Stars: 3 out of 5
This was a decent first book in a new series that kept me interested enough to read it in a couple days. I hadn’t realized that it was also a romance however, so that skewed my perception a little, because the older I get, the more cynical I get and the less tolerance for romantic tropes I have.
Our protagonist is likeable enough, and I truly feel for her. The trauma she went through, not to mention mental and psychological torture, as no joke. No wonder she is a hot mess for most of this book, unsure of what really happened on her last flight, wracked with guilt because everyone died and she survived. In fact, I would have loved for the author to explore this aspect a bit more in the book. As it is, the other characters kind of shrug it off. Yes, it’s horrible, now get over it and take us places. That was rather irritating.
Speaking of other characters, none of the other members of the Folly’s crew are developed sufficiently for me to care about them. In fact, they feel more like placeholders than real people. The butch mechanic with a foul mouth but secretly a heart of gold. The pacifist doctor who cares more about his experiments than people. The strange alien boy that suddenly imprints on our protagonist, etc.
In fact, that last character was woefully underutilized. There could have been such a good story there. We could have explored their relationship, and how Jax would have had to cope with having someone dependent on her for his survival. As it stands, this storyline is downplayed, and the character is promptly disposed of, so we don’t get to witness character growth for either of them.
That was my other issue with this book. There are a lot of plotlines that were introduced… and them simply dropped after a few pages without rhyme or reason. Like the whole story with Baby-Z. Again, this was a storyline that was woefully underutilized. It could have served as a bridge of sorts between Marsh and Jax, having them care about an alien baby they inadvertently hatched. It would have made their developing relationship more organic. Instead – baby is gone and forgotten a few chapters later.
You could argue that those sudden deaths are there to reinforce Jax’s belief that she is toxic and that she destroys everything and everyone she touches, but that is the simple way out.
That’s the biggest problem for me – this book seems to always take the path of least resistance when it comes to resolving its storylines, whether it’s the relationship between Jax and Marsh, or her guilt about the crash and death of her previous pilot and lover, or the situation with baby-Z.
And let’s not even mention the ending of this book, because it’s laughable in its simplicity and wishful thinking. I’m sorry, but a megacorporation won’t fall apart just because of an unsubstantiated broadcast. Not when it has a monopoly on fast space travel. Yes, it’s a giant PR blunder, but that’s what the Corp has a PR Department for. Oh, and call me a cynic, but Jax and her friends wouldn’t have walked out of that building alive, or if they did, they wouldn’t have remained so for long.
All in all though, this book interested me enough to check out the rest of the series, mostly because the glimpses I got of the world are interesting and I want to learn more about Grimspace and why certain people can navigate it. And I also managed to cross another book off my TBR list.