Book Reviews

Review: Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh

Some Desperate Glory is a book that crept up on me. I was certainly compelled because books where the main character has to question everything they know are normally my thing. But all of a sudden at around halfway through, something changed and I became obsessed. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


All her life Kyr has trained for the day she can avenge the murder of planet Earth. Raised in the bowels of Gaea Station alongside the last scraps of humanity, she readies herself to face the Wisdom, the all-powerful, reality-shaping weapon that gave the Majoda their victory over humanity.

They are what’s left. They are what must survive. Kyr is one of the best warriors of her generation, the sword of a dead planet. But when Command assigns her brother to certain death and relegates her to the nursery to bear sons until she dies trying, she knows she must take humanity’s revenge into her own hands.

Alongside her brother’s brilliant but seditious friend and a lonely, captive alien, she escapes from everything she’s ever known into a universe far more complicated than she was taught and far more wondrous than she could have imagined.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual assault, child abuse, suicidal ideation, suicide, eugenics, genocide

From the premise alone, Some Desperate Glory intrigued me. A universe in which Earth has been obliterated and now humanity is on a crusade to enact justice? Count me in. But nothing is as it seems and this ‘noble cause’ that Kyr is raised to believe in, begins to show cracks. Tesh does not allow easy answers or uncomplicated decisions in Some Desperate Glory. Deeply focused on Kyr’s emotional and character journey, it’s a story about ethics, technology, and family.

About humanity, survival, and existence. Look, at times you might not like Kyr, but Kyr’s story is one that examines responsibility and ideas. We can be taught, brought up, raised, to believe in something so earnestly that when things begin to fall apart, we can try anything to hold on. To cling to what we know even if there are forces which question, people we love which break away from us. And Some Desperate Glory manages to balance an action packed story about rebellion with Kyr’s personal growth.


We can believe that we believe, all until we realize we might not. And Tesh is unafraid to delve into the complexities of these feelings. The manipulation, the convenient excuses, and the ways we are taught to de-humanize. On the surface, Some Desperate Glory is a story about loyalty, radicalization, and community. But underneath it is a surprisingly touching story about realizing the power in our ambitions, in the community we are taught to isolate from, and the roles we are forced into.

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It’s a queer science fiction story that examines the ‘monsters’ we are made into and the choices we have to make when we look into the mirror. All the ways in which systems only exist, only teach rules, to benefit themselves. Some Desperate Glory is multi-faceted. The last forty percent is an intense ride, but it’s built so cleverly on the foundation of the first sixty which wouldn’t be as impactful without. For those wanting a story deeply diving into ethics and agency, cycles of ‘justice’ and radicalization, Some Desperate Glory is for you. Find Some Desperate Glory on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound,, & The Book Depository.


What is the last book which totally hooked you at the end?

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