The Hands We’re Given (Aces High, Jokers Wild #1) by O.E. Tearmann Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A lone commander leading a rebellion is the last hope for a ragtag group of fighters as they fight a war against the seven corporations that make up the former United States in author O.E. Tearmann’s “The Hand’s We’re Given”, the first book in the Aces High, Jokers Wild series.


The Synopsis

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned. Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.

Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.

The Review

This is a fantastic dystopian sci-fi world the author has created. The immediate thing that will jump out at readers is the fact that the author has naturally incorporated LGBTQ characters and romances into the narrative, navigating the difficulty of not only being a transgender man in a military unit but also exploring relationships within that military command.

These deeply personal and emotional bonds between the characters are expertly balanced with some true action and dystopian story elements. The notion of corporations taking control of the United States is not as far from reality as most of us would like it to be, and this touches upon a lot of those fears. 

The action and undercover operations the Wildcards pull off is entertaining, and the way the author explores how sometimes a group who breaks the rules and mold of the classic military setup can accomplish what others could not really resonate with so many people that readers won’t be able to help themselves from identifying with these characters.

The Verdict

Thrilling, emotional, and engaging science fiction and dystopian read with a wonderful mix of LGBTQ and MM romance, author O.E. Tearmann’s “The Hands We’re Given” is the perfect start to the Aces High, Jokers Wild series. A must-read narrative, the story continuously keeps the reader invested and makes for an original and creative new direction for the sci-fi and dystopian genres. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

O.E. Tearmann is the author of the Aces High, Jokers Wild series. Their books include strong themes of diversity and found family, providing a surprisingly hopeful take on a dystopian future. Bringing their own experiences as a marginalized author together with flawed but genuine characters, Tearmann’s work has been described as “Firefly for the dystopian genre.” Publisher’s Weekly called it “a lovely paean to the healing power of respectful personal connections among comrades, friends, and lovers.”

Tearmann lives in Colorado with two cats, their partner, and the belief that individuals can make humanity better through small actions. They are a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, the Colorado Resistance Writers and the Queer Scifi group. In their spare time, they teach workshops about writing GLTBQ characters, speak and plant gardens to encourage sustainable agricultural practices, and play too many video games.

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