Stars: 2.5 out of 5.
I was fully onboard with this book for the first 50% or so of the story. Granted, one of the main characters was too stupid to exist, and some of her choices were that of a braindead child. But the story moved along at a good pace, things were happening, there was a big mystery about, so was happy to overlook an annoying character or two. But then the book kept going… and going… and going with no end in sight. Episodes started repeating themselves without bringing anything new to the story, and I was quickly losing interest.
As I had mentioned, the characterizations in this book are… rather lacking. And forget about character growth. I think the only character that has any is Rapscallion, and he is a sentient robot. Which tells you everything you need to know about the other characters. So if you are looking for a character driven story, move along. This ain’t for you.
But the mystery of what the heck is happening around Paradise-1 and why all ships sent there stop responding was compelling enough to have me turning the pages for about half of the book. And I admit that the idea of an alien contract that can invade our minds by planting a destructive idea is rather horrifying, because our bodies have no defense against a virus that isn’t biological in nature. I also really wanted to discover what was on Paradise-1 that needed to be guarded so fiercely, and why was it worth so many human lives and so many ships to try and get it.
Unfortunately, this book is at least 300 pages too long, so the story started repeating itself. We get to yet another ship that’s infected with different version of the Basilisk. We encounter yet another crazy AI and see the horrors that happened to the human crew. We don’t learn anything that we didn’t know by reading the first half of the book. The characters flee the ship, or are saved, or take the ship over… then the action switches to yet another encounter with another infected ship. Honestly, I think the story should have ended after their attempt to run the blockade to land on the planet. The 200 pages after that were just filler, with a few exception, like actually encountering the Basilisk, and even that could have been incorporated into the story differently.
Oh, did I mention that the book ends on a cliffhanger? No? Well, it does. 700 + pages end with no emotional payoff whatsoever. We still don’t know what happened on Paradise-1 and why it was so important to get there. The story ends mid-action.
I guess the reader would have to pick up the next book in the series to find out what happened to the colony on Paradise-1, but guess what? I won’t be along for the ride. I am not willing to sit through another overlong book and follow annoying characters just to find out that the story isn’t finished and there is another cliffhanger. No thanks, I’m out.
PS: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.