Okay, so this was super fun! The author was in the military and it definitely shows in the mindset of the main character, Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr. She is a no-nonsense get things done in a weird neutral zone between brass and grunts.
A little about the setting … In the story humans have been integrated into a galactic Confederation not despite their violent tendencies but because of them. See, a lot of old races don’t dig violence, but a species known as the Others is hell bent on killing them. All of the old races’ attempts at diplomacy have resulted in diplomats being returned in itty bitty pieces.
So humans, the Krai (sort of a monkey like race that eats everything–even each other and their fellow Marines, but sort of as a sign of respect) and di’Taykan (think ELVES!) are recruited to do the dirty work of combat.
The book is filled with hilarious one liners, but it has some depth too. Staff Sergeant Kerr wakes up in the first chapter next to a sexy di’Taykan after a one night stand … who turns out later to be her commanding officer. That could have been handled in a way that would not be authentic to the military experience, but Huff handles it with humor, grace, and genuine feeling. (I kind of hope they get back together. Sighs.)
There’s also plenty of action, if that is your thing.
I loved how the different alien races were depicted, and how the eccentricities of the three main races in the military were facilitated. There were special rules added for the benefit of the Krai: Marines don’t eat other Marines! (Even if they’re dead and you really liked them.) Accommodations are made for the di’Taykan’s who can’t keep their zippers closed and need “touch” of a certain kind to stay sane.