The High Ground

Melinda M. Snodgrass
The High Ground Cover

The High Ground


Great action-adventure and a mystery to be solved

Synopsis: 500 years in the future, after the Emperor, lacking a male heir, decides to designate the oldest of his nine daughters as the future Empress, she is required to attend the elite military space academy which is the obligation of all first-born noble males. A poor young commoner, whose only advantages are his quick intelligence and his drive, is forced to attend that same academy on scholarship when all the other universities pass him over in favor of students who haven't already gotten a free ride for tertiary education. They develop a societally-forbidden friendship, and complications ensue.

What I thought: Technically, this would be considered YA, since the majority of the characters are 18 years old or thereabouts (with some of the expected immaturity and idiocy which tend to manifest at that age). However, the characters are well-developed, show some good personal growth by the end of the novel, and it's my understanding that the author has a good development arc planned for them in subseqent volumes. There is some great action-adventure, with an attack on the empress-to-be and the orbiting space station where the academy is located, and a mystery to be solved about who's behind it all. There is some really good worldbuilding here, too, with the various alien races and the spacecraft and technology. I found it really enjoyable. I cared enough about some of the characters that I'm really looking forward to reading more about them (book #2, In Evil Times, will be out in July 2017).