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The High Ground

(Imperials #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  348 ratings  ·  81 reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 356 pages
Published July 5th 2016 by Titan Books
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Zachary H I don't know for sure. I did find out one interesting piece. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database does contain some short stories in a list with…moreI don't know for sure. I did find out one interesting piece. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database does contain some short stories in a list with the Imperial Saga books:
published before the book series. Never read them myself, though. If the database is correct, perhaps this is what you are remembering?(less)

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
An old-school military SF book set around the space service military academy, the High Ground, and dealing with issues of gender, race, class and empire/colonialism.

The Empire is a human creation where several conquered alien races are second class citizens. Probably actually third class, as there is a human aristocracy as well (with an amusing/terrifying origin). There's an interesting element to the Empire in that the problem isn't resource scarcity, it's a scarcity of humans. The means by
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I thought this was a very fun book. YA-ish in content if not in tone, which makes sense since it is very much a coming of age tale for our two heroes, Mercedes and Tracy. It's a fully realised world (if sometimes odd; a juxtaposition of 20th century culture with 16th century Spanish mores and hierarchies - there's an explanation for this but I'm not sure it worked all that well for me - and yet, I didn't care all that much, as I loved the characters and the writing). Lots of commentary on class ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
A nicely engaging military academy story, which Snodgrass calls "merely the first act in my five-act drama." So, lots still to come as the characters leave the academy, The High Ground, and proceed to the next stage of their lives.

Although the story itself is pretty basic, ultimately I liked both the mix of characters and the Colonial Spanish influenced world (although I admit to referring to the character list a few times.) The whole class based social structure was infuriating, and really had

Not entirely sure how I feel about this book. On one hand, this is a good scifi adventure, engaging, fast-paced, combining the military school story with elements of a YA romance. We witness the development of two characters at polar extremes of the social scale, one the daughter of the Emperor, the other the son of a poor taylor. The Bildungsroman aspect works very well, both protagonists having to re-evaluate themselves and the world around them. Yes, they do make mistakes and come across
Blodeuedd Finland
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
It started well enough, though it was so YA. Nothing wrong with that, but I really feel like this should not be marked adult. Nothing makes it so. They act like 14 year olds. We see them at school, soccer game, bullying. Make them 20, make it adult, or make them actually 14. I felt that the book was conflicted.

And then it just got depressing, and I started skimming, I checked book 2 how her life will be and it will suck, and still suck in book 3. Rather depressing.

I guess she could not make it
The Captain
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! This here be a combined review of the first two books in the Imperials saga. While I try to post no spoilers, ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

So basically I have to review these books together because I literally read book one then picked up book two and read that as well. Seriously this series should have more love! The first book centers around the elite training academy of the Solar League. Okay so space training academies are rampant in sci-fi
David Harris
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance copy of this book.

Six hundred years in the future, enabled by the discovery of how to fold space, humanity has spread out across the Galaxy. Old Earth is abandoned, a violent, inhospitable place, its climate ruined, and of interest only to eccentrics and romantics.


In other ways things have gone backwards - the Galaxy is ruled by the Emperor of the Solar League under whom an extensive aristocracy flourishes.

Like aristocracies everywhere, they
Jeffe Kennedy
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It wrapped me up in the exquisitely built world and the fascinating characters. The story raced along and kept me guessing. As the first book of five (guaranteed, as the publisher contracted all five!), the romance will still take time to build and overcome the substantial obstacles. AND I AM SO ON BOARD WITH THIS, PEOPLE.


My greatest regret is I have to wait until next July to get the next book. My only solution is to make you all read it, too, so we can commiserate.

Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Gratuitous foul language and way too much tedious romance for my juvenile taste, bleh, but decent premise and cast, very good military college and space action (the author is not hesitant about killing or traumatizing major characters). The supposedly enslaved aliens are a particularly nice touch, as they obviously have something up their multilimbed sleeves. The "blindly arrogant aristocracy vs. rising middle/lower class" bit is overdone but the author cleverly plays it for laughs by having all ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lola by: S.J. Higbee
Shelves: audiobook
Audiobook review

I had seen this book in passing when I was looking for other books narrated by Nicole Poole , I have to admit the cover and blurb didn't catch my attention and I scrolled past it. Then I saw one of my blogger friends review this one and her review made me curious and combined with the fact it was narrated by Nicole Poole, I decided to give this one a try. I wasn't quite sure what to expect form this book, but I definitely had a great time listening to it.

The High ground is told
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-up, titan-books
This is so YA. Characters are teenagers forced into military service, there's a love triangle, the entire political system is palpably corrupt, a looming evil is on the horizon -- despite the cover art, it's YA.

Note that I don't mean this as a criticism, just an observation.

Another observation-- we know from the conceit of the book that our main characters are gonna end up being very good at military and political stuff. But right now they're just learning, and it was fun to have characters
D.F. Haley
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Does not break any new ground recycling the military school/coming-of-age sci-fi genre. Another case of a lower-class brilliant youngster trying to find a place in a caste-ridden monarchical system overcoming prejudice and economic/social constraints. At least the various tropes are assembled well and the main characters are well-drawn and engaging. Most of the plot elements could be seen coming from a mile away, but despite lack of surprise, remains a tale well-told.

Most interesting elements
S.J. Higbee
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is written from two viewpoints – and is one of the reasons why it works so well. We get an insight into Mercedes’ life and the strains of being the first young woman ever admitted to a male bastion – Solar League’s Star Command – to prepare her for the task of ruling in her father’s stead. And no – this isn’t your classic female heroine panting to knock down the barriers to women having more freedom in society, as Mercedes was perfectly happy with her court life and spending time with ...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
There is a lot that is familiar in The High Ground. The setting is a military academy named The High Ground.. Trace, one main character is there on a charity scholarship. Mercedes, the other main character, is the daughter of the Emperor. The first meeting between the two is accidental and neither knows who the other is. That changes as the two arrive on the first day. The Emperor has no sons and has made his daughter his heir. She is the first woman to go to the High Ground. Trace dislikes the ...more
John Christensen
Not bad, but not different

This is a very well written book. The problem is that it's a well-written book that hits every expected beat dead-on and never veers away. From the generic future setting with nobles, where humanity went out into the stars, found all sorts of aliens that just happened to be their tech level and decided "fuck it, let's conquer them", to the fact women have basically few rights because apparently conquering aliens requires non-stop baby making, to a princess entering a
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
3.75 stars

I found the world-building a bit confusing, and wish it had been more detailed. The writing could be pretty flat, and only the two main characters had any depth. There were pacing issues, but the action at the end made up for the sluggishness throughout. This spent a lot of time setting up the relationships and challenges that both Tracy and Mercedes will have to face in future installments, but if you enough space operas, this should entertain. I will read at least the next book,
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought The High Ground was an amazing book that mixed hierarchy within society along with some science fiction themes involving space travel and aliens. Based around two characters Tracy (bottom of society) and Mercedes (Princess and high part of society), they form a bond together at The High Ground Academy where they don't necessarily want to be.

For a larger review regarding spoilers, you can find it here. Don't want to spoil it for you possible readers without telling you!

Text Addict
It was quite disorienting to encounter a space opera that doubles down on the nineteenth-century-style empire trope by actually including nineteenth century religion, cultural attitudes about (human) gender, and obsession with the threat of the Other. The dash of the more modern fear of genetic engineering really read like more of the same.

It was an interesting and absorbing story, once I got over the shock, but ultimately not convincing enough in plot or politics for me to give it more than 3
Christina Harsch
Well thought out, but with some parts that were much to predictable.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book by Melinda M. Snodgrass a lot until the ending. I did think the ending was realistic, but it wasn't the way I wanted it to end. So on the whole I enjoyed the book. It's a story of cadets at The High Ground which is the elite training academy for officers in this world. At least one year of the training academy is required for the eldest son in each aristocratic family. A few students from the lower class are given scholarships each year. The aristocrats look down on them and ...more
Peter Tillman
Ho, hum, another Galactic Empire. All New! All Fresh! Not.

