Sixteenth Watch

Sixteenth Watch

The Coast Guard must prevent the first lunar war in history.A lifelong Search-and-Rescuewoman, Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is ready for a peaceful retirement. But when tragedy strikes, Oliver loses her husband and her plans for the future, and finds herself thrust into a role she’s not prepared for. Suddenly at the helm of the Coast Guard’s elite SAR-1 lunar unit, Oliv...

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Title:Sixteenth Watch
Author:Myke Cole
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Sixteenth Watch Reviews

  • Christine Sandquist (eriophora)

    This review and others can be read on my blog,

    .

    This review and others can be read on my blog,

    .

  • Jocelyn

    Military science fiction is my absolute favorite genre to read because it has the ability to fully take me away as a reader. Not only can I lose myself in a place so different than the one I’m in, I can often feel myself there amidst all the non-stop action. Plus, I like all the explosions.

    From the get-go

    starts out with a bang, the action already in full swing upon the surface of the Moon. Even though the Moon was supposed to be a new start for humanity, it didn’t exac

    Military science fiction is my absolute favorite genre to read because it has the ability to fully take me away as a reader. Not only can I lose myself in a place so different than the one I’m in, I can often feel myself there amidst all the non-stop action. Plus, I like all the explosions.

    From the get-go

    starts out with a bang, the action already in full swing upon the surface of the Moon. Even though the Moon was supposed to be a new start for humanity, it didn’t exactly pan out that way. We are humans after all. It is supposed to be a neutral zone, but where there’s money to be made you can be sure that everyone completely ignores those rules.

    One of the aspects I found most fascinating about this story was the positioning of the Coast Guard admist all this. Their main objectives are to de-escalate and protect boundaries so it stands to reason that their mission statement is perfect for protecting Americans on the moon. I felt a little silly when this was discussed in the book because OF COURSE they would be the ones best suited for this.

    Bearing that in mind, you’d think the Coasties would have more power on the moon to handle the constant tensions, but nope, the big guns keep stealing the show. With the Coast Guard facing being made completely irrelevant on the moon at the cost of countless lives, it is up to our formidable main character Captain Jane Oliver to try to set things right. She is brought out of near retirement to push the Coast Guard to the forefront by ensuring their team comes in first on a televised military game show. Yep, you heard me right.

    Forget the Super Bowl. The biggest athletic event out there is a yearly boarding action competition among the military and law enforcement branches in space. Millions of people watch each year and whoever comes out on top ends up being utterly revered back home on Earth. That reverence is more than just a trophy as it ultimately gives the winners a lot more power on the lunar stage. Win the game, save the world.

    It’s not just incredible action sequences or zero gravity training montages, though. Myke Cole has written a fully rounded out novel packed with compelling characters, honest and raw emotions, and a camaraderie that felt truly genuine. I really connected with the characters and there were so many bad-ass women out there, too! I’d love to find out more about them all, especially those we were only briefly introduced to from the Marine Corps and the Navy.

    I’ve noticed some reviewers mention that the use of military jargon and acronyms without explanations was a little difficult to cope with. Personally I agree with the author’s choice of not explaining each term as they came up so as to keep the narrative’s flow going. Most of the terms were easy enough to decipher through context but there’s a glossary at the back and lordy am I sucker for a good glossary. So never fear readers, with your glossary in hand you’ll soon be fluent in lunar military speak.

    If Sixteenth Watch ends up being a standalone I’m happy with how the story ended. However, it has definitely left itself open to further installments and I am 100% here for it if there are sequels. I’m really hoping there will be more, but for now this book has easily won itself a spot atop my “favorites” shelf. It was released earlier this week so if you haven’t already bought a copy, what are you waiting for? Like, seriously, stop reading this and go buy a copy right now!

  • Beth Cato

    I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

    In

    Myke Cole has created a compelling, action-packed work of military sci-fi where United States settlers face off against Chinese interests on the moon--and the United States Navy and Coast Guard likewise face off, escalating an already hot situation into one that could go nuclear.

    I trust Cole to get the military aspects right; I know the guy, and he knows his stuff. As a former Navy wife, I have some familiarity with the su

    I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

    In

    Myke Cole has created a compelling, action-packed work of military sci-fi where United States settlers face off against Chinese interests on the moon--and the United States Navy and Coast Guard likewise face off, escalating an already hot situation into one that could go nuclear.

    I trust Cole to get the military aspects right; I know the guy, and he knows his stuff. As a former Navy wife, I have some familiarity with the subject matter myself. The rivalry he writes about within the ranks here is absolutely plausible, on earth and the moon, and ratchets up the tension to a major degree. This is one of those books that is almost impossible to put down. You NEED to find out what happens next.

    This isn't a thriller full of vapid action, though. At its heart are incredible, vivid characters that I came to care about. The protagonist is Jane Oliver, a Coast Guard veteran of decades who loses her sailor husband during an initial lunar flare-up between the US and China. Instead of taking a quiet retirement, she is invited back to the moon for a rather unusual challenge: to prepare an elite squad of Coasties for a reality game show that the Marines have dominated for years. This has not only impacted recruitment efforts on Earth, but also gives the Navy more power in the struggle for military dominance on the moon. Navy commanders are too keen on war, to Jane's thinking; the Coast Guard, carrying out a role on the moon similar to what they do on the ocean, is largely about deescalating tension and saving lives. It's awesome to see the Coast Guard be in the spotlight in a space setting because the role that they play (even without a literal coast to guard) makes absolute sense.

    The reality show angle adds to the originality of the book, and again, I know Cole knows what he's talking about, as he is a reality show veteran himself. The stakes around the show feel realistic in this near-future setting, but hanging over everything is that threat of war with China.

    This is a darn good book, and I hope it's the first in the series because I'd love to read more about these characters and this world.

  • J.P. Ashman

    Thank you social media.

    My bookish friends on social media allow me to see authors I may not have spotted before and through social media, I get to see them before I read/listen to (Audible in this case) their books. This is one of those cases.

    I started following Myke Cole a while back after seeing friends following him and liking the cut of his jib (pun intended, considering his history). The guy seemed funny and knowledgeable, honest and outraged at the same news articles/politicians/celebs as

    Thank you social media.

    My bookish friends on social media allow me to see authors I may not have spotted before and through social media, I get to see them before I read/listen to (Audible in this case) their books. This is one of those cases.

    I started following Myke Cole a while back after seeing friends following him and liking the cut of his jib (pun intended, considering his history). The guy seemed funny and knowledgeable, honest and outraged at the same news articles/politicians/celebs as me. Should I choose to read books based on the person rather than the blurb? I don't care whether I should or shouldn't, but I do.

    So, when reading about his US Coast Guard past, his knowledge on warfare (ancient and current) and the fact that he was releasing a US Coast Guard (not over done like a lot of things) scifi novel, I had to snap it up to listen to on my commute.

    I'm so frikkin' glad I did!

    Not only is it cool because it's set on the moon, with military units shooting around in 'boats' as well as shooting at one another (not in a gung ho way, mind, which I liked), but it was the less-written (I've not seen it before in this genre?) US Coast Guard doing the shooting (of both kinds mentioned). Oh, there're marines and navy in it, for sure, but this story focuses on a frikkin' cool side of the US Military and is both a fascinating insight, as well as a heartfelt, characterful and passionate story to boot.

    Action, tense stand-offs, combat (because action doesn't automatically mean combat), spaceships, rescues, laughter, heartache, friendship, loss and on and on...

    If you love scifi and/or military fiction, then buy it. Buy it now!

    Jaypash out.

  • Holly (The Grimdragon)

    Sixteenth

    Sixteenth Watch is the new book by Myke Cole. I’ve read many of his books now, so I was incredibly excited to learn that he would be releasing a book about Coast Guards.. IN SPACE!! It’s his first foray into science fiction, after having written epic and military fantasies. However, he has hands-on experience when it comes to writing about the Coast Guard, since he was a serving officer in the Coast Guard for years. He was also able to tap into his involvement with reality television, having been on the unscripted Hunted tv series. Needless to say, the man has a wide variety of expertise to draw from!

