I am getting really tired of the sheer incompetence of everyone in this series other than Geary and those he has trained. They cannot possibly be the only ones in the entire Alliance that can get things done. The Alliance would have collapsed years ago if that were true. I’m also really tired of Geary having to continually say he isn’t going to take over the Alliance. At this point I feel like it is the only way to save everything is for him to take over. Holy hell how is everyone incompetent?
This is also the first time Geary spends any time away from Desjani, and I really like this part of the story. Even if it was kind of uncomfortable to experience. It shows just how much Geary and Desjani work as a pair. I really like the relationship now. The whole Desjani vs. Rione thing is annoying as all hell and really, really old by now. However, Geary and Desjani are quite the pair and work well together.
There was just so much going on in Steadfast. The dancers, keeping the Syndicates from breaking entirely, supporting people breaking from the Syndicates, and keeping the Alliance government off their backs. I really appreciated it because this was the first book so far that I found I wasn’t bored during large parts of it. It was just a complete break from what I’ve come to expect out of this series. Then something happens at the very end of the book, and I’m curious where it is going to take me.