Far in the future, the United Commonwealth captures notorious outlaw Ia Cocha. They decide to prove that they are in control by forcing Ia to serve them, sending her to their military academy. As she plans an escape, she meets new acquaintances: Her flight master Knives Adams and her roommate Brinn Tarver, the other protagonists of the story. This book by Maura Milan was published in 2017. A sequel was published called Eclipse the Skies.
This book contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Ia is an experienced fighter, and can take on many larger opponents.
- Amicable Exes: Ia and Vetty are friendly with each other, even though they broke up before the story begins.
- Blackmail: After Ia Cocha discovers Brinn's secret, she forces Brinn to let her call her brother to make escape plans, or else she'll reveal Brinn's secret. Later in the book, Nero discovers Brinn's secret. Ia and Brinn convince him not to reveal her secret by threatening to expose Nero's cousin as a criminal.
- Explosive Leash: To keep Ia under control, the Commonwealth implant a device in her heart. It can kill her, and also cause extreme pain.
- Fantastic Racism: Due to the recent war, there's a lot of prejudice in the Commonwealth against foreign races, such as the Makolians and the Tawnies. For this reason, half-Tawny Brinn dyes her blue hair brown. (As blue hair is a distinctive Tawny trait.)
- Fire-Forged Friends: Ia starts out hating Brinn and Knives, and the feeling is mutual. But as they learn more about each other and work as a team through many trials, they learn to become friends.
- Healing Factor: Tawnies can heal their injuries in seconds, even serious ones.
- Iconic Item: Everyone in the Commonwealth recognizes infamous criminal Ia Cocha's black helmet, marked with a red feather.
- The Legend of Chekhov: Knives tells the cadets a story about an star system called Fugue, abandoned because of a mysterious monster. Ia doesn't think it's real, and neither does Knives. It turns out Fugue is a real place, where the Commonwealth has a secret portal gate called Gods Eye.
- Trading Bars for Stripes: The outlaw Ia Cocha is given a choice between serving in the Star Force or going to Moon 42. She chooses the former.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Knives Adams. Ia repeatedly mocks his name, drawing comparisons to someone else she knew named Goner.
Ia: [Goner's] name is exquisitely bad. It's punishment enough.