    Thrusting the reader immediately into a confrontation, Cole’s Sixteenth Watch doesn’t hold your hand. Rather, it pushes you into the middle of the street, a rush of adrenaline coursing through your body.

    Set in the near-future, Sixteenth Watch begins with a battle between China and America on the surface of the moon. A lunar riot has broken out, which brings Commander Jane Oliver from the Coast Guard and her sailer husband Tom on a mission to de-esculate the situation before it spreads any further. Unfortunately, the mission goes off the fucking rails and Jane witnesses the death of her husband.

    We follow her some time later, still grieving of course, but starting to settle into her life back on Earth. Now known as the legendary “Widow Jane,” she is instructing Coasties at the training center for water-surface boarding. Nearing retirement, she is invited back on the moon for a mission to train an elite Coast Guard squad that is set to take part in a military sports competition that will be televised. If she accepts the assignment, it would give her a promotion and a waiver that allows her to retire to the moon with her daughter.

    Not only is there a lunar war threatening to erupt, with major political struggles ongoing between the two countries, but there is inner conflict between the military branches. If the Coast Guard can win the reality competition, they hope it will prove that they are the best branch to take care of the lunar borders. The Navy is currently leading the fight on the moon, but is that what space needs – more militarization?

    I adore sci-fi, but had been neglecting the genre over the last year. It’s just that science fiction books weren’t grabbing me as much as my beloved fantasy. Luckily, this is not one of those instances!

    Myke Cole has this uncanny ability to tell a big story rather swiftly, balancing all of the elements from chapter to chapter. He has a wonderful grasp on understanding character and narrative in such an authentic way. Which leads me to Jane, a new favorite! Oh, how I bloody love Jane – the confident, fiesty, loyal, flawed protagonist who takes no shit! The fact that she is older is honestly so damn refreshing. Understandably, the secondary characters take a backseat, especially since she’s the only POV. That’s not to say that they don’t add to the story, because they do! Lieutenant Commander Wen Ho, Jane’s executive officer, is one such noteworthy character. Their friendship is fucking glorious! If you don’t chuckle at their banter at least once than you’re dead inside! Seriously.

    I’ve learned to allow science fiction terminology, technology and concepts to just wash over me throughout the years. I prefer not having everything spelled out, instead flowing uninterrupted with the narrative. However, being the nerd that I am, I did appreciate the inclusion of a glossary at the back of this, particularly!

    Politics, breathless action scenes, appealing characters, space fuckery and deeply moving moments. Sixteenth Watch is unlike anything else trying to fly that military SFF flag right now! With an imaginative plot that’s fast-moving and insightful, Sixteenth Watch is an addictively entertaining read!

    With Cole announcing that he is currently writing a sequel, I’m curious to see where that goes after the intensity of this first installment. It’s shaping up to be quite a compelling series!

  • Bob

    Part near-future work of militaristic science fiction and part love-letter/homage to the women and men of the Coast Guard, Sixteenth Watch is an interesting read that’s both familiar and original at the same time.

    Before I get into my review, I do have one complaint, although it’s more about the marketing and less about the writing. The cover blurb is a deceptive tease, focusing entirely on the opening prologue and the two closing chapters, while glossing over the bulk of the story. Even then, th

    Part near-future work of militaristic science fiction and part love-letter/homage to the women and men of the Coast Guard, Sixteenth Watch is an interesting read that’s both familiar and original at the same time.

    Before I get into my review, I do have one complaint, although it’s more about the marketing and less about the writing. The cover blurb is a deceptive tease, focusing entirely on the opening prologue and the two closing chapters, while glossing over the bulk of the story. Even then, those chapters are less about preventing an “all-out war on the surface of the Moon” and more about postponing it, while Captain Jane Oliver is less “the only one who can prevent it” and more a woman in the right place at the right time.

