Review: The Mutineer’s Daughter

I greatly enjoyed Thomas Mays’s first novel, A Sword Into Darkness, and have been looking forward to reading the implied sequel. His new collaboration with Chris Kennedy, The Mutineer’s Daughter, isn’t it.

Instead, we get a crossover YA/space-opera that is a bit cramped by having been written to the conventions of the YA form. Also because, if a reliable source is reliable, it was Mays writing to an outline by Kennedy. Where Mays’s heart is – in the space-opera parts – the result has some sparkle and a bit of originality. In the YA parts it is competently executed but strictly from tropeville.

For a plot and setting teaser see its Amazon page -accurate enough, if empurpled. It is also worth noting that this is another book in which the author(s) carefully studied the Atomic Rockets website and gained much thereby.

This is not a bad book; Mays gave it craftsmanlike attention. If you like things going boom in space, you will probably enjoy it even if you are ever so slightly irritated by the insert-plucky-girl-here plot. It proceeds from premise to conclusion with satisfactory amounts of tension and conflict along the way. As long as you don’t set your expectations much above “genre yard goods” it is an entertainment worth your money.

But I’m left thinking that not only can Mays do better on his own, but in fact already has. I want that sequel.


  1. Totally agree on ‘A Sword Into Darkness’. Probably one of the better near-future sci-fi stories to come along in a while.

    Sorry to hear this new entry doesn’t live up. But I’ll definitely read it anyway.

  2. I read “A Sword into Darkness” because of your review here a few years ago and was really happy with it. Glad to see he’s got another book out, even if it’s not full bore (it apparently got the Atomic Rockets seal of approval, which is nice)… it’ll still probably be better than some of the Hugo noms I’ve read for this year…

  3. I read it and enjoyed it. A lot of the spacefaring stuff is believable. But the “plucky girl” thing is so overused everywhere and this is not even close to a top rendition of that tired plot.

    A worthwhile read, especially on Kindle Unlimited.

    Looking forward to ‘Lancers Into The Light’.

    1. I swear someone should write a parody, and name the protagonist “Catnip Evergreen”. And her middle names are “Mary Sue Rey” just to drive home the point.

  4. ♫ la la-la la la, I know something you don’t know… ♫

    I’ve read some early draft chapters of Lancers into Light. Without spoilers: terrain can matter in space, and the speed-of-light lag makes for interesting coordination problems in battle. And Tom has gotten better writing certain characters.

    Assuming the rest of the book remains as good, anyone who liked Sword will love Lancers.

      1. Nah; only the first act has been written so far, and with a two-year gap at one point (author’s personal circumstances). I’ll enjoy it when it’s done.

  5. Right now I am reading Hans G. Schantz’s A Rambling Wreck, and it reminds me so much of Heinlein’s juvenile heroes, but in the current year with relevant internet culture and all. Highly recommended.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *