I received a copy of this book from the Penguin First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
I heard good things about this book, so when I saw it on Penguin First To Read I took a chance and guaranteed a copy for myself. I started reading soon after… and it took me a long time to get through his one.
Brief summary: a big corporation in the not-so-distant future has gathered a group of poor teenagers, offered them enough money to keep them and their families comfortable for life, and taken them aboard their space ship en-route to a new planet called Eden. They need the kids because the native peoples on this planet hate humans, but they have a deep affection for children and won’t hurt them.
So, I’ll start with the negatives…
- Early on I was honestly bored. This book had a little bit of a Divergent feel to it, but I didn’t really feel any emotion or connection to the characters. I think part of the problem was that they dumped SO many characters on us at once. By about 15% things were looking up and I was enjoying it a little more.
- The main character, Emmett, has some characteristics that bothered me. He would call his parents “moms and pops” – I’ve heard pops before, but something about moms just grated on me. It’s a personal thing, not a deal breaker.
- The other thing Emmett did that drove me crazy was saying things like “I filed that under A for Anger” all the time. They finally explained WHAT that was all about, but it was too little too late for me. The annoyance was firmly there.
- Too many characters were introduced all at once and I was really never given a chance to really get to know them. Not even the one involved with the first big plot twist around 30%. Had I been really given a chance to connect with that character I might have gotten bent out of shape.
- The villains were a little one dimensional. I’m hoping they will evolve when it comes to book 2.
Okay, all that said, there were a lot of things I DID like. I mean, I’m giving it 4 stars after all.
- This book is very creative. Just the concept of Nyxia (this alien material that can be controlled by your thoughts) is fascinating as all get out. There’s more to the substance than we know as well, it’s already been alluded to, and I look forward to finding out more.
- The challenges the kids underwent were also very creative and unique. They got a little repetitive at times, but overall I did enjoy them.
- This book is as about diverse as one can imagine. The protagonist is African American from Detroit, his bestie on board the ship is from the Middle East. His roommate is from Asia. There’s tons of representation in this book and it was pretty awesome.
- The plot twist at the end. I did NOT see that coming. I was left speechless. With an ending like that there’s no way I can skip book 2.
So, should you read this? If you’re looking for a (mostly) unique Sci-Fi teen novel, this might just do the trick. It has a few flaws, but on a whole the creative and unique bits (and that ending!!!) make for a pretty compelling read.
When Babel recruited me, they said all of this was a game. I like playing games, but I like winning even more.
“The reward for your efforts will be beyond your imagination. A trust fund has already been established for each of you. A check for fifty thousand dollars will be put into your account every month for the rest of your lives.”
I almost laugh, thinking we’re the politically correct version of the Justice Squad. But if Babel’s looking for heroes, they picked the wrong guy.
Habitable planets. Aliens. Right. Our generation watched the Mars landings. We’ve seen NASA’s recruiting posters all over our high schools. But there’s never been a whisper of other life-forms.
“I get a suit?”
He nods. “And a gun.”
“Congratulations,” Defoe says. “Expect adjustments to the course tomorrow.”
Translation: The glitch will be fixed, but we like that you took advantage of it.
“Yes, but are you familiar with the phrase, ‘you should see the other guy’?”
I nod. “Of course.”
“Well, you should see the other guy,” Defoe says, throwing me that dangerous grin of his.
“And how did it make you feel?”
Oh. He’s one of those doctors.
“The sky isn’t much of a sky. More of a misty overload pressing down on any and every thing.
“Everything causes cancer,” Vandermeer deadpans. “Except Nyxia. We’ve tested it.”
Does Morning want to talk, or does she want to talk? I may have bragged otherwise to the Most Excellent Brothers, but I’ve never really done that kind of talking with a girl like Morning.
My (Writing) Life
I took my girls to their school skate night (yep, roller rinks are still a thing here) and got a nice bit of writing done on SUMMER OF PEACE while the kids burned some energy. I may have lost some of my ability to hear thanks to the shrieking kids during the Hokey Pokey and YMCA, but overall—despite the evening ending in tears when my little one dropped her hoop right away during the hoola-hoop competition—it was a good night.
I’m trying to get some work done today before I start another long weekend at the hotel. Hopefully it will be pretty tame and I’ll have an opportunity to write during some down time.
In other news, I binged season 2 of Outlander over the past 3 days. Now I’m going through a bit of withdrawl. Never have I wished more for the Starz channel!
Anyone have big plans for the weekend? Or are you lame like me and spending it at work?