CW: parental death, neglect, abandonment, and graphic descriptions of disease
I’ve been waffling over how to rate this one. It’s somewhere between 3.5 and 4, so I decided to bump it up that little bit.
This book is about a crew of people sent on a distress mission to save another ship that has encountered a problem. Thea is the main character, really. She’s Korean-Turkish and was largely abandoned. She managed to swing an internship with Dr. Tarlow, a famous scientist who was the lone survivor of a mysterious thing. (Yes, thing.)
Then, there’s a whole slew of other characters. Honestly, at times, it was hard for me to differentiate them. That was a major con for me. I like being able to pick apart my characters. None of them exactly felt well-developed. They all had backstories, but I wasn’t wowed by them. I honestly can’t remember all of their names because some were more important than others while others surfaced when needed.
But, the thing is, this book was pretty well-crafted. While the characters didn’t wow me, the plot did. I’ve been listening to This Podcast Will Kill You at work, so it hit that need for a viral infection with a disease that no one knows about or understands. It blended horror and sci-fi pretty well and I kept having to remind myself that, technically, this is a YA book.
I also appreciated that this had no romance in it. Coming from someone who thinks that most romance plots in stories ruin the story, I was so happy that there was no romance developed. There was a slight side thing between two characters — and it was sapphic! just not a huge part of the story whatsoever and it felt like it could have been edited away without changing anything — but that was about it. The story was focused around the contagion and the people trying to figure out what the fuck to do.
The whole time, I kept calling The Illuminae Files back to mind. And, I have to say, this was a lot better. It felt unique while that series kept recycling the same plots and characters. It honestly had me tense and hooked while with that series I could skip ~100 pages without missing anything.
In short, I really enjoyed this despite having things I wasn’t a fan of. I’d say that if you enjoyed The Illuminae Files, pick this up and give it a try! You might really love it!
Have you read this?
What sci-fi/horror do you love?