    Between those chapters, Sixteenth Watch is a training montage, a high-tech gameshow, and a public relations spectacle. With American and Chinese tensions simmering (apparently, they’re the only nations to have staked a claim, which seems odd) between mining settlers on the surface of the moon (why feuding nations have chosen to park on each others borders is never explained), the government is concerned the Coast Guard are the wrong force to maintain law and order and are proposing to usurp them with the Navy (it seems neither NASA nor Trump’s Space Force have a role to play). To do that, however, they must first win the tide of public opinion by pitting the forces against one another in Boarding Action, a military game show in a militarized prime time entertainment culture (a curious social evolution that’s a bit terrifying, but never really explored).

    For me, there were three aspects of this that kept me reading, despite any misplaced expectations or unanswered questions. Number one is the freakin’ Moon! There’s so much science fiction out there focused on colonizing Mars, building orbiting space stations, and sending out huge generation ships, it was ridiculously exciting to go back to the Moon. It’s a simple setting, but Myke Cole makes the most of it, capturing the feel of low gravity, the silence of space, and the dangers of no atmosphere. The kid in me was smiling just as much as the science fiction geek.

    Number two was the action – the intricacies of maneuvering, boarding, and battling in an environment where there is no up or down, traditional weapons either don’t work or don’t work as expected, the bulkiness of a spacesuit so easily disguises friend from foe, and a battle call . . . is like screaming silently into the void. I enjoyed the action, and felt Cole did a solid job of making it all sound professional and accurate, without weighing it down too much with acronyms or command structures. There were a few moments that left me scratching my head because of odd decisions or the lack of consequences for major mistakes, but nothing that had me rolling my eyes thinking something was over-the-top.

    Number three is the characters, particularly Captain Jane Oliver and her XO, Wen Ho, whose friendly dynamic is what drives the novel. Not only is Jane a female action hero, she’s a mature female action hero, a woman with significant baggage and a troublesome reputation. Haunted by the death of her husband on a mission they led together, she is probably over-sensitive to how people see her, but realistically so. She’s not your typical protagonist looking to avenge a death or prove herself to the world – she only accepts reassignment back to the Moon because it means being reunited with her daughter. As for Ho, he’s the typical loyal sidekick, but he’s also the voice of reason who keeps Jane grounded.

    The pacing here was decent, a little slow in the middle, but moving quickly enough to keep me reading. I was entertained and engaged, and anxious to see how the story would develop. Sixteenth Watch does end rather abruptly, however, first with the climactic battle that ends too soon, and then with the epilogue that leaves a significant plot point hanging.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Sixteenth Watch was my first book by Myke Cole since Control Point, and it’s clear his storytelling and writing skills have come a long way since. Still, I had some mixed feelings for this one for reasons more to do with unfulfilled expectations, but other than that, I thought the book was an entertaining tale of militaristic action in space, a slightly different take on your usual mil sci-fi.

    The novel opens with a stunn

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Sixteenth Watch was my first book by Myke Cole since Control Point, and it’s clear his storytelling and writing skills have come a long way since. Still, I had some mixed feelings for this one for reasons more to do with unfulfilled expectations, but other than that, I thought the book was an entertaining tale of militaristic action in space, a slightly different take on your usual mil sci-fi.

    The novel opens with a stunner. As a violent skirmish suddenly breaks out between the Americans and Chinese in lunar space, nearly sparking an all-out war between the two nations, Captain Jane Oliver of the U.S. Coast Guard watches in horror as her husband’s ship is torn to pieces. Months later, having come to terms with his death and her grief, Oliver knows she is approaching the end of her career because of her age, and quite frankly is looking forward to retiring in peace. However, her superiors have different plans for her. As the tensions between the US and China continue to mount over Helium-3 mining rights on the moon, the Navy and the Marines are trying to edge the Coast Guard out of the military operations on the border between the two territories. In order to convince the politicians and the public to take them seriously, the Guard wants Jane Oliver to head up an initiative to train a group of officers to win a popular reality competition show called Boarding Action against teams from the other branches of the military. In return, Oliver would be promoted and be allowed to retire on the moon to be with her daughter.

