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Hold Fast Through the Fire

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The Near-Earth Orbital Guard (Neo-G)—inspired by the real-life mission of the Coast Guard—patrols and protects the solar system. Now the crew of Zuma’s Ghost must contend with personnel changes and a powerful cabal hellbent on dominating the trade lanes in this fast-paced, action-packed follow-up to A Pale Light in the Black. Zuma’s Ghost has won the Boarding Games for the The Near-Earth Orbital Guard (Neo-G)—inspired by the real-life mission of the Coast Guard—patrols and protects the solar system. Now the crew of Zuma’s Ghost must contend with personnel changes and a powerful cabal hellbent on dominating the trade lanes in this fast-paced, action-packed follow-up to A Pale Light in the Black. Zuma’s Ghost has won the Boarding Games for the second straight year. The crew—led by the unparalleled ability of Jenks in the cage, the brilliant pairing of Ma and Max in the pilot seats, the technical savvy of Sapphi, and the sword skills of Tamago and Rosa—has all come together to form an unstoppable team. Until it all comes apart. Their commander and Master Chief are both retiring. Which means Jenks is getting promoted, a new commander is joining them, and a fresh-faced spacer is arriving to shake up their perfect dynamics. And while not being able to threepeat is on their minds, the more important thing is how they’re going to fulfill their mission in the black. After a plea deal transforms a twenty-year ore-mining sentence into NeoG service, Spacer Chae Ho-ki earns a spot on the team. But there’s more to Chae that the crew doesn’t know, and they must hide a secret that could endanger everyone they love—as well as their new teammates—if it got out. At the same time, a seemingly untouchable coalition is attempting to take over trade with the Trappist colonies and start a war with the NeoG. When the crew of Zuma’s Ghost gets involved, they end up as targets of this ruthless enemy. With new members aboard, will the team grow stronger this time around? Will they be able to win the games? And, more important, will they be able to surmount threats from both without and within? 


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The Near-Earth Orbital Guard (Neo-G)—inspired by the real-life mission of the Coast Guard—patrols and protects the solar system. Now the crew of Zuma’s Ghost must contend with personnel changes and a powerful cabal hellbent on dominating the trade lanes in this fast-paced, action-packed follow-up to A Pale Light in the Black. Zuma’s Ghost has won the Boarding Games for the The Near-Earth Orbital Guard (Neo-G)—inspired by the real-life mission of the Coast Guard—patrols and protects the solar system. Now the crew of Zuma’s Ghost must contend with personnel changes and a powerful cabal hellbent on dominating the trade lanes in this fast-paced, action-packed follow-up to A Pale Light in the Black. Zuma’s Ghost has won the Boarding Games for the second straight year. The crew—led by the unparalleled ability of Jenks in the cage, the brilliant pairing of Ma and Max in the pilot seats, the technical savvy of Sapphi, and the sword skills of Tamago and Rosa—has all come together to form an unstoppable team. Until it all comes apart. Their commander and Master Chief are both retiring. Which means Jenks is getting promoted, a new commander is joining them, and a fresh-faced spacer is arriving to shake up their perfect dynamics. And while not being able to threepeat is on their minds, the more important thing is how they’re going to fulfill their mission in the black. After a plea deal transforms a twenty-year ore-mining sentence into NeoG service, Spacer Chae Ho-ki earns a spot on the team. But there’s more to Chae that the crew doesn’t know, and they must hide a secret that could endanger everyone they love—as well as their new teammates—if it got out. At the same time, a seemingly untouchable coalition is attempting to take over trade with the Trappist colonies and start a war with the NeoG. When the crew of Zuma’s Ghost gets involved, they end up as targets of this ruthless enemy. With new members aboard, will the team grow stronger this time around? Will they be able to win the games? And, more important, will they be able to surmount threats from both without and within? 

30 review for Hold Fast Through the Fire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Actual rating is a 4.5 C/W:(view spoiler)[gaslighting, death of a loved one, grief, acephobic + arophobic comments (challenged), suicidal ideation (hide spoiler)] Hold Fast Through the Fire was a really satisfying addition to the NeoG series. Many of the characters I loved from A Pale Light in the Black were back along with the addition of a new spacer, Chae. Chae was a lovable addition to the crew and watching them find their place on Zuma's Ghost was a touching parallel to Max's journey in book Actual rating is a 4.5 C/W:(view spoiler)[gaslighting, death of a loved one, grief, acephobic + arophobic comments (challenged), suicidal ideation (hide spoiler)] Hold Fast Through the Fire was a really satisfying addition to the NeoG series. Many of the characters I loved from A Pale Light in the Black were back along with the addition of a new spacer, Chae. Chae was a lovable addition to the crew and watching them find their place on Zuma's Ghost was a touching parallel to Max's journey in book 1. I had initially been a little nervous about the fact that the crew of Zuma's Ghost changed between book 1 and book 2 but ended up thinking it was for the best. This change gives characters I already knew and liked reasons to keep growing as characters while also laying the groundwork for compelling interpersonal conflict. Hold Fast Through the Fire is a character-driven story that had a bit more of a significant external conflict than its predecessor. I found the smuggling plot line interesting though was frustrated with the fact that (view spoiler)[the conclusion felt really rushed at the end. A Pale Light in the Black did a similar thing but since that story focused a bit more on the Boarding Games -- this one doesn't to the same degree -- I was willing to let it go. Here it just felt unsatisfying, particularly as the smuggling conflict was the root of some serious interpersonal conflict. (hide spoiler)] Despite having a more prominent external conflict, I was also sad to see that Hold Fast Through the Fire largely omitted the fight scenes that had been such a treat to read in book 1. Even the combat elements of the Boarding Games received a lot less attention. That said, I love the crew of Zuma's Ghost, especially Max and Jenks, so I would happily read about them doing anything for 400 pages. Hold Fast Through the Fire was a satisfying sequel and I hope we get more NeoG novels.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Barb in Maryland

