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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
In Mirov by David C. Hoke, agent Anastasia Mirov has had her life torn from her. Eight years later she's off Earth and on a Mars colony, maneuvering around fires and mineral rights, wading through remnants of executions, resolving conflict through battles, hacking, hijacking, kidnapping, and zipping around space with the support of her AI companion Ethel, in the mission to lock antlers with the most powerful “protector” known to man, Unidom, crafted by Mirov's nearest and dearest with the best of intentions. Some argue that it is the same good intentions that pave the way to hell. Mirov can take a lot because of what she is and also because of what she is not. The lines between who her allies are don't just blur, they practically evaporate. As the layers of betrayal and conspiracy start to peel back, Mirov must transition from the hunted to the hunter once more to protect the thing she loves the most in the entire universe.
For any reader who was worried that there might not be any coffee, hot dog machines, or microwave bean and cheese burritos in Earth's alternative dystopian future, we're good here. They exist, and trust me when I say those creature comforts are amplified by the world David C. Hoke has crafted in this ramped-up, full-speed science fiction novel. Mirov is an exceptional character who is terrifying and empowering all at once. As a mother, I clicked right in with the driver behind every decision Mirov made when she realized they were hers to make. It's impressive how naturally it comes to her, and when we meet her mentor, we understand that moral ambiguity isn't really a thing, not in her, and not because others use it or her as a weapon. On that topic, Ethel is absolutely amazing. She is always in Mirov's ear, always at her back, and is one of the best allegories of a conscience I've encountered. The dialogue, even the dialogue of a child, is totally authentic across the board, and that matters so much more given what Hoke delivers in one of many twists. Here's to hoping he continues to deliver to his readers. Mirov is very highly recommended.