    As such, the bulk of the book is focused on this training, as well as dealing with the resulting pushback from their rivals. With dismay, Oliver realizes that low morale and confidence among her team are also causing much of their performance issues. Simply running practice drills will not help in this case, she realizes, and to really get them to push themselves, she’ll need to take some pretty big steps—and big risks.

    It’s a fantastic premise, to be sure. That said, I’m just not sure how well it worked in its execution. With such a playing up of the Boarding Action show, as well as the rivalry between the Coast Guard and the other competitors, not to mention all the attention and page-time dedicated to their training, you would think we’d be getting more follow through on that front. But in fact, the plot doesn’t really steer us in that direction at all, and the lack of story consistency and coherence this resulted in annoyed me a little, if I’m to be honest. And while we’re on the topic, I was also not entirely sold on the ending. It certainly didn’t feel like it followed logically from earlier events, and on top of that, it didn’t provide satisfactory closure—and I don’t mean that in the cliffhanger sense, but rather in a way that’s more like a thought left unfinished.

    As I said though, I still thought Sixteenth Watch was a good read, and it was the little things I liked, such as the fact that Myke Cole’s background and experiences in the military is evident in the knowledge he brings to his work. An officer in the US Coast Guard Reserve, the author shows his love for the USCG by portraying them and their operations with a high degree of authenticity and accuracy. I also liked the character of Jane Oliver, for not only is it uncommon to see a female middle-aged protagonist head up a military sci-fi novel, she was also written to be believable and relatable. Then, there was the action. All those training maneuvers and battle sequences went a long way in making up for the stalling and meandering in the plot, keeping my interest high even as the pacing sometimes floundered.

    Still, for the most part, the pros outweighed the cons. Readers should not expect too much in terms of depth, though I suspect this won’t be a dealbreaker for the majority, given the main goal of the novel to provide action-driven entertainment. With the storytelling and world-building being on the lighter side, the characters were the ones that truly stood out, like Oliver, her executive officer Wen Ho, and the members of the Coast Guard team. In the end, those strengths were enough to keep me turning the pages. While not perfect, Sixteenth Watch was a fun read which I thought succeeded in what it set out to do.

  • Guillermo

    [Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

    : Set twenty minutes into the future, so to speak, Sixteenth Watch is a solid military fiction book with scifi elements, more so than science fiction book proper, one that attempts to juggle a futuristic plot concept and wrap it around a core of familiarity with the present. The idea of trying to imagine how things in the military could be based on how they are now is intriguing, and the book definitely does its best when de

    [Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

    : Set twenty minutes into the future, so to speak, Sixteenth Watch is a solid military fiction book with scifi elements, more so than science fiction book proper, one that attempts to juggle a futuristic plot concept and wrap it around a core of familiarity with the present. The idea of trying to imagine how things in the military could be based on how they are now is intriguing, and the book definitely does its best when deep in the action or in the moments of political tension between the branches. I would like to see where the author could take the setting in the future, and the way the story ends makes me wonder if perhaps he is planning to find out. However, what makes the novel is also in some ways what threatens to damn it. The over-use of acronyms in particular is like to be off-putting for people not familiar with them, and might well dilute whatever enjoyment they can get from the book as having to constantly flip over to the end of the book just to understand what the hell the characters are saying is severely off-putting to say the least.

    : There were a few scattered typos, but nothing terribly obnoxious or pervasive. More troublesome than that is the fact I see no reasonable excuse for an epub to not have each instance (or at least the first instance) of every acronym linked to a definition in the glossary. Obviously, people familiar with the terms will not need them, but I'd hazard to say most people who pick up the book wont be familiar with the terms, and in a book so heavy with acronyms, expecting people to go back and forth manually seems like a gross oversight. In general, while I respect what the author was trying to achieve, I feel like overall they work against the story more than for it, but again that might just be because I have little familiarity with the Service.

