Ordinarily, I would not pick up a book with a cover showing some guy with a sword fighting on a spaceship. The cover blurb doesn't help--this book is about a United States space ship called the "Merrimack", captained by one Captain Farragut, who patrols the space lanes thrashing evil be-pincered and tentacled aliens. Sounds really cheesy, right?
Happily, I have a friend whose opinions I trust, who finally persuaded me to give Meluch a try--and let me tell you this is one of the most fun books I have read this past year. In fact, I quickly read the sequel (Wolf Star) and the third book, (Sagittarius Command). These books are fun, they are not deep--yet Meluch is an author of considerable subtlety; she bends the conventions of the space opera genre enough to give the reader an occasional delightful surprise--though she never disrespects the genre in which she writes.
If other reviews have given away plot spoilers, that's a pity. The fugue-like changes that mark the plot twists are best kept as a surprise.
There's quite a bit of subtle humor in the dialogue. For example, Farragut actually is given occasion to remark "Damn the mines!". This is, of course, a reference to a remark attributed to the historical U. S. Navy Admiral David Farragut, whose actual words were allegedly, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!". But in Farragut's time, what we call "mines" were called "torpedoes"--so Meluch not only worked in the quotation, she corrected it!