It uses many themes most of us are familiar with, starting out following a brand new Ensign straight out of the academy on his first tour of duty. Earth, still recovering from its last nuclear war which devastated the planet and required humans to start over from scratch, is now threatened by a hostile alien force. While on routine patrol, something goes horribly wrong and our young protagonist is forced to take up the reigns of command to try and lead the survivors home. Reminded me a lot of Wolfhound by Kindal Debenham.
I liked the secondary characters that provide a wide array of personalities and each bring a little something to the story. The crazy russian engineer, the analytical, by-the-book navigator, and the fiery spec ops daredevil really flush out the crew. The space battles were fairly decent. Lots of action in space battles and repelling boarders, though not much concerning tactics or the capabilities of their tech.
The ending was a bit unsatisfying to me as nothing really gets resolved, the story simply ends, awaiting a sequel. I think the one thing that really bugged me about the book and made it difficult for me to finish was the protagonist. His whole claim, as a senator's son trying to flee his father's shadow, is that he is supposed to be proving everyone who thinks of him as a spoiled, privileged kid who never takes anything seriously, wrong. Instead, while he has flashes of inspiration and a few instances where he takes responsibility, most of the time he's hot-headed, naive, moody... He keeps making obvious mistakes and acts like an excited child- I couldn't stand him. The fact that his crew is so calm and capable makes the contrast even more apparent.