In this one, as you can readily discover nearby, the aging Emperor, having failed to produce a Son and Heir on six successive wives, rams through a law to allow his eldest Daughter to inherit. Radical concept: an Empress who's not just a brood mare! So I hesitated after I picked this one up from the New Books shelf in Santa Barbara *..... But Robyn's review and comments swayed me,
Deborah Jade
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
The story of the oldest daughter of an emperor who has had the laws change to allow her to inherit in a patriarchal society. However she must attend (and graduate from) 'The High Ground', the military academy where all males of the upper class must attend for officer training.
It's also the story of an only son from a lower class family, in a society of large families, who has won a scholarship to 'The High Ground' but is not interested in military service.
As they both commence their military
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall I think I can say really liked this book. I’m hesitant to say that I loved it, even though it felt like all the elements were there for me to love it, it just didn’t hit the mark a bit. My main gripe is I think the overall story was a bit shallow, I was never truly immersed in the world. I liked both Mercedes and Tracy but I didn’t feel a deep connection with them. I enjoyed the overall plot and setting but didn’t feel like I could feel myself in the world. Again the entire book just ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eeeh it was ookay

2.5 I expected more. There were plot holes and gaps in the world building and storyline, but what annoyed me the most was the characters. Tracy was a stuck up prig, treating the servants (aliens) like lesser beings even though he was supposed to be see as the only one who treated the servants like people. It made it seem like the author has not idea how one treats those slightly different than you with respect. So racist? Speciesist? And the relationship between Tracy and
Probably a 2.5. As a subject of the Crown I found the whole aristocracy thing a bit difficult - certainly our royal family might have unbent a little recently but they are still surrounded by protocol and rules, Princess Margaret apparently reveled in the fact that commoners couldn't eat before or after she had finished - I found Mercedes' liberal attitude rather unbelievable as was Tracey's lack of deference.

I guess it's more a parable about current or even slightly outdated attitudes to women
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was rated as 4/5 -for its genre. It's a Space Opera, with two dissimilar young people thrown together, initially fighting their parents' career plans but - of course - discovering they have common goals and issues. Thacius is a poor tailor's son, entering the Space Academy on a scholarship. Mercedes is the Emporer's daughter, groomed to become the first female on the throne. There are aliens too- begrudging accepted by the humans as servants. And as unexpected allies. Not quite a ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I only got about 10% into this book before quitting, and normally I wouldn't write a review in such a case because I didn't read enough to give any kind of fair appraisal, but for this one I just wanted to register my disgust. It takes a lot for me to quit a book barely three chapters in, but this one managed it. The world building is nonsensical and piss poor from the very first chapter, the characters are annoying, and the writing is just bad. So bad. I know it's practically a meme at this ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, military
Such a disappointment. I was taken in my the cover. I might have been hoping for a MilSF to rival Tanya Huff's excellent Confederation series; I would have been content with a decent adventure tale a la Honor Harrington. What I got, though, was a cliched plot (in which surprisingly little of substance happens), with underdeveloped characters, awkward prose, a climax that felt totally random and tacked on, and a handful of really irritating choices (the aforementioned Spanish language issues and ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I'd give this 3.75 stars, only because it reads like a novel that's been split in half into for profitability rather than story. Other than this point, its perfect for folks who like military sci-fi but on the light side of things. This is a fun universe with a fascinating cast of likable (and also not so likable but still compelling) characters and an engaging story. It was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
Nicole Luiken
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strong premise: a princess entering military academy, the first woman to do so, because her father has broken tradition to make her his heir. An interesting world with lots of aliens and class struggle. The last hundred pages had lots of action and finished on a strong note. I'll be looking for book two.

Quibble: I was a little put off by the giant chip on Tracy's shoulder.
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Melinda Snodgrass was born in Los Angeles, but her family moved to New Mexico when she was five months old making her almost a native. She studied opera at the Conservatory of Vienna in Austria, graduated from U.N.M. with a degree in history, and went on to Law School. She practiced for three years, and discovered that while she loved the law she hated lawyers so she began

Other books in the series

Imperials (3 books)
  • In Evil Times (Imperials, #2)
  • The Hidden World (Imperials, #3)