    : I have mixed feelings about the plot. Or more exactly about the way the plot peters out in the end. On one hand, as mentioned, the overall concept is really appealing, and the execution of the latter parts of the novel in particular kept me well interested. Ironically, it is as the story progresses that it starts to feel more and more like the novel has forgotten its own plot. Like the author is simply meandering from here to there until he finds an arbitrary spot he likes in the regolith. I am fully aware this is an odd complaint, as the latter parts of the book are the more action-packed and generally speaking the ones I liked best, but meandering is ultimately unsatisfying, and the bits of action ultimately don't save the whole from the feeling of... 'what' when you suddenly stumble into an epilogue that feels like the end of a chapter more than a proper cliffhanger.

    : I found the first 1/3 of the book to be both rather slow and really uninteresting in comparison to the rest of it. It felt like the author wasn't really sure of the best way to start off the story. He definitely didnt know how to end it either, but once pas the introductory bit, at least, things start picking up at a nice enough rate.

    : I generally enjoyed Jane's character, as well as Ho's. Their dynamic with each other is specially entertaining. The rest of the cast seemed much less developed, sometimes verging dangerously on flat. specially her team. None of them are particularly memorable or interesting, and could in most cases likely be encompassed with one or two words.

    : As mentioned in the summary, the concept itself is one of my favourite parts of the book. I hated the way the acronyms were presented, sure, and the acronyms were there partly to deliver a certain believability to the speech pattern of officers in the military, but thats more of a technical flaw they could easily fix, specially in the electronic version of the book. I also really enjoyed the little snippets we get at the beginning of each chapter, as they really do help to flesh out the peception we have of this slightly more futuristic earth.

  • Mike

    Thanks to Angry Robot for the ARC of this one.

    I’ve read a lot of Myke Cole over the last few years. I thought his

    modern military fantasy series was excellent, and the prequel trilogy was solid. His

    fantasy series was a departure from his comfort zone, with a truly awesome premise. The books didn’t quite live up to the premise’s promise, but the first two were still decent, and I look forward to reading the third in the trilogy. And I have a lot of respect for Cole writi

    Thanks to Angry Robot for the ARC of this one.

    I’ve read a lot of Myke Cole over the last few years. I thought his

    modern military fantasy series was excellent, and the prequel trilogy was solid. His

    fantasy series was a departure from his comfort zone, with a truly awesome premise. The books didn’t quite live up to the premise’s promise, but the first two were still decent, and I look forward to reading the third in the trilogy. And I have a lot of respect for Cole writing outside of his comfort zone for the sake of pushing himself as a writer. A lot of writers have their own “voice” that’s pretty consistent across books: a Brandon Sanderson or Robin Hobb or Neil Gaiman book sounds like it was written by Sanderson or Hobb or Gaiman, as a rule. This isn’t a bad thing, but I respect Cole for pushing himself to break out of that mold.

    is both a return to form (in that it’s modern military) and a departure (in that it’s hard sci-fi rather than fantasy). The premise is that the US and China are both working to ensure they have access to Helium-3 on the Moon, and tensions between the two countries are rising. The US Navy has been muscling the US Coast Guard out of operations on the lunar border between American and Chinese territories. The protagonist is Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver, nearing the end of her career. Her goal is to avoid a war, and as long as the Navy is dealing with border issues, every situation will be approached as a potential combat situation (because the Navy is made to fight wars, and when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail). The Coast Guard, while still one of the armed services and able to fight, is more of a law enforcement agency. The Coast Guard, in Oliver’s opinion (and the Coast Guard brass’s opinion) can manage the border without escalating things and triggering a war.

    So that’s the premise. Oliver is put in charge of a PR mission to convince the politicians and the public that the Coast Guard can handle the job, and is working to assert the Coast Guard against heavy pushback from the Navy and Marines.

    Now I have no problem with wish fulfillment fantasy. It can be both fun and rewarding to sink into a story of fun and adventure, putting yourself in the place of an awesome protagonist doing awesome things. But in reading

    , I kept thinking this is the most specific wish fulfillment that I’ve ever read: the wish that the Coast Guard would get the respect it deserves from the other armed services, particularly the Navy. I have nothing but respect for the Coast Guard (though I will admit I don’t think about them much), but it’s not the easiest premise to relate to.

