Dalton's Daughter follows a girl who has a very dysfunctional home. Soon we see her heart-wrenching motivations for getting off of Dalton, a polluted, backwater excuse for a mining planet. I won't spoil anything, but her escape is personal and messy. I skipped a lot of critical points here, but they're such pivotal early spoilers, I don't even dare hint.
The only way to get off-world (at least in her tax bracket) is to join the military. She soon ends up on an orbital station for training.
Hollywood formula would dictate at this point that the book ends with her leading a brigade to defeat some epic enemy stronghold. Well, stuff that notion. The meat and potatoes of Dalton's Daughter is the training itself. Getting through, not breaking down, learning some of the little political garbage that she'd never been exposed to. There's a point where she can stop and think, and really look at the path she had to take to get so far. And she realizes that it was messy, and a little horrifying at points.
The girl we started with is now a mature woman, left with a lot on her plate, and adventures ahead.
This brings me to a point of caution- She is a character from a literary world that has well established entities and organizations. The preface reflects this; so much so that when I started the book, the preface intimidated me with many ideas and acronyms which I was entirely ignorant of. “Hoo boy, I'm going to have to learn all this stuff by figuring out in context through the book, and that sounds irritating.” But no. After the preface (which admittedly made a lot more sense after I finished the book) the story begins from a fresh perspective, a relatively naïve protagonist, who learns most of this stuff with us.
If the preface turns you off, finish it knowing that it doesn't end with a quiz. Skim, or skip if you're so inclined. A wonderful story awaits. Early on I was expecting an eventual massive fire-fight, but what I got was some pretty gripping drama, played both on, and off the varied training environments simulated on the station.
Oh, and if anyone asks, and I need to raise money for functioning weaponry, my vote is for the bake sale.