by Jack Heape
I’ve always believed that science fiction is an underrated genre. It has so much to offer, and yet it’s so underexplored. This is one reason it’s my favorite genre. What I am loving about more modern sci-fi stories, however, it’s that we’re seeing more diversity and especially, more female lead characters, which I love. This novella is a perfect example of that!
“To Die A Hero: An Orion Federation Series Novella” by Jack Heape has a strong heroine and a powerful story that takes place in the vast world of the Orion Federation.
Our main character, Ensign Caroline “CJ” Jacquier is a rookie pilot who is anything but typical. I was quickly drawn in to the personality of CJ and the fact that we had a cool female lead in a sci-fi. I always wanted to be a pilot growing up and I was a huge fan of Star Wars, so this was right up my alley and it’s so nice to see a main character who represents me for a change.
She epitomizes what it is to be a hero – strong, relentless, and determined. I found the perspective of a female pilot to be interesting and a welcome change in the typically male-dominated field of military science fiction. I could feel a genuine connection to CJ and her allies as a result of the significant character development.
The plot follows CJ, a recently promoted officer, as she takes the helm of the Black Eagles, VA-2 squadron during her first Falcon command. From the very first page, we see Heape’s narrative abilities as he deftly spins a tale that incorporates humor, sorrow, camaraderie, and the grim reality of combat.
It’s a short but impactful read, action-packed from start to finish of all 88 pages. The story begins a little slowly, then picks up speed rapidly with adrenaline to keep you on the edge of your seat. The pacing is great for a novella and you will love every bit of the dramatic space fights, setbacks, and victories.
There is well placed humor and wit to break up some of the more serious subjects and I found it both engaging and thought-provoking, especially for a quick read.
It already has some really great reviews from other sources, too, including BookNerdiction, BetterAuds, and OnlineBookClub, who gave it a perfect 5-star rating. The novella has praise from readers for its compelling writing, compelling character development, and original approach to the genre.
I completely agree with their opinions. It’s a true gem to be discovered; a captivating novella and a must-read if you love sci-fi and space adventures.
About the Author
A native of South Carolina, Jack is a former U.S. Navy Submarine Officer. He is a licensed pilot, with multi-engine and instrument ratings, and is a PADI Certified Divemaster. Now retired, he is an avid boater and writes in his spare time. A cancer survivor, his current mission is to live life, love freely, laugh often, and be a friend to whomever he meets.