85 points, 4 ½ stars!
Warning: Mild Cliffhanger (Ooo next book time!)
Midway Star System used to belong to the Syndicate. That was before Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary came through to save them from the mysterious Enigma race. Now, CEO Artur Drakon and CEO Gwen Iceni have teamed up to remove the remaining forces loyal to the Syndicate government and declare Midway Star System an independent system. It will only work if both of them trust each other, but how can you trust when you’ve been taught to look for betrayal in everyone?
“Iceni was going to have to trust him. That was a hell of a lot for one Syndicate Worlds’ CEO to expect of another CEO.”
Tarnished Knight was the best book in the The Lost Fleet saga by Jack Campbell that I have read so far. I’ve read the The Lost Fleet and The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier series already, and now it is time for The Lost Stars. I enjoyed the hell out of reading it. Where Geary and the Alliance feels stuffy and stilted, Drakon and Iceni feel more realistic. Where Geary is perfect and everything falls in line for him either by luck or by work, Drakon and Iceni struggle. The story just is so much more interesting this way.
The Lost Stars happens concurrently with The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier. You can either read them in publication order or one after the other (though I would recommend reading The Lost Stars after Beyond the Frontier). However, I would also say that The Lost Stars could be read completely without having read The Lost Fleet at all after a bit of initial confusion. If you have read The Lost Fleet, because this happens concurrently, you already have met the characters and you’re already aware of the situation.
First, I have to bring up the names in The Lost Stars. Artur Drakon, Gwen Iceni, Rho Morgan, Bran Malin, Donal Rogero, Gaiene, Kai. King Arthur, Lady Gwenivere, Morgan Le Fey, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table. The only one I can’t place is Rogero. So the theme of The Lost Stars is King Arthur in the same way the theme of The Lost Fleet is Anabasis. Honestly, if you know anything about me, you’ll know this is true: the fact that these names are so ridiculously over the top only increases my liking this story. It is sad, but it is true.
I really enjoyed the story of Tarnished Knight. We have seen the Alliance prior to this, now we see some former Syndicates shake off the horrible system they had before and try to make something better. It is action packed as the takeover isn’t a peaceful one. However, everything moves much faster than it does in The Lost Fleet because a lot of the battles take place on a planet. I love seeing them break free and become independent.
I mostly just really love the characters. I’m a character person through and through. I need characters to love to make me love the story. That is something I lacked with Geary – I just didn’t care about anyone there. Drakon on Iceni make me care because they care. Drakon is the more empathetic of the two, he cares about those under him and it nearly destroyed him in the Syndicate system. Iceni is more of the ice queen who has to be taught how to be empathetic again after years in the Syndicate system.
And both Drakon and Iceni don’t trust each other. The entire plan hinges on them trusting each other, and they just don’t. They constantly have to remind themselves to believe. They are constantly having to reassure the other and themselves they aren’t going to turn on each other. It really is amazing because these two are so going to fall in love with each other by the end of the series. There is a joke made in this book, and I am desperate to see the outcome of it.
Because I have read Beyond the Frontier, I know some of what is coming. I’m actually surprised where Tarnished Knight ended because I thought it was too early for the events that are about to come. I’m in for a treat in the next book indeed! Can’t wait!