cover image A Pale Light in the Black

A Pale Light in the Black

K.B. Wagers. Harper Voyager, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-288778-8

Wagers (Down Among the Dead) kicks off the NeoG series with this fun, feel-good space opera. The Near-Earth Orbital Guard does low-profile rescue and policing work in space, akin to the U.S. Coast Guard. Other branches of the military look down on the NeoG, making it especially important to the NeoG that they win the annual Boarding Games, an all-service athletic and technological skill competition. When NeoG Lt. Cdr. Nika is transferred away from his Interceptor team, an anxious new lieutenant, Maxine Carmichael, is assigned in Nika’s place, disrupting the dynamic of the highly competitive team. As Max struggles to prove herself to her distrustful teammates, they train for the Games and work to rescue errant space travelers, leading them to stumble on a massive government conspiracy. There’s surprisingly little tension in the political story line; readers will be more invested in the interpersonal relationships as Max attempts to win over the crew—among them Nika’s prickly adopted sister, Jenks—and be accepted into their chosen family. This effortlessly entertaining novel is sure to have readers coming back for the next installment. Agent: Andy Zack, Zack Co. (Mar.)