Review of KINDLE Ebook The High Ground – Book 1 of the Imperials series by Melinda Snodgrass #Brainfluffbookreview #TheHighGroundbookreview


This is one of the books that I tucked into during November for Sci Fi Month – before I realised that I’d run out of days. However, reading and writing a review about an enjoyable, entertaining space opera adventure is never a hardship…

Emperor’s daughter Mercedes is the first woman ever admitted to the High Ground, the elite training academy of the Solar League’s Star Command, and she must graduate if she is to have any hope of taking the throne. Her classmate Tracy has more modest goals — to rise to the rank of captain, and win fame and honor. But a civil war is coming and the political machinations of those who yearn for power threaten the young cadets. In a time of intrigue and alien invasion, they will be tested as they never thought possible.

This book is written from two viewpoints – and is one of the reasons why it works so well. We get an insight into Mercedes’ life and the strains of being the first young woman ever admitted to a male bastion – Solar League’s Star Command – to prepare her for the task of ruling in her father’s stead. And no – this isn’t your classic female heroine panting to knock down the barriers to women having more freedom in society, as Mercedes was perfectly happy with her court life and spending time with her highborn female companions. She is appalled when her father informs her that she will be attending The High Ground.

Her desperate reaction is also mirrored by another reluctant candidate from the other end of the social scale. Her father’s skilled but poor tailor is thrilled when his only son, Tracy, is selected as a scholarship student to attend The High Ground. Tracy isn’t so impressed – he hates the whole rotten system and has no intention of being part of it on any level, until he realises the problems it will cause his father if he walks away.

Snodgrass has been very canny in selecting both these characters as it means we see two lives at both extremes of this rigid, very hierarchical society, both with their own constraints and pressures that oddly, end up being similar even though the causes are quite different.

I’m aware that I’ve given the impression that this is one of those stories all about the social structure with lots of chat, meaningful looks and not much else – it isn’t. In amongst the classes and the difficulties of fitting in, there is plenty of action – and when it all properly kicks off with a life or death event pulling in both main characters and most of their friends and foes, I simply couldn’t put this one down.

I really enjoyed this one and am delighted to find yet another talented female author writing my favourite kind of fiction – I’m definitely going to be tracking down the next book in this series.

15 responses »

  1. Oh I have heard of this author and have been meaning to read her work. This one sounds fun. I am trying to do a little less YA on the blog this upcoming year. This one sounds great. Thanks for pointing it out to me. In looking at the plans for next year, I was entertained at how many books came from yer recommendations! Here’s to another. Arrr!
    x The Captain

    • Delighted to hear that this one has also sparked your interest, Cap:). It starts off like many others – and then takes a sudden left turn into something quite different and very interesting. I’ve also read the next two books and very much enjoyed those, too:))

      • I discovered that the local library has books one and two. I have requested them as part of the batch I am going to pick up in the new year. I am also glad to hear the rest of the series is good too. Is it a trilogy? I be excited!
        x The Captain

      • Oh yippee! I’m delighted that you are able to join in with this series. I’ve read the first three, but there is clearly more to come – I’m waiting for the next one…

  2. This one sounds promising. I recognized the cover as I saw this one recently as audiobook when I was looking for other books the current narrator I am listening to narrates, the blurb didn’t capture my attention, but your review does, so I’ll add this one to my wishlist. The two different point of views from two characters who are so different sounds like it works really well here. And good to know there is enough action as well. Great review!

  3. Interesting take on the theme of the “unwilling hero” and one that I would love to explore: although I know this author by name, I don’t believe I ever read anything by her, so I will happily add her to my “wanted” list. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • You’re very welcome Maddalena! I found this series to be a wonderful suprise, so I hope you get a chance to read it – I’d love to be able to discuss where she takes the storyline:)

  4. Pingback: The Captain’s Log – the high ground & in evil times (Melinda M. Snodgrass) – Captain's Quarters

  5. This sounds like quite fun (given your reassurances that it’s not the typical “the first woman ever to…” kind of story). I might check an excerpt if I find one to see if it should go to my TBR pile. Thank you for bringing my attention to it!

    • This is a remarkable series. It is far more grown up and nuanced than many space opera, though with still plenty of adventure and excitement. I loved the progression throughout the series. So well done!

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