Written by Laura Lam
Published by Orbit, May 5, 2020
My star rating – 3 stars
Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.
The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.
The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.
But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . . Find it on Goodreads
Hmmmmm. I’ve got thoughts on this one…… some good, but most not so good, so let’s dive into my partial rant and total confusion lol!
Let me just say that I really did enjoy this book. It wasn’t mind blowing by any means, and I did have a few issues with it but, that aside, I did enjoy it for the most part. I really gelled with the writing style and it was easy to fly through this book quickly. The writing style matched with a decently steady pace equals a quick read!
This is a book where the narrative closely reflects present day. We have a world that has been destroyed by humans not taking care of the planet. There’s natural disasters, climate change, world starvation, population control, a deadly and highly contagious virus, as well as the struggle for female equality – I mean, yikes! This one hits you right in the gut when you really sit down and think about it. This book could really be what we face in the near future if we don’t get our shit together! I feel like all of these issues allowed such a large opportunity to tackle these issues in a detailed and sensitive way…… but I was sadly disappointed.
Let me give you an example with the feminism. One of the deciding factors in me picking up this book was that it sounded like 5 women picked up, got off their ass, stole a space ship, and decided to take matters into their own hands to save the planet. It sounded like there was oppression and a world that was male dominated. This was true. Women were controlled to have only one child. After that child was born she was fitted with a required IUD (form of birth control), and would be taxed beyond their financial means if they wanted to have any more children. Having 2 kids would most definitely mean financial ruin, so only the wealthiest of people had multiples. Women were losing their jobs, even if they were more qualified than men. It was also implied that men didn’t think that women were capable or safe in most working situations so they were offered packages to stay at home. Sounds like it would be a hard hitting read right? WRONG.
The thing is, our main character (and all the leading ladies for that matter) were in a position of privilege. These women were financially stable and/or wealthy. They all had jobs that were higher in the chain of command and were considered very important. The author wrote it in a way that described the struggles of women but not from the perspective of ANY of the characters. It kept the emotional impact at arms length the whole time. I think that what she attempted with feminism in this book would have been SO MUCH more effective if I as the reader experienced the treatment of women from the direct perspective of a character instead of just being “told” that women were treated like crap.
I also struggled with the character development in a big way. Aside from the main character Naomi and her adoptive mother Valerie, I don’t remember a single thing about the other 3 women on the ship! I feel like we really didn’t learn anything about them! It was kind of done on purpose. Naomi remained a little distanced from the rest of the crew because she was struggling with a secret, but that didn’t allow me to connect with them, relate to them, or even remember their first names! Even a few things from Naomi’s past were’t explored in a very clear or detailed way….. it was just weird!!
Though this author didn’t excel with her characters, she did, however, excel with some of the world building! There were so many interesting settings throughout this novel and it was so easy to envision it like a real thing. There was a dystopian earth, falling away and crumbling before their very eyes. There was also a completely different planet that none of our characters had yet to experience first hand, and we had a space ship with so many different rooms and functions. I loved the world building!
And there was also a very interesting development of something that happened in space that i’ve yet to come across in a book or a movie. I won’t tell you what it is (ummm, hello, spoilers!) but it was so unique! It kept me wondering if something was really possible and how the logistics of it all would work out lol
Being that I had quite a few sever issues with this book, I really did enjoy it. I had to work pretty damn hard to separate my issues with it and just take it at face value for what it was. Once I stopped expecting character development or actual examples of feminism, it was an ok read.
Until next time, happy reading!