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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
When Commander Devon Ardel arrives at Kew, a primarily water planet where the Alliance’s remote 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron is based and very active with enemy contacts, she sees pilot fighters who have lost their will to win. They are being killed at an alarming rate and don’t have much hope. This is Devon’s mission on Kew, to turn the squadron around and get them back to being a productive fighter unit. Devon’s Blade by Ken McConnell is an action packed sci-fi novella where all the drama essentially takes place during the thrilling dogfights in the air between star fighters.
The plot is fast paced and the prose is straightforward. Military terms are extensively used in the narrative, but they are quite standard and easy to understand. The fighting scenes are thrilling and vividly described. All the characters are well developed, and even the secondary characters have sufficient depth to justify their roles in the story. Devon is easily a likable protagonist. Her determination to change the fighting tactics and the luck of the squadron is admirable, even when her pilots – and sometimes herself – doubted her optimism at first.
There’s a mystery element to the storyline as Devon and her squad try to figure out their worst enemy, who they called Red Ace because the Votainion pilot is more than just a ruthless fighter. All in all, Devon’s Blade is a solid sci-fi novella with an old school air combat appeal. It kept me interested from start to finish. I look forward to reading more of McConnell’s books.