Reading a lot of Bujold lately put me in the mood for something in the same vein, and unfortunately everything's falling way too short for my Bujold-refined standards.The start of this book is full of adrenaline, highly pacey, with Athena's dramatic escape from her father's ship. I didn't particularly warm to Athena - spoiled, rebellious and privileged, she was full of chutzpah and bravado, telling us over and over how people were afraid of her, how she was deadly and battle-hardened from her childhood of riding brooms and getting herself chucked into psych wards. Cynical, unloving, trusting no-one. But while I didn't like her, I was certainly interested in why she was attacked on her father's ship and what was going on.And then she meets her love interest, who immediately bests her in combat, and keeps explaining stuff to her. And the pace fell away completely, and all my cares with it. I pushed on for a while, but it just didn't work for me. I suspect readers in a less critical mood, without those particular negative triggers (I _loathe_ "love interest bests me in battle"), will enjoy this a lot more than me.I think I'm going to have to re-read something I remember enjoying to satisfy my need for SF.