Title: Some Desperate Glory
Author: Emily Tesh
Length: 436 Pages
Category: Sci-Fi, Teen Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: Engaging with Kyr, as difficult as that frequently is, and a willingness to see her through the good and the bad, is a journey of perseverance that pays off in the end.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: While we live, the enemy shall fear us.
Since she was born, Kyr has trained for the day she can avenge the murder of planet Earth. Raised in the bowels of Gaea Station alongside the last scraps of humanity, she readies herself to face the Wisdom, the powerful, reality-shaping weapon that gave the majoda their victory over humanity.
They are what’s left. They are what must survive. Kyr is one of the best warriors of her generation, the sword of a dead planet. When Command assigns her brother to certain death and relegates her to Nursery to bear sons until she dies trying, she knows she must take humanity’s revenge into her own hands.
Alongside her brother’s brilliant but seditious friend and a lonely, captive alien, Kyr escapes from everything she’s known into a universe far more complicated than she was taught and far more wondrous than she could have imagined.
Review: Emily Tesh’s Some Desperate Glory has quite a lot to say—some of it subtle, some of it more overt—about totalitarianism, fascism, and indoctrination. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel in which the Earth and trillions of its humans have been annihilated in a war with an alien species. As in any aggression, there are winners and losers, but only one side wants the battle to rage on. The hate and poison that seeps from one human generation to the next, the children groomed to carry on a fruitless crusade which has, in effect, stolen bits of their own humanity, creates the internal and external conflict for the story’s young narrator, Valkyr.
Kyr was born and bred to be a warrior, nothing more, nothing less. She has been taught from the cradle that the majo are the enemy of humans, and the humans who live among the aliens (her own sister included) are traitors no more worthy of a peaceful life than the majoda. Liking Kyr or even feeling sympathetic toward her as the story unfolds is not an option. The only person who believes Kyr is the hero of this space opera is Kyr herself. It’s not until she begins to interrogate her thoughts and feelings independent of what she’s been taught that she begins to question. And it’s not until she learns what is expected of her that she begins to rebel. That’s when the empathy between her and I began to overcome my aversion to her and everything she’d stood for.
While there is no small amount of action and suspense in Some Desperate Glory, no few scenes of danger, tension, and drama, there is no question that this is a character-driven novel. It is the story of a teenage girl who is consumed with propaganda to the exclusion of critical thinking. In a near case of Stockholm Syndrome—near, because she wasn’t aware she was even a hostage to her uncle Jole—Kyr is immersed in the only life she’s ever known; she was nurtured to be imperceptive to anything but the mission. When she gets a second chance to right wrongs and make amends, the narrative turns to found family and friendships, love and sacrifice, and the pursuit of wisdom to achieve peace.
Fans of Tesh’s Silver in the Wood and Drowned Country will recognize the author’s knack for telling a compelling story, albeit Some Desperate Glory is worlds different in tone and voice. Engaging with Kyr, as difficult as that frequently is, and a willingness to see her through the good and the bad, is a journey of perseverance that pays off in the end.
You can buy Some Desperate Glory here: