Quick-take: Dangerous supply chain management.
Ky Vatta is commanding a trade ship. She has maneuvered into hostile territory with the goal of acquiring trade and profit. This is not quite the book I was expecting. I was expecting warfighting --not complicated contract negotiations and scheduling.
To be clear, I have deep respect for managing supply chains and cash flow. Lining everything up correctly... having one deal land as soon as another one ends, plus having reserves to float the crew if needed. This gets even better if you can work 2 contracts at once while in-run. These delicate balances can easily make or break a company (or a military unit for that matter).
I am just not certain it makes a good sci-fi story. The mercenary vessel is probably a more interesting tale than the run-down trade ship caught in the middle. For what it is worth, I thought the story was told well. Ky is astute at juggling all these obligations in her head and showing no fear at high stakes negotiations. "Everything is negotiable".
Her inner conflict of loyalty to her family, making a name for herself, and accepting that nepotism is likely the only reason she is a captain at such a young age... I thought it worked out OK. It was a strong theme that played itself out in every negotiation and nearly every difficult decision. The boyfriend she left behind to join her new career seemed entirely forced. It seemed she gave him zero thoughts unless the author thought, "Oh yeah, she had a boyfriend". That storyline could've been cut entirely.
Score: 4/5. I am undecided if I will pick up book 2.