    Cole himself is a Coast Guard vet, and it shows. He brings an authenticity to modern military fantasy/sci-fi that is usually a delight to read. But here, it was something of a drag. Reading about a team of Coast Guard operators training to prove that they can do boarding operations better than the Marines? That’s great. Reading about arguments between Coast Guard and Navy admirals arguing over whose interpretation of titles 10 and 14 of the United States Code is correct? Less great. Did you know that according to the 1972 COLREGS (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea), for both international and inland navigation, the right-of-way is given to the starboard vessel? Well, after reading

    , I do.

    So this book is highly recommended if you have served in the Coast Guard, or as a gift for a loved one who is serving or has served in the Coast Guard. I know I’m making fun here, but only mildly. It was just hard to shake the bemusement I felt while reading and thinking, “this is

    wish fulfillment.” The book is well-written, and the main character is very compelling to read. I’m hoping there is a sequel – the story itself doesn’t need one, but there’s a rather big loose thread that I really want to see tied up. Between that and the protagonist alone I want more. But this is also a straightforward fun and exciting read.

  • Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Thank you so much to my partner Angry Robot Books (thank you!) for the finished copy of Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole! The book was provided in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

    I usually enjoy books with fictional military bearing and love my sci fi, so this book seemed like a natural pick.  It is my first romp into current American military fiction, featuring mainly the Coast Guard and Marine Corps/Navy.  Sixteenth Watch is what they call a tour in space, and one central pl

    Thank you so much to my partner Angry Robot Books (thank you!) for the finished copy of Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole! The book was provided in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

    I usually enjoy books with fictional military bearing and love my sci fi, so this book seemed like a natural pick.  It is my first romp into current American military fiction, featuring mainly the Coast Guard and Marine Corps/Navy.  Sixteenth Watch is what they call a tour in space, and one central plot is a huge military branch jurisdiction battle...in space.

    Captain Oliver is trying to prevent a war with China.  Tensions have been heating up on the moon and the Coast Guard is the branch for the job, but the Navy has pushed them into a corner.  The solution seems to be to win a military competition that the Marines have been dominating for years in order to win public support.   The Coast Guard team is capable but still reeling from losses incurred in a surface skirmish years ago where they lost two team members and Oliver's husband.  There are also overarching themes of dealing with grief, self forgiveness, teamwork, and standing up for yourself and your team when things get hairy.

    I did enjoy the book a lot but the plot was scattered all over the place at times. Boarding Actions were interesting enough to carry the action for the most part, and jurisdictional conflicts were individually interesting, but I wanted more cohesion.  The SAR-1 team went from disgruntled to cohesive VERY quickly after a few weeks and one particular incident in the field, and I think even before presenting the team competition there should have been a little more proof of their friendships forming and teamwork solidifying.   Cold packed way too much into the end and then just ended the book with a sense of closure that I didn't feel, at all

    I did absolutely love Oliver and the team though, she was such a bad-ass. I wanted to root for her team of Coasties, like who doesn't love watching a team come together??  The pacing of the entire novel just felt off even though they only had a few weeks together,  most of the action was in the last quarter when the book got interesting.  Prior to that the story seemed to be a cycle of grief and exposition, which was needed but set it off to a slow start for me.

    The other thing I need to mention are all the abbreviations and editing.  A glossary is provided for us non-military people but it was a bit of a struggle for me to keep up sometimes.  There are also multiple typos and areas that needed another read over,  and since this is a finished copy I allowed it to distract me a bit. 

    This is definitely a must for military fiction readers.  I think sci-fi readers will enjoy it too but it was less about sci-fi and more about the military and strategy and Marines waving their d!cks (sorry I lived with one for a LONG time and this seemed quite accurate).  I would still recommend it too for those who like kick ass female characters and stories with team competitions.

    This and tons of other reviews and author features can be found on my blog at

    !

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