In the Triangulum Galaxy, one of a number of galaxies controlled by the Empire of The DARK LORD, JENNA OF CHRISTOS finds herself on the run after she killed a patrolman. Becoming pilot on a pirate craft, several years later she and other pirates are devastated by attacks of the Imperial Legion and are now trying to regroup. Seeking funds that will help them hide out for a time, their leader THURGOD DRISTA and JENNA meet with a PROFESSOR of galactic history who gives them information, a map and an ancient artifact described as a singing stone. He tells them that this could lead them safely to a legendary treasure trove, called THE DARK LORDS HOARD, on the forbidden planet TRILLA. The hoard is supposed to belong to the ruler of the empire who vanished close to one thousand years before and is presumed to be gone. The treasure is believed to be hidden in a tunnel accessible from the planet surface but no one who has gone into the tunnel has ever come out alive or sane.
Leaving the pirate hideout immediately after the meeting and avoiding a major attack by the legion, the pirates travel to the galactic rim for supplies and to leave a false trail. With them they take the PROFESSOR and ILISA, a serving girl. However CAPTAIN TRASKA the commander of a Legions task force called Detachment T, has guessed the pirates intentions and tracked them to the rim. The pirates leave on their next leg to TRILLA unaware that CAPTAIN TRASKA with his force of heavy cruisers, is already there and lying in wait for them. Allowing the pirates to land, including an unexpected second pirate ship, CAPTAIN TRASKA sends a force of troopers to capture both craft and their guards. Before they can do this, THURGOD, the PROFESSOR and others, numbering thirteen altogether and led by JENNA entered the tunnel complex. JENNA, warned by ILISA that she must be the one to hold the singing stone, carries it in the hope that it will guide her and her companions past the many dangers in the tunnel.
Shortly afterward, VIS VISTRICER the Legions overall commander travels to Trilla in an armoured planetoid, a spacecraft as large as a moon. On his arrival at TRILLA, VIS VISTRICER meets with CAPTAIN TRASKA but before they can do much, they are both surprised by one of the LADIES OF THE CIRCLE who is waiting for the outcome of what is happening in the tunnels.
In the tunnels, JENNA leads THURGOD and the rest of party through many dangers and tests. Four are killed in the tunnels but the rest finally come to their goal where, to their surprise, in a cavern they meet the DARK LORD who is alive and very well. He has been waiting for them so he can return to the Empire. JENNA finds out that the patrol officer is alive and that she and many others have been manipulated all this time by the DARK LORD. She also finds out that ILISA, whose real name is JURA, is a member of the CIRCLE OF LADIES and was sent to teach JENNA many years before on her home planet of Christos. The DARK LORD restores and fulfills a promise to release JURA from her service as a LADY. He next has each pirate declare their own fate and takes them to the surfaces of TRILLA. There, at their election, he executes two of the pirates while JENNA is pardoned and some have the death penalty reprieved. The rest will face the courts of the Legion. VIS VISTRICER is raised to the rank of STAR COMMANDER, the highest rank in the Legion while TRASKA becomes a COMMODORE.
The DARK LORD returns to Tihab, the administrative centre of the empire. There he takes up his residence in a surprised and disconcerted imperial palace. JENNA is returned by COMMODORE TRASKA to the planet Christos where she is welcomed by the planets rulers and her family, some of whom were aware of some of what was happening.
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Ok. Jenna is interesting, and the story has too many side characters to keep track of. But that's perfectly fine, because the sci-fi turns into fantasy mysticism, and the OP Dork Lord kills off all the side characters after they travel through a magic cave and get captured with no hope of escape. Then the story goes in a completely different direction, and it's really not enjoyable at that point. The description spoils it while not being as disappointing as actually reading it. If there was any rewrite, I would recommend nerfing the dark lord magic, and maybe even have Jenna become some space pirate general who fights to become the next ruler or something. I dunno, but the way that arc ended was a disappointment. The dark lord character doesn't fit in the story. It ruins the sci-fi, he kills off the other characters all at once, and ends what could have been a cool treasure hunt with no effort. The whole thing was a setup, and there was never a reason for it. It was all a whim. Unless Jenna later rebels for the hassle, or something more interesting happens, there's really no point after that ending. The story is pretty good outside of that, but that ending is like a bad peanut in your peanut m&ms and ruins it.
MC is on the run for a crime she shouldn't be blamed for. It gives sympathy points while also showing off a good reason for her to constantly flee from others, giving us those great paranoia moments. Couple that with a general aversion to being close to anybody around her, and you have a good idea of just what this story shows off.
Is this a good story? Yes. Definitely. I enjoyed reading it, even though that might just be due to my love for space operas in general. It sorta reminds me of some of the older Russian space operas, even if there are some key differences.
However, I feel the need to point out a few flaws. This would be the grammar and general style of the story. I would normally only mention these quickly, but I feel required to mention this.
The grammar sucks at some points. It just feels like there is a need for the chapters to be run through Grammarly or other apps like it. I'm not that good at English, and I'm therefore only able to see obvious flaws. But I still saw some. This is either due to words having extra letters in them, words being out of place, or some words being replaced with others that only have a difference of a single letter.
And the style! If this was an advanced review, I would give it a three. It feels clanky, with there being extra words everywhere. I normally don't hate that, but it's done in a way here that just makes me mildly annoyed. Not the greatest of emotions to get from fiction.
Overall, I give this a 4.5/5. It would be 5/5, but the grammar and style just bring it down for me. Others might enjoy it more, but there's only one real way to tell.