    The blurb is excellent--really does a good job of setting the stage. Read it. Note: I really feel that reading the first book (A Pale Light in the Black) is essential for getting the most out of this one. K.B. Wagers kept me turning the pages as fast as I could by really ramping up the emotional conflicts. The success of the crew depends on each member having complete trust in the others. That trust is weakened by the fact that certain people are keeping secrets--secrets that threaten the whole un The blurb is excellent--really does a good job of setting the stage. Read it. Note: I really feel that reading the first book (A Pale Light in the Black) is essential for getting the most out of this one. K.B. Wagers kept me turning the pages as fast as I could by really ramping up the emotional conflicts. The success of the crew depends on each member having complete trust in the others. That trust is weakened by the fact that certain people are keeping secrets--secrets that threaten the whole unit. The reader knows those secrets--I found myself wanting to shake some sense into several of the secret keepers (at least one of whom could see the damage being done and yet clung to the 'need to know' philosophy until it was almost too late). Wagers gives us an emotion and action packed addition to the Space Opera genre. I got the impression that this wrapped up the major story arc that started in the first book. That said, I want more NeoG stories, please.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    4.5 stars - it's really only not getting 5 because you absolutely cannot go into this book without fresh memories of book one or the ability to take in a lot of character names, military ranks, and nicknames and just roll with them until they start to make sense. This book, y'all, took what I loved about the first book (queernormativity, a cast of very interesting and complex characters, and a deep focus on trust and communication) and raised the stakes brilliantly. Where book one was seemingly a 4.5 stars - it's really only not getting 5 because you absolutely cannot go into this book without fresh memories of book one or the ability to take in a lot of character names, military ranks, and nicknames and just roll with them until they start to make sense. This book, y'all, took what I loved about the first book (queernormativity, a cast of very interesting and complex characters, and a deep focus on trust and communication) and raised the stakes brilliantly. Where book one was seemingly all about the Games with a little bit of real work on the side, this was very much the opposite with a complex villainous plot that needed routing out, characters undergoing emotional turmoil, frayed trust, epic communication skills and addressing people's needs, queer rep that totally goes above and beyond (in the most amazing way), and using the brief mentions of the Games as a metaphor for the cohesion of the team. Masterfully done, honestly. The bad guys were a little too melodramatic, but the really great supportive conversations between the good guys was worth it. People apologize sincerely when they screw up. The incorrect decisions are examined to show readers clearly why the things they did were wrong. We normalize therapy and addressing needs rather than wants, asking for permission for intimacy even in established relationships. We get to see grief. We get to see found family at its absolute best. TL;DR if you like space opera / military scifi even remotely, you need to read this series. It's worth it. {Thank you Harper Voyager for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts are my own}

