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A Pale Light in the Black

(NeoG #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  60 reviews
The book centers on the rivalry between military branches, which plays out through the Boarding Gamesa competition pitting service members against each other to see just who is best in events like tactical problem is solving, piloting, fencing and martial arts, and, of course, boarding actions. And while other military science fiction features the exploration and defense ...more
Published March 3rd 2020 by Harper Voyager
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Lex Kent The three main characters include a lesbian, asexual woman and bisexual woman. There are also some gender neutral and bisexual secondary characters…moreThe three main characters include a lesbian, asexual woman and bisexual woman. There are also some gender neutral and bisexual secondary characters too. I might even be missing some because it was a nice wide range of sexuality and genders. (less)

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Lex Kent
This was a solid and enjoyable sci-fi read. Im a big sci-fi fan but have not read as much lately as I would like too. This had the sci-fi space opera feel that I was looking for and I was happy to read this. This reminded me a bit of Firefly mixed with Starship Troopers with a pinch of Enders Game thrown in, but without all the bugs and aliens. This is a pure humans in space story that is very character driven.

There are three main characters: A lesbian, a bisexual woman, and an asexual woman.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Star Trek fans
Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Pale Light in the Black follows the crew of Zumas Ghost, who are members of the Near-Earth Orbital Guard (NeoG), a branch of the military akin to the Coast Guard in space. These characters are the highlight of the story. First off, theyre diverse, representing a variety of sexualities, gender identities, religions, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Theyre also extremely likable. I
Beth Cato
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, ebook, netgalley, 2020
I received this advance galley via NetGalley.

I'm a huge fan of Wagers's other sci-fi series (The Indranan War and The Farian War) and I was very excited to see what they could do with space opera set closer to Earth. While this book didn't have the instant magnetism of the previous books--in part because I had a hard time keeping the large cast straight in my head--once it's gets going, it's good.

The NEO-G are essentially the space coast guard. Under-funded and under-appreciated, they monitor
Barb in Maryland
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f-goodies
Absolute romp of a book! Great fun, engaging characters. I had a blast with this one.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is another great read from author KB Wagers! This romp combines a lot of the things I love to see in my space operas! Romance! Cool action hero antics! Emotional talks with partners! Amazing world building that has inclusivity built in!! I love Max the main character and her journey as she grows with her new NeoG team and found family. I love the games and how it felt like the olympics with a spirit of competition and togetherness. Jenks is amazing and it was so good to see them grow ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Author K.B. Wagers latest series offers a space opera world that feels like the lovechild of The Expanse and Becky Chamber's Wayfarers series. Although it lacks the species diversity of Chamber's books, it does offer racial, orientation, and economic diversity, and the found family of the crew of Zuma's Ghost, a NeoG (Near-Earth Orbital Guard vessel is similar in feel to Wayfarers. Set in the 2400s, centuries after a worldwide societal collapse, A Pale Light in the Black is equal parts
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, arc
A close loss in the annual boarding games has haunted the crew of Zuma's Ghost in the NeoG, or Near-Earth Orbital Guard in KB Wagers new series which starts with A Pale Light in the Black. The crew is looking forward to this year's games which they feel confident will finally result in a win for the NeoG. Unexpectedly, their best swordsman is transferred and a new lieutenant, Maxine Carmichael, is assigned to take his place. Max is faced with a daunting task, trying to prove to herself and her ...more
Didi Chanoch
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book packs a LOT in a compact and efficient package. You've got space, mystery, military, romance, and sports rivalries. Wagers does a deft job of combining these elements, while freeing them from a whole bunch of toxic tropes. This book is a fun queer romp with a nice mystery and that good good team spirit many of us love. It's a book about a bunch of decent people trying to do their best to help other people and each other while also having fun. I certainly had fun reading it!
Leslie Allen
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I won a uncorrected proof copy in a twitter contest run by the author! Thank you!

"Live your truth, Whatever it is"

K.B. Wagers has done it again. Somehow, someway, she's written a set of characters that made me laugh, cry, and everything in-between. It's a messy, gloriously messy, group of characters that come together as a family that would do damn near anything and everything for each other.

short & sweet review:
-Ace and lesbian main characters, more queer people than you can
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a lot of fun with a lot of great characters. Um...and some romance. Yay!
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
For some jobs, you need a military presence, but in space, as on the sea, there are lots of times where that's just overkill, and what you really need is law enforcement and rescue teams. On the high seas, that means the Coast Guard, but in space, it's the Near Earth Orbital Guard, NeoG. In either case, it's the service that get's the lion's share of the dirty work, dealing with smugglers, pirates, and shipwrecks, but not the big-budget that goes to the Navy. Lt Maxine Carmichael chose the Guard ...more
On paper, this book should have been right up my alley - you know, space opera with a military slant, tournaments, a series of mysterious incidents, found family, romance KB Wagers was basically ticking off all the elements I love. And I did end up enjoying the book, it just took a while for me to get there.

