Review: The High Ground

Posted July 23, 2016

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The High Ground The High Ground by Melinda Snodgrass
Series: Imperials Saga #1
Published by Titan on 5th July 2016
Genres: Sci-Fi
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Emperor's daughter Mercedes is the first woman ever admitted to the High Ground, the elite training academy of the Solar League's Star Command, and she must graduate if she is to have any hope of taking the throne. Her classmate Tracy has more modest goals--to rise to the rank of captain, and win fame and honor. But a civil war is coming and the political machinations of those who yearn for power threatens the young cadets. In a time of intrigue and alien invasion, they will be tested as they never thought possible.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and in this instance I’m very glad I didn’t. Not that there’s anything wrong with the cover, but had I seen it on the shelves of a bookshop I would have deemed it as being “not my thing”. I’m therefore extremely grateful to the publisher for emailing me about this book, I’d never have discovered it otherwise.

Tracy is the son of a tailor. Unlike the elite, he has earned his scholarship to attend The High Ground, the training academy for The League. His lowly status is looked down upon by his classmates, most of whom are upper class, aristocracy and even royalty.

Mercedes is the Emperor’s eldest daughter. Despite having had several wives, the Emperor has been unable to produce a male heir. So he has defied convention and shocked his subjects by naming Mercedes his heir, the Infanta. Furthermore, Mercedes is to attend the, until now, male academy The High Ground, much to the disgust of the academy and the high society as a whole.

While Tracy battles prejudice against his class, Mercedes battles prejudice against her sex, and so the two end up forming an unlikely friendship.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Set some 600 years in the future, it was interesting to explore Snodgrass’ futuristic world. The level of detail in this book was something I really appreciated – the new world, the society, the classes, the aliens, the technology and the references to life on Earth as we know it, all had me captured.

The High Ground is told from the perspectives of both Tracy and Mercedes. For me, this worked really well and helped to further flesh out the world by showing us life from both ends of the societal spectrum.

Tracy and Mercedes are both very likeable characters, even if they can be frustrating at times. I enjoyed following Tracy’s journey – his discovery of how the other half live. I also really like his relationship with his academy-assigned servant Donnel. I’m looking forward to the development of this relationship in future books.

When I first heard about this book I was very intrigued but the term ‘space opera’ made me a little nervous. I’m so glad I took the leap though and gave this book a go. I found myself swept up in the action, intrigued by the world and absorbed by our central characters. I will admit that there were parts that I didn’t follow on first read. I did have to reread some of the more ‘technical’ paragraphs, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story itself.

I don’t normally go for the “if you liked X then read Y” thing. However, had I not read and loved the Red Rising trilogy, I probably wouldn’t have given this a go. It’s obviously different, but if like me the term ‘space opera’ intimidates you, maybe this will encourage you to pick it up?

All in all, a great read. I genuinely can’t wait to read the next four books in this series.