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Furger

    Thank you to Edelweiss for the ARC! Wagers has done it again with the NeoG. I love these characters and this world that they have created so ducking much. A+ can’t wait for the next adventure.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality I positively ADORED the first book in the NeoG series, A Pale Light in the Black, to the point where it was one of my A++ reviews AND on my Best of 2020 list. It got me hooked on this author, to the point that I’ve been reading their previous series, The Indranan War and The Farian War, whenever I’m looking for an SFnal pick-me-up read. Of course, all of that put this book, Hold Fast Through the Fire, on my list of Most Anticipated Reads for 2021. And it was Originally published at Reading Reality I positively ADORED the first book in the NeoG series, A Pale Light in the Black, to the point where it was one of my A++ reviews AND on my Best of 2020 list. It got me hooked on this author, to the point that I’ve been reading their previous series, The Indranan War and The Farian War, whenever I’m looking for an SFnal pick-me-up read. Of course, all of that put this book, Hold Fast Through the Fire, on my list of Most Anticipated Reads for 2021. And it was definitely worth the wait! But one of the things that I really loved about A Pale Light in the Black was that it made for excellent competence porn. Honestly, all my favorites last year qualified as competence porn. Reading about people who were just plain very good at their jobs doing those jobs very well shined a light in what was otherwise a rather dark year of incompetence. So I was a bit surprised when the first third of Hold Fast Through the Fire did an all too excellent job of demonstrating just why both Groucho Marx and Doctor Who labeled “military intelligence” as a contradiction in terms. Certainly the intelligence department of the NeoG is NOT displaying any of that vaunted commodity when it decides to use four NeoG Interceptors and their crews as bait for a terrorist and not tell them about it. Especially as the members of those crews – see the comment about competence porn above – are very good at their jobs and more than intelligent enough to figure out that something is wrong about the runaround that they are getting – and to start figuring the whole thing out on their own. Because the crew of Zuma’s Ghost are, in fact, damn good at their jobs. They also have excellent bullshit detectors, even when the BS is being slung by one of their own. Or perhaps especially then. In the first book, there was, of necessity, a cargo hold’s worth of setup. Introducing the characters, creating the world, explaining just enough about how history got from point A, our present, to point B, their future. The story in that first book mostly felt, not exactly low-stakes, but certainly less humongous stakes than this time around. That was a story where the intraservice Boarding Games became a metaphor for the crew of Zuma’s Ghost learning how to be a team both at the games and out in the black. This time, although the Boarding Games are still a factor, the stakes for the story as a whole are much higher and have much broader implications. Also, where first time around the team didn’t exist yet and had to form itself, this time the team that we watched build in the first book begins this story even more fractured than a couple of changes in personnel should have caused. Back to that problem of military intelligence again. The high-stakes mission that the crew of Zuma’s Ghost is caught up in is wrapped up in wealth, power and privilege, and the way that the rich and powerful never seem to face the consequences of the dirty deeds that they feel entitled to commit. The plan is to drop those consequences squarely on their heads. If the NeoG can just manage to keep their own heads in the face of so many deaths – including entirely too many of their own. Escape Rating A: This was one of this epic, can’t put it down reads. I started in the morning and finished late in the evening because I just couldn’t stop. Then I went to bed with an horrendous book hangover that I still haven’t shaken. Although there were certainly points during that first third where I wanted to reach through the book and shake someone – preferably the control freak in NeoG intelligence who was using his friends and his colleagues as unwitting bait because he didn’t want too many people to know what was going on and question him about it. It was painful watching these characters that I’ve already come to know and love struggle to punch their way out of a maze that they shouldn’t have been in in the first place. I wanted to stand up and cheer when they gave the idiot the dressing down he REALLY deserved. But the big and high-stakes part of this story revolved around the plan that NeoG intelligence had been keeping under wraps. A senator, a shipping company executive and a thug (and doesn’t that sound like the start of a bad joke) have been spending years making oodles of moolah in an interplanetary bait-and-switch scheme. They’ve been stealing from both the government and the outer colonies, taking money for colonial supplies, shipping substandard goods to the colonies, and then selling the goods they’ve stolen on the black market to those same colonies for a huge markup. Their scheme is coming to a close. NeoG is closing in, and they’re decided to go out in a blaze of other people’s glory by fomenting unrest in the colonies and using the resulting chaos for one last score before they slip away into the black. It’s a huge organization with a lot of tentacles. Tentacles that reach out to hurt NeoG as the net closes in. On the one hand, the whole nefarious scheme sounds all too plausible, not just then but honestly now. It’s the same colonizers’ rape of their colonies that has gone on since the very first country got big enough to call itself an empire. So the scheme, in all its terrible awfulness, works all too well as a plot device. The stakes feel realistically high and get brought home to our heroes in a realistically painful fashion. But the leaders of the scheme as characters read as just a bit too far over the top. A plan that intelligent and that successful should be led by equally savvy villains. This bunch read more like comic book villains. Admittedly extremely successful comic book villains but still, their leader got way too close to an actual BWAHAHA to take as seriously as the crimes they committed warranted. But this was a great story about a terrific team beating impossible odds to save the day and make each other proud. I loved the way they got the job done and done oh so well. There were also plenty of heroes to go around to balance out those cartoonish villains, but the one who saved the day more often than anyone expected was Doge, the dog-shaped robot who is turning out to be more dog than anyone ever imagined. I had a great time with Max and Nika and the entire crew of Zuma’s Ghost, and I can’t wait for their next adventure. I’m still chuckling a bit that one of the Navy ships that helped out in the final encounter was the Normandy. Because of course it was.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    The interpersonal relationships were superbly written. Sham the battles were barely brushed upon.. Oh well the lore make up for it as well. Good addition to this setting

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anj✨

    Hold Fast Through Fire is the second book in the NeoG series. It was a fascinating and unique story and has tons of adventure, fun characters, mystery, and political intrigue. First, I like that it has a cast of characters with their pronouns and content warning. Hold Fast Through Fire is a character-driven story so the character arcs are remarkable. I like the dynamics between the characters. They are well-drawn out. I sympathize with some, but I'm not really invested. The world-building is solid Hold Fast Through Fire is the second book in the NeoG series. It was a fascinating and unique story and has tons of adventure, fun characters, mystery, and political intrigue. First, I like that it has a cast of characters with their pronouns and content warning. Hold Fast Through Fire is a character-driven story so the character arcs are remarkable. I like the dynamics between the characters. They are well-drawn out. I sympathize with some, but I'm not really invested. The world-building is solid and the writing style is engaging and easy to follow. Also, there are some scenes when I just go "???" since it isn't relevant to the plot and the villains aren't the brightest bulbs. Overall, this is a fun and quick read. It started slow and pick up its pace in the second half. The relationship between characters and the world is excellently written. Big thanks to HarperVoyager and NetGalley for the DRC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heron