A PALE LIGHT IN THE BLACK turned out to be a slice of life space opera. So not the grand-swashbuckling-battles-through-space-type of SF, more of everyday life in space, and I needed to
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thank you goodreads for the ARC. I must have thought this was a regular mystery when I applied but it actually was a fantasy, not a genre I like. This was life in the galaxy after "The Collapse ", quote from pg. 89 "the Collapse was so far in humanity's past and yet affected everything moving forward. It seemed sometimes that it had been only yesterday that the world fell into chaos and ruin that's to the indifference and greed of humanity". Now in the 2400's we learn of life in the galaxy ...more
Jeff Cosmi
Jan 31, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sorry this was a DNF at 25% for me. From the part that I did read the writing was good but just boring. Nothing happened that made me want to stay up for one more chapter let alone continue reading the next day. After reading some other reviews to see where to book is going and will eventually end up theres just no need for me to sit through this. There are too many great to good books in my TBR list to make me want to spend any additional time with this one. Thanks to good reads for proving ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable. I loved the relationship dynamic between all of the characters, especially between Max and Jenks. It reminds me alot of the partnership between Harmony and Jessie in the Harmony Black series, one of my favourite friendships in fiction. Also the casual and extensive variety of sexualities, none of which were made a big deal out of, was a nice addition.
I did feel sometimes that certain scenes were missing, like a lot of the Games stuff seemed almost glossed over, but it didn't
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, kindle
This is just the fun found family story to get us through the current reality. Hopeful, honest, casually normatively queer Swashbuckling start to a new series. Welcome to your new favorite read.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasnt sure what to expect from this book. The description sounded interesting, so I thought Id give it a try. I wasnt completely disappointed. It took me a while to get into the story, but it did pay off for me in the end. Ill probably check out the next book by the author. ...more
Kelly Knapp
Good writing, well developed characters but I don't care to read LGBT and gender fluid stories. Many people want a notation if a book is specifically Christian, I want The same for LGBT.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

Military SF, done right, is one of the best things to read if you are looking for serious competence porn, and A Pale Light in the Black is definitely military SF done very, very right.

There have been plenty of milSF stories featuring various branches of the service taken into space. Often those services model the space forces around either the Navy, as in Honor Harrington, or the marines, like Torin Kerr. The concept of a space Army seems like a bit of an
Jan 24, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
'The NEO-G books are going to be a departure from the grimdark futures and instead focusing on a moment in time when humanity is at its best. This will be accessible science fiction with interesting characters and exciting action. Plus, were going to have all the things I know I love reading about: found family, snarky siblings, explosions, and triumphant celebrations.'


Online Eccentric Librarian
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, arc
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

Although this book never connected with me, I can see why it is rated well among readers. More soap opera than space opera, it has all the 'feelz': the men are full of heart and the women kick ass, and they come from all nationalities and backgrounds and orientations. But none of these felt like real people: methodically constructed caricatures, each ticking off a LGBQTA or interracial check list to make sure you
Caitlin G
Rating based on a free copy provided by the publisher for review.

Final Rating: 3.5/5 stars - Liked it!

A PALE LIGHT IN THE BLACK is a slice of life space adventure set amongst a group of people whose literal life mission is to help people.  In short, its all the ingredients that make up my perfect comfort read.  For better or worse, PALE LIGHT has a little more of a "day in the life" feel than the action-driven plots of Wagers' other books.  There are definitely bursts of fighting and tension,
Laura (crofteereader)
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I almost docked a star for a particularly eye-roll-worthy villain but then I had to consider how much I enjoyed this book as a whole. Space opera is definitely one of my favorite sub-genres because it combines the sense of adventure with found family and comingled cultures and extreme diversity (even if there are no aliens this time around). Plus I love seeing how each author approaches the many challenges that space travel presents. The other factor to this book is that it's technically ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this title from the publisher.

Look. Youve stumbled into trouble beyond recall. You cant run far enough away from this. I could give the lot of you more money to just walk away right nowmore than youll see in your entire military career. You dont know what youre messing with.

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this story, which takes military sci-fi in an unexpected direction. Far from focusing on closely described battles and military
Christopher Gerrib
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read and enjoyed all 5 books so far in K. B. Wager's Indranan War series, so while I was waiting for her to finish Book 6 I decided to buy this book, the first in the NeoG series. NeoG stands for Near-Earth Orbital Guard, which is the space equivalent of the modern US Coast Guard. "Near-Earth" is a bit of a misnomer as much of the action takes place out by Jupiter.

The book is set several hundred years in our future, after a mid-21st century event called "The Collapse." Earth is rebounding and
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a fun military science fiction book by a (new to me) author but one who has five other books to her credit already. Set in our solar system, Earth was decimated several hundred years ago (by the people on Earth of course) and since then has rebuilt and headed out into space. The main characters in this book are in the Near-Earth Orbital Guard (NEO-G), basically the Coast Guard of this age. This story follows the crew of one their small ships, Zuma's Ghost, stationed on Jupiter.
As a new
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff, mystery, lgbtq, romance
This book is recommended for fans of Becky Chambers, and I can see the comparison. It's a warm, upbeat, found-family space opera with lots of queer characters. I really enjoyed the character-focused story.

Wagers isn't as deft a storyteller as Chambers - the writing was less graceful, and the actual plot felt a bit formulaic (although the characters were anything but). The main things that knocked this from 5 stars to 4 were some narrative choices that I found disconcerting and bewildering. If
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, reviewed
I received an uncorrected proof at NYCC 2019. Many thanks to Harper Collins for the copy.

This book was a little difficult to get into at first (more on that below). But once it gets going it's a really enjoyable journey. I liked all the POV characters, which is rare. Their stories were very compelling. This made for a nice balance as the story propelled towards the finish. Normally there's the inclination to skim the material to see what happens. But here, the author makes us care enough about
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book started out with a NeoG space crew preparing for a competition with members of other branches of the military. Along the way, they start to uncover a plot to make and distribute a fake drug, LifeEX, which is used to extend people's lives, especially useful in long space journeys. I felt that the first half of the book was a little bit slow, and I really wanted to see more development of the characters. About half-way through the story though, the plot intensified and I had a lot more ...more
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K.B. Wagers lives and runs in the shadow of Pikes Peak. She loves flipping tires and lifting heavy things. She's especially proud of her second-degree black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu and her three Tough Mudder completions. When not writing she can be found wrangling cats with her husband.

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