Tag Archives: Sci-Fi

Book Review : Escaping Exodus

Escaping Exodus (Amazon Link)

Author : Nicky Drayden
Published By : HarperCollins, Harper Voyager
Year Published : October 15, 2019
Genre / Tags : Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Space Opera, Experimental, Light Romance, Speculative Fiction, also in my opinion- New Adult
Formats : Paperback, eBook
# of Pages : 336 pages (Paperback)

Summary

Escaping Exodus is a story of a young woman named Seske Kaleigh, heir to the command of a biological, city-size starship carved up from the insides of a spacefaring beast. Her clan has just now culled their latest ship and the workers are busy stripping down the bonework for building materials, rerouting the circulatory system for mass transit, and preparing the cavernous creature for the onslaught of the general populous still in stasis. It’s all a part of the cycle her clan had instituted centuries ago—excavate the new beast, expand into its barely-living carcass, extinguish its resources over the course of a decade, then escape in a highly coordinated exodus back into stasis until they cull the next beast from the diminishing herd.

And of course there wouldn’t be much of a story if things didn’t go terribly, terribly wrong.

Note : Many thanks to Netgalley, HarperCollins Publishers, and Harper Voyager for providing me an e-ARC of this title for review.

Review

This book is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I’ll mention first and foremost that it gets a 5/5 on Goodreads from me, issues and all, because the characterization and storyline had me consistently riveted. Finished the whole second half within a sitting. Even when imagery got murky, very out there, and almost beyond comprehension- I was always invested in the characters and happenings of this weird world. There is enthusiastic creativity in the telling of it, and astonishing development given the modest 300-some page count.

One disclosure first, and something that may inform my thoughts on certain aspects- I haven’t read much science fiction. Liked much of what I’ve tried, but am still muchly a stranger to those shores. This is a sort of science fiction/speculative fiction/fantasy hybrid with a thrust toward experimental world building rather than space exploration.

First, the writing style. First impression was positive. The narrative is told from two points of view with the main characters just entering adulthood. Though I’ve never seen it shelved as New Adult, I think this title could easily be ushered into that category due to the age of the main characters. This book is filled with terms unique to its world, presented on nearly every page. The writing feels thick due to this attention to detail and demands the reader to learn through context and process sometimes murky and otherworldly imagery. I finished this title in six hours but it felt longer and like it would consume more energy than a more rhythmical and flowy read would. Not a bad writing style by any means, but I could see it being too dense for some. What I do like is how eventful the pages are, to an almost chaotic degree late in the book where the author has so many ideas and pulls them off at a faster pace. The first half of this book is noticeably more orderly than the second half.

Not related to the technical good and bad but I feel it’s important to mention sooner rather than later- this is a weird read. Almost challengingly so, with some gross passages and nearly inexplicable customs. This title takes place far, far in the future- where humanity and ways of life have evolved to an otherworldly degree. Cultural customs, food, ways of showing affection, pets, all sorts of nitty-gritty things are different in this world. Even simple travel involves characters navigating the flesh of a giant space creature. However, I loved how the things I didn’t like juxtaposed with what worked for a fascinating effect, encouraging one to empathize more with the world. An example of this, there is a space monster baby that probes one of the main character’s facial orifices as a way of bonding. I was pretty grossed out by the related descriptions but said baby is also an innocent creature whose life is being threatened. It still reaches out the heroine, perhaps not understanding that her species has been hurting it. I grew to feel for the strange little guy and wanted the main characters to successfully protect it.

About the relationships in this book. There is some romance. Not central to the story, but it’s there. Some enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, friends-to-enemies, starcrossed, basically all the stuff I happen to like was somehow included and a huge surprise to find. The otherworldly quality remains though and makes things like the intimacy between the characters come off in a very odd manner. But somehow I was really out here shipping one of the main characters (Seske) with everybody. Seske falls for two characters (a man and woman) who are treated with shockingly equal care and chemistry. Theirs isn’t a love triangle because the culture of the world here normalizes a sort of bi polyamory. I’ve actually rarely-to-never seen this done in any form of media, adding even more to this title’s uniqueness.

Winding back a bit to characterization and the points-of-view, Seske and Adala are the young heroines of this tale and raised in a matriarchal society. I really enjoyed how different these characters are from one another, harmonizing to provide a fuller view of the world.

Seske is of noble lineage and her chapters deal with revealing the workings of their hierarchial society. She is quite privileged, but also expected to shoulder the great responsibility of directing their world in more harrowing times and perhaps breaking away from tradition. She’s also a flawed character who makes some poor decisions. Adala is a girl of a lower caste and class, considered by many to be amidst the disposable. Through her we grow to understand how the people of the world are suffering and their need for change.

Adala’s chapters are more action and adventure-oriented. Adala and Seske are the main couple of the book and their relationship has major ups and downs due to their differences. I liked both of them. The dual narration encourages an understanding for both sides, even when they can’t fully understand each other.

Overall Rating – 8.5/10

Why You Should Try It – Bizarre but