I was searching for books similar in feel to the TV series Firefly, and a couple lists I came across suggested The Icarus Hunt. It takes place in space and has a motley spaceship crew with some gray morals, so I figured it was worth a shot.
Is it like Firefly? For the reasons I listed above, yes. It didn’t have the main similarity I was looking for – a close-knit crew prone to banter – but it did have several others. For example, even though there is tension in the crew, you do get the feeling that it’s the crew vs. everyone else. Some of the crew members engage in questionably legal business, not so much because they want to, but because the economy is such that they can’t make an honest living. And there is a large, powerful organization with shady motives that they end up crossing.
If those were your primary points of interest in Firefly, you should like The Icarus Hunt. Heck, I liked The Icarus Hunt, even though I didn’t think it was like Firefly. One of the main things that differed to me were the crew dynamics. I can’t go into much detail without spoiling it, but early in the book you learn the crew is a group of strangers, that they don’t particularly like/trust each other, and that one may be a saboteur.
I had mixed reactions to the end of the book. It explained some things I’d noticed earlier in the story, but it felt a little too neat/convenient. Or maybe it was because even at the end I was still trying to compare the book to Firefly, and was just expecting something different.
tl;dr = You may or may not think the book is like Firefly, but even without the comparison, it’s worth the read on its own.
At the end of the story, we learn that Jordan McKell is an undercover operative. It explains why he was so good in a fight, but I had been hoping for a slightly different resolution. Him having been an agent all along kinda ruins the “underdog victory” feeling.