Stars: 3.5 out of 5.
Surprisingly, this book pulled at all of my heartstrings. Even though it’s monster horror in space, it made me care about the characters. Well, at least the main ones.
I mean, you can’t help but feel sorry for Sean, who survived the destruction of his whole city and saw his family and everyone he knew lying dead at the hands of the Ministers. I understand why he clings so desperately to Benny, even though they have absolutely nothing in common apart from that tragedy that defined their childhood. It’s not a healthy relationship and clinging to it is slowly destroying both of them.
I was also impressed by the sheer capacity for compassion Sean has, even after everything he went through. Or maybe because of it? He saw so many people die that now he tries to do everything in his power to help other in need, because he doesn’t want any more deaths. And once he is stuck on the ship full of monsters with two people who, in his eyes, are responsible for the Kystrom massacre, he doesn’t immediately classify them as enemies. He has the moral strength to overcome that anger and see them for what they are – people.
I also liked Tamara and Indigo and how we progressively got to know more of them and get glimpses of humanity from the emotionless Minister and the battle-hardened soldier. They have to collaborate to survive long enough to recover data that is vital for both their races survival. In the case of the Ministers, that meaning is very literal.
The setting itself is the stuff nightmares are made of – a derelict ship left by a dying star. So vast, so dark and silent… and full of monsters that are very very hard to kill, because the scientists who created them were experimenting with immortality. And now those monsters are angry with their creators. For creating them in the first place, for the horrors they were subjected to during that creation, and for abandoning them to die on this ship without a second thought. It reminded me a bit of the video game Dead Space, which I never could finish because I’m a chicken.
There is a lot to love about this book, but there are a few flaws as well. The flashbacks, even though they serve a purpose of explaining Sean’s frame of mind, get annoying after a while. I wish the author could have found other means of passing the information to the reader. The characters other than our main trio are two-dimensional at best, and Benny was so devoid of redeeming qualities it was almost caricatural.
The story also started dragging towards the end. It was like the author kept putting away the resolution and throwing more and more obstacles in our characters’ way. They had already been through so much though, that I experienced danger fatigue. I just wanted them to be done with this ship one way or another.
All in all though, I really loved this first book in a new series and I will check out the next one, especially considering the twist at the end.
PS: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.