    Hold Fast Through the Fire is the second entry in the NeoG series. With familiar characters, new introductions, a focus shifted away from the Games, and even higher stakes in the complicated conflicts throughout, KB Wagers delivers another compelling and action packed novel. Personnel and role changes aboard the Zuma’s Ghost set the stage for the second novel, which largely revolves around political intrigue and espionage. Max and Jenks retain prominent roles and their friendship and character ar Hold Fast Through the Fire is the second entry in the NeoG series. With familiar characters, new introductions, a focus shifted away from the Games, and even higher stakes in the complicated conflicts throughout, KB Wagers delivers another compelling and action packed novel. Personnel and role changes aboard the Zuma’s Ghost set the stage for the second novel, which largely revolves around political intrigue and espionage. Max and Jenks retain prominent roles and their friendship and character arcs are easily some of my favourite elements about this series, in addition to the casual queernormativity. This novel introduces Chae-Ho Ki, a nonbinary main character, in addition to expanding more on the relationships of polyamorous characters. You’ll want to refresh yourself before tackling the second novel if it’s been a while since you’ve read the first; the story jumps right in with a roster of names and organizations as long as my leg, and had I not immediately read these books back to back, I would have needed a refresher. The content matter throughout Hold Fast Through the Fire veers far darker than the first entry in the series; please heed the content warnings provided by the author in the beginning of the book. In my opinion, this shift benefited the narrative, as the emotional beats and climactic action moments within the novel left me by turns breathless and crying. As in A Pale Light in the Black, K.B. Wagers excels at character work, and while I was worried about the change in main characters, I needn’t have worried. Pacing issues—particularly an ending that felt extremely rushed given the sheer number of plot threads needing to be tied up—and a lack of the dramatic action scenes I adored in the first installment bumped this one down to four stars for me. Still, this is a wonderful series that fans of space opera should be checking out, particularly if you enjoy a military-esque flavour to your queer space found families. Thank you to Harper Voyager and Edelweiss for an advance reading copy. All opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cressa

    Doge stole the show for me this time around. I am throughly enjoying this series and can't wait for the next book to come out. Arc from netgalley. Doge stole the show for me this time around. I am throughly enjoying this series and can't wait for the next book to come out. Arc from netgalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anny Barros

    This is, hands-down, one of the best sci-fi book series I've ever read. I love and would die for any of these characters 💖. The day K.B. Wagers announces they'll no longer release a book from the series, it's the day I'm gonna be deeply sad. Seriously, this book, just as much as the first one, kept me on my toes with a really intriguing storyline. I had to stop reading a few times to catch my breath and stop my eyes from watering (maybe I'm in too deep in this story, lmao). The characters are my This is, hands-down, one of the best sci-fi book series I've ever read. I love and would die for any of these characters 💖. The day K.B. Wagers announces they'll no longer release a book from the series, it's the day I'm gonna be deeply sad. Seriously, this book, just as much as the first one, kept me on my toes with a really intriguing storyline. I had to stop reading a few times to catch my breath and stop my eyes from watering (maybe I'm in too deep in this story, lmao). The characters are my dear beloveds, and I don't know how they do it, but I ADORE the way Wagers write the interpersonal relationships in this book series. Seriously... Nobody is doing it like them! If you're expecting two-dimensional characters, I'm sorry, but you're not getting that here. Each have their own depths, with their own struggles and feelings t0 deal with, and I LOVE that. Seriously, if you like well-written and developed characters on your books, go read this book series NOW. Apart from that, the queernormative on this book is the cherry on top of everything else. I was a bit anxious about how they would deal Max's asexuality on this book, but it was really good so far (her relationship with Nika is everything and I hope we get to see more of them in the next book, if we get another, please let us get another book on this series, FOR REAL). I'm literally SO OBSESSED with the relationship between Jenks, Luis and Tivo (PLEASE I NEED MORE!!!), and now I'm scrabbling the internet searching for more books with polyamory relationships 👀. Anyway, I was a little worried about how the team would deal with the departure of their previous Captain and Chief, but they really came together again and I loved how everything was written. Seriously. I'm trying to hold myself back to not read this one all over again (I know I'm gonna fail at some point, lol). But yeah, if you're interested in a military sci-fi book series (that treads lightly on the military, if I say so, the Neo-G is somewhat better than your normal military brand), with a really absorbing storyline and incredible cool queer characters, this book series it's definitely for ya! Go for it! You're definitely gonna love it as much as I do. That's it, now I need to learn how to deal with the emotional hiatus till we get another book from this series. And I really hope we get another book, if not, I'm gonna be the most miserable person on this earth.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julia Truitt

    This is a really cool overall idea! I'm personally a fan of "softer" sci-fi and this is a good example of that, giving us some action scenes with technology but also focusing a ton on interpersonal relationships and human drama (perhaps more so than "how tech-y things work" etc). There's a ton of gender diversity here, and it's really great -- it's awesome to see multiple non-binary characters, we don't get to see that often!! Jenks's personality is a ton of fun and Chae is a great character too This is a really cool overall idea! I'm personally a fan of "softer" sci-fi and this is a good example of that, giving us some action scenes with technology but also focusing a ton on interpersonal relationships and human drama (perhaps more so than "how tech-y things work" etc). There's a ton of gender diversity here, and it's really great -- it's awesome to see multiple non-binary characters, we don't get to see that often!! Jenks's personality is a ton of fun and Chae is a great character too. I think anyone who reads this would find a bunch of characters to relate with!! A few things made the plot a bit hard to get into sometimes: I think my problem that lasted for at least the first act is that a billion characters are introduced in the first few chapters and it's sometimes hard to keep track of who's doing what, especially since on top of their names and titles a lot of them also have nicknames that aren't always super clear. BUT, to be totally fair, there's a legitimately-helpful chart in the start of the book with the names, jobs/titles, and pronouns for each character. So when I did get confused on which person was responsible for what task I flipped back to the front to get a refresher. Still, I feel like I had to do that kind of a lot, and it was distracting. I didn't really DISLIKE any characters, but if there were maybe fewer of them, it'd be easier to get into each characters' arcs/growth/lessons they learn more. Also, I think the dialogue scenes oftentimes tend to drag on too long and feel repetitive -- as a generic not-spoilery example, there's a LOT of back-and-forth between various crew members about convincing Chae to open up that doesn't really seem to bring anything new or add additional suspense to what secrets Chae might be hiding. So streamlining some of that kind of stuff would make it easier to get swept away in this plot. Overall though, this is really cool!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tad

    Getting to know the characters and the world of the NeoG (Near Earth Orbital Guard) in A Pale Light In The Black was half the fun. With that basis, the second book, Hold Fast Through The Fire really soars to new heights in K. B. Wagers’ latest thrilling adventure! Fresh off their second consecutive victory in The Boarding Games, the annual competition among the military branches, the crew of Zuma’s Ghost is dealing with the retirements of a couple of key crew members as well as integrating their Getting to know the characters and the world of the NeoG (Near Earth Orbital Guard) in A Pale Light In The Black was half the fun. With that basis, the second book, Hold Fast Through The Fire really soars to new heights in K. B. Wagers’ latest thrilling adventure! Fresh off their second consecutive victory in The Boarding Games, the annual competition among the military branches, the crew of Zuma’s Ghost is dealing with the retirements of a couple of key crew members as well as integrating their replacements into the team. The Games foster bonding amongst the crew and build the trust that is necessary when their lives are dependent on one another out in “the black”. Meanwhile, a task force is being formed to patrol the area around the Trappist station where funds and supplies are going missing, keeping the colonists on the edge of starvation and financial ruin. A conspiracy is discovered which includes trying to start a war with Mars separatists in order to distract from the financial misdeeds. Unraveling the conspiracy, bringing the criminals to justice and staying alive are going to test the NeoG like never before! The plot moves steadily forward through the first part of the book and then picks up even more intensity as it barrels toward an exciting conclusion filled with battles, explosions and excitement all along the way. As great as the plot is, the relationships between the characters fuel the story. Intensity and depth of emotion pull you in, underscoring the seriousness and tragedy of what is happening. No more so than with Jenks, a five-foot-nothing kid from the streets with a punch that can lift you out of your boots and wrapped in emotional armor that makes it tough for anyone to penetrate. Wagers marries intense character drama with space adventure, politics, action and mystery. Hold Fast Through The Fire shows just how good this series can be. Fans are going to be excitedly waiting for the next installment. Highly recommended. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tara (Spinatale Reviews)

    Hold Fast Through the Fire is an excellent follow-up to A Pale Light in the Black. Wagers takes everything I loved about the first book (interpersonal conflict, found family, cool space battles) and builds on it in this one. Plus there’s some great political intrigue, some spying, and a whole lot of lying. Which, as you can imagine, leads to some excellent conflict as characters struggle with reconciling the role they have to play with their morals and beliefs. It was interesting to see how Max, Hold Fast Through the Fire is an excellent follow-up to A Pale Light in the Black. Wagers takes everything I loved about the first book (interpersonal conflict, found family, cool space battles) and builds on it in this one. Plus there’s some great political intrigue, some spying, and a whole lot of lying. Which, as you can imagine, leads to some excellent conflict as characters struggle with reconciling the role they have to play with their morals and beliefs. It was interesting to see how Max, Jenks, and the rest of the Zuma’s Ghost team have grown in between the two books and how they grew during the course of this book. Although this series has all of the trappings of a space adventure, it is, at it’s heart, a character-driven series. I also thought that Chae was an excellent addition to the team, and I’m looking forward to seeing them in future installments! Overall, the NeoG series is a fun read, full of well-developed characters and great action. Definitely would recommend if you’re looking for a new sci-fi series! *Disclaimer: I received an advance book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    ρɦαɳƭσɱ (ժαղcҽ's ճαճ)

    4.5 Talk about a ride and a half. The emotions this book made me go through almost gave me whiplash but in a good way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Blount

    The Zuma' Ghost team keeps growing...up and together. Adversity breeds tough choices, but they make them as a team and we get to cheer them all along the way. The Zuma' Ghost team keeps growing...up and together. Adversity breeds tough choices, but they make them as a team and we get to cheer them all along the way.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    gahhh i love this series so much - queer found family in space is the SUPERIOR TROPE (also side note the poly relationship in this book is EVERYTHING!!!!!)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Francisco

    Most Japanese books I've read have a list of names, grouped by organizations or people living in a particular place. The idea behind this is to help you keep track of all characters and know where they belong, be it a police precinct or a specific family. It might have to do something with the characters used, but that just speculation on my part. So when I started reading Hold Fast Through the Fire and found such a list, I was excited. My excitement, short lived. The list was meant to indicate Most Japanese books I've read have a list of names, grouped by organizations or people living in a particular place. The idea behind this is to help you keep track of all characters and know where they belong, be it a police precinct or a specific family. It might have to do something with the characters used, but that just speculation on my part. So when I started reading Hold Fast Through the Fire and found such a list, I was excited. My excitement, short lived. The list was meant to indicate pronouns, for instance, a woman would be referred to others as "he", a man, as "they". I don't know much about the correct grammar used when talking to or about pansexuals/transexuals, so what looked to me like a mistake, might not be one: a man referred to as "They" by others, used "me" when referring to himself, and not "us". Not used to reading a book written in this fashion, it took a while to get past it. Maybe is just me, but a bad story doesn't magically turn into a good one, just by adding pansexuals/transsexuals left and right into the mixture, this story did so. [Blurb goes here] As you might have guessed from my earlier rant, I didn't read the first book in the series. That being said, I think that behind all the "let's add as many genders as humanly possible", there's a good story, not a great one. The first half of the book seems lazy. One fight scene in particular could have been amazing, but ended up being flat. The story builds up in the second half, which I enjoyed throughout. This is a character driven story, characters evolve as the story progresses. If you are a fan of K. B. Wagers, this is a most read. Sadly, I didn't turned into one by reading Hold Fast Through the Fire. I had fun, though, but not enough to continue reading the series. Thank you for the free copy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Pomerico

    K.B. Wagers just gets better and better, and while I'm certainly biased, their development of the NeoG universe has been exciting to see. While A Pale Light in the Black is a fun romp, now that all the characters and world are established, K.B. is able to set us down an action-packed, heartfelt adventure full of the crew of Zuma's Ghost that you absolutely live and die with. Love this book and this series and this author! K.B. Wagers just gets better and better, and while I'm certainly biased, their development of the NeoG universe has been exciting to see. While A Pale Light in the Black is a fun romp, now that all the characters and world are established, K.B. is able to set us down an action-packed, heartfelt adventure full of the crew of Zuma's Ghost that you absolutely live and die with. Love this book and this series and this author!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Just like book one, A Pale Light in the Black, the second book has fantastic character dynamics. This book is set two years later, with the crew of Zuma's Ghost continuing to rock it at the boarding games. But this year, some of their crew is changing. Rosa and Ma are retiring, and Nika has returned to the crew in Rosa's place, Jenks is now chief, and a new Spacer Chae Ho-ki (they/them) is welcomed. But Chae hides something from the crew, something that puts the crew and Chae's loved ones at ris Just like book one, A Pale Light in the Black, the second book has fantastic character dynamics. This book is set two years later, with the crew of Zuma's Ghost continuing to rock it at the boarding games. But this year, some of their crew is changing. Rosa and Ma are retiring, and Nika has returned to the crew in Rosa's place, Jenks is now chief, and a new Spacer Chae Ho-ki (they/them) is welcomed. But Chae hides something from the crew, something that puts the crew and Chae's loved ones at risk. Meanwhile, Nika has been tasked with a secret mission from Intel, and he's struggling with how to lie to the crew while maintaining a relationship with them, particularly with Max. I thought the bad guys were a bit too dumb at times, but overall this is a great sequel to an engaging series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    In K. B. Wagers' "Hold Fast Through the Fire," the NeoG kick ass, take names, and hug each other a lot. The story focuses more on the interpersonal relationships and the battle games between the various military groups. A task force has been assembled to take down the people behind the problem of supplies not getting to the habitats in the outer solar system. Max, Jenks, and the rest of the team on Zuma's Ghost are part of the force. I usually try to avoid spoilers, per NetGalley rules, but one In K. B. Wagers' "Hold Fast Through the Fire," the NeoG kick ass, take names, and hug each other a lot. The story focuses more on the interpersonal relationships and the battle games between the various military groups. A task force has been assembled to take down the people behind the problem of supplies not getting to the habitats in the outer solar system. Max, Jenks, and the rest of the team on Zuma's Ghost are part of the force. I usually try to avoid spoilers, per NetGalley rules, but one or two may pop up during this review. I'm conflicted. The leaders of the task force are all male. They all decide to keep the mission secret from their teams, which are mostly comprised of females. The reasoning behind this is to keep the potential leaks to a minimum. The leaders all recognize that their teams will be extremely mad when they find out they've been kept in the dark. They also don't consider that their team members have unique skills and could have valuable insights if they were only "read in" to the mission. So, when things predictably go pear-shaped with some near-fatalities, and the teams figure out what's going on, there's some well-justified anger. Now, most of the blame has to go to Stephan, as it's his order that gags the other leaders. The most aggravating part is when Max and Jenks pointed out ways they could have helped in specific situations, the guys all say, "yeah, we didn't think of that." When there are terrorist attacks on various military facilities, Stephan and another task force leader fake their deaths. This seems to serve no purpose other than to send Jenks into a tailspin. Max and Jenks also forgive Luis, Tivo, Nika and Stephan far too easily, in my opinion. So, I'm conflicted. The physical affection between the teammates felt a lot more like the camaraderie in Wagers' Hail Bristol series. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but I expect this series to be more military than the other. I also can't think of a time where she let her male characters make the female characters feel like crap so much. Somehow, I still liked the story. I think credit for that goes to Jenks and Doge. Doge the robot dog was amazing in this book, and I hope his character progression continues, as well as that of Jenks. Three out of five stars. I received an advance copy from HarperVoyager and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    books_to_review

    🔥Hold Fast Through the Fire by K.B. Wagers🔥 •This story was such a great and unique one. I definitely think K.B. Wagers had a great writing style. In all honesty I don’t really read Science Fiction, but I really was intrigued by this cover and wanted to give it a go. Such a great premise and such likeable characters. I really do think this story was so fascinating. Also, I was instantly hooked towards the end. Personally, I didn’t really feel attached to the story at the beginning because there w 🔥Hold Fast Through the Fire by K.B. Wagers🔥 •This story was such a great and unique one. I definitely think K.B. Wagers had a great writing style. In all honesty I don’t really read Science Fiction, but I really was intrigued by this cover and wanted to give it a go. Such a great premise and such likeable characters. I really do think this story was so fascinating. Also, I was instantly hooked towards the end. Personally, I didn’t really feel attached to the story at the beginning because there was a fighting scene that I thought was a bit boring. The second half definitely did make up for it. I really enjoy those books that have a character driven focus and let me tell you this one is one of those. I really did enjoy these characters. However, I’m giving this book a 3⭐️ because it felt a bit too flat for me. I tend to not read these genre because of the times the world it’s set on is too vague. I don’t think this was one of them, but I think the story just didn’t really appeal to me as much as I wanted to. The main focus I’m giving it a three star was because of the pansexuality/transsexuality in this book. Do I think the idea of it in these characters and story was a great addition? Yes, absolutely! Do I think it was handled and directed the best way it could’ve been? No. I know it sounds harsh, but I really wish it would’ve been better presented. Ultimately, this was definitely out of my comfort zone. Considering the first half felt dull, I still enjoyed it overall. The ending was great! I also really liked the characters. I would still recommend this if you’re very into science fiction!• {Huge thank you to NetGalley, Harper Voyager, and K.B. Wagers for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.}

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tim Ludy

    This is the second of KB Wagers' books that has come with a content warning. This time it is for emotionally manipulative relationships. Just like last time (in Farian War #2), this really hurt my enjoyment of the book. For the majority of the novel the NeoG crew are lying and mistrustful of each other. There's nothing wrong with this kind of story but it felt out of place in the follow-up to a really fun sci-fi action story and overall just wasn't very fun to read for SO LONG. One thing I really This is the second of KB Wagers' books that has come with a content warning. This time it is for emotionally manipulative relationships. Just like last time (in Farian War #2), this really hurt my enjoyment of the book. For the majority of the novel the NeoG crew are lying and mistrustful of each other. There's nothing wrong with this kind of story but it felt out of place in the follow-up to a really fun sci-fi action story and overall just wasn't very fun to read for SO LONG. One thing I really liked from the first book is the main problems and mission the crew faced would be occasionally broken up by an alert from a ship that needed their help. It gave it a very Coast Guard feel when they put aside everything else and went out to save people in a cool action scene. This sequel didn't have any of those moments. It really could have used them to add more action and break up the tension caused by all the lying and emotional manipulation. The Boarding Games also probably could have been completely cut from this book. Although they are some of the best parts of the first one, they feel just tacked on to this one and don't really add anything to the plot. Hoping the series continues and still tackles serious storylines but finds a way to release the tension a little more often and just overall have more fun.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Evan Ladouceur

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a proof in exchange for a fair review. This is the second NeoG book, featuring a military style Coast Guard in space. It is set in an interstellar future but stays local in our Solar System. Hold Fast Through the Fire is very much a sequel. If you haven’t read the prior book, I think the personal relationships and background would be very challenging, particularly the personal stuff (lovers,friends, family). The mystery thread is fine - Wagers is Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a proof in exchange for a fair review. This is the second NeoG book, featuring a military style Coast Guard in space. It is set in an interstellar future but stays local in our Solar System. Hold Fast Through the Fire is very much a sequel. If you haven’t read the prior book, I think the personal relationships and background would be very challenging, particularly the personal stuff (lovers,friends, family). The mystery thread is fine - Wagers is good at writing about mysteries and conspiracies - but I didn’t feel fully engaged with the various protagonists. The most involving was Chae, the new crew member with secrets; I found them (characters are identified by gender and Chae is non-binary) well drawn and their plight, if unoriginal, effectively portrayed and sympathetic. I don’t think NeoG comes across as a terribly realistic organization, which obtruded on the text for me. The interstitial boarding games material wasn’t an effective framing device for me, though I appreciated the reduced focus on the games relative to the first book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    deep

    PW Starred: "Wagers’s second NeoG novel (following A Pale Light in the Black) serves up buffet-size portions of everything their fans have come to expect: dug-in friendships, action, impossible odds, and clever dialogue that always hits home. The Near-Earth Orbital Guard, a space-based Coast Guard equivalent, is gearing up for the annual Boarding Games, and the crew of Zuma’s Ghost worries they won’t be able to maintain their winning streak following a personnel shake-up. But once they’re back o PW Starred: "Wagers’s second NeoG novel (following A Pale Light in the Black) serves up buffet-size portions of everything their fans have come to expect: dug-in friendships, action, impossible odds, and clever dialogue that always hits home. The Near-Earth Orbital Guard, a space-based Coast Guard equivalent, is gearing up for the annual Boarding Games, and the crew of Zuma’s Ghost worries they won’t be able to maintain their winning streak following a personnel shake-up. But once they’re back out in the black, that concern is put on the back burner as the crew confronts a massive conspiracy that could spell war between the military and the separatists on Mars. Contending with dangerous secrets and mounting mistrust, the crew is almost torn apart—but what the bad guys don’t understand is that the more you attack the Zuma’s Ghost team, the more they’ll draw together and fight back. Wagers’s characterization plumbs incredible depths, particularly with street rat–turned–engineering chief Jenks, a brain with vicious fists. Wagers’s fans should snap up this fun, thrilling latest.'

  25. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Huey

    In Hold Fast Through the Fire, a novel sent to me by its publisher HarperCollins, K. B. Wagers continues the story of NeoG, a post-apocalyptic society that focuses on Coast Guard-type missions to maintain order in the galaxy--Mars and Jupiter have apparently been colonized. The story offers a variation on The Hunger Game with groups competing against each other for the glory of their units in galactic (instead of Olympic) games. The book's heroes, of course, do well in the games. The book comes In Hold Fast Through the Fire, a novel sent to me by its publisher HarperCollins, K. B. Wagers continues the story of NeoG, a post-apocalyptic society that focuses on Coast Guard-type missions to maintain order in the galaxy--Mars and Jupiter have apparently been colonized. The story offers a variation on The Hunger Game with groups competing against each other for the glory of their units in galactic (instead of Olympic) games. The book's heroes, of course, do well in the games. The book comes with a warning about "emotional manipulation" in relationships and ideas about suicide to prepare readers before they venture too far into the story. The fact that the events being discussed grow out of events that occurred in book one muddy the story for a reader trying to jump in at this point; however, the book does include a "Cast of Characters" to help readers keep relationships between the various characters straight, complete with an indication of the pronouns each character prefers to use.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Thank you NetGalley and Harper Voyager for a copy of the eArc of Hold Fast through the Fire. When I realized this was the second book in a series, I put it back into my TBR and picked up A Pale Light in the Black. When I finished up that great book, I dove right into this one.. This series follows a crew of a space coastguard (NeoG) vessel who patrols the shipping lanes of near-Earth colonies. The books are character driven each with an overarching mystery and some military rivalry subplots. Hol Thank you NetGalley and Harper Voyager for a copy of the eArc of Hold Fast through the Fire. When I realized this was the second book in a series, I put it back into my TBR and picked up A Pale Light in the Black. When I finished up that great book, I dove right into this one.. This series follows a crew of a space coastguard (NeoG) vessel who patrols the shipping lanes of near-Earth colonies. The books are character driven each with an overarching mystery and some military rivalry subplots. Hold Fast includes lots more character development showing just how far some will go to do what they think is right both in service to the Coastguard and for their families. Many relationships that flourish in the first book are torn apart, re-forged, remain fractured or grow stronger, This is for those fans (like myself) of character driven science fiction.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    While this story and the previous one in the series had potential, the major characters all have the emotional maturity of 16 year olds. Several need to get on meds. The author is very repetitive with the characters either saying or thinking the same things over and over. One minute they are brilliant, in command, wise and the next they are blubbering like children. Over and over again. And these are the ones to defend the solar system and beyond. I am sorry but for a futuristic tale playing the While this story and the previous one in the series had potential, the major characters all have the emotional maturity of 16 year olds. Several need to get on meds. The author is very repetitive with the characters either saying or thinking the same things over and over. One minute they are brilliant, in command, wise and the next they are blubbering like children. Over and over again. And these are the ones to defend the solar system and beyond. I am sorry but for a futuristic tale playing the be game of 2020 preferred pronouns is downright annoying to read! The “historical references making jabs at 2019-2020’s with climate change, a pandemic and money driven citizens … all of which caused the great collapse. Very preachy. Even though the main character and family have a monopoly and are gazillionaires! Don’t waste your time with this drivel!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Taylor

    The NeoG force and Zuma’s Ghost are on FIRE and I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT!!! Y’all, this next installment of the series got me in my FEELS. If you’re a fan of space opera AT ALL, this is the series for you! The casual and perfect LGBTQIA and racial inclusion are out of this world (literally) and the interpersonal drama is SO SATISFYING. This book just published on Tuesday and I am SO GLAD I had my copy ahead of time. I have devoured both books and it’s going to kill me waiting for KB to get me their n The NeoG force and Zuma’s Ghost are on FIRE and I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT!!! Y’all, this next installment of the series got me in my FEELS. If you’re a fan of space opera AT ALL, this is the series for you! The casual and perfect LGBTQIA and racial inclusion are out of this world (literally) and the interpersonal drama is SO SATISFYING. This book just published on Tuesday and I am SO GLAD I had my copy ahead of time. I have devoured both books and it’s going to kill me waiting for KB to get me their next one. The intrigue, hard-ish sci-fi and no-holds barred action is insane and everything Jenks does makes me wanna yell and hit something. I will always be there for this! Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the author for my free copy. These opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alan McLintock

    Good but not as good as the first one I enjoyed it and will buy the next. The character development is excellent and the emotional interaction between characters is very good indeed and really adds to the book. The plot is quite good but it seemed a little disjointed initially and tool a while for the story to become clearer. Treachery from within, organised corporate theft causing real harm, the investigation and the fraudsters counter strikes go back and forwards with people dying each time. Good Good but not as good as the first one I enjoyed it and will buy the next. The character development is excellent and the emotional interaction between characters is very good indeed and really adds to the book. The plot is quite good but it seemed a little disjointed initially and tool a while for the story to become clearer. Treachery from within, organised corporate theft causing real harm, the investigation and the fraudsters counter strikes go back and forwards with people dying each time. Good suspense. I suspect I might enjoy reading it more a second time now I know the story arc. An enjoyable read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hirsch

    Better than the first book in the series. Far less about the stupid "games" and mostly about a plot with actual intrigue. This time I was disturbed a by a military group whose members spend a lot of time hugging and telling each other they love and trust each other. Occasionally crying. But way too touchy-feely for me to believe of the military, no matter how egalitarian. Seemed more like an encounter group. Also, it seemed like about a third of the characters used "they" pronouns. That made for a Better than the first book in the series. Far less about the stupid "games" and mostly about a plot with actual intrigue. This time I was disturbed a by a military group whose members spend a lot of time hugging and telling each other they love and trust each other. Occasionally crying. But way too touchy-feely for me to believe of the military, no matter how egalitarian. Seemed more like an encounter group. Also, it seemed like about a third of the characters used "they" pronouns. That made for a lot of confusing narration. Can we please pick another pronoun that doesn't already mean something else? Xe, ze, and O seem like reasonable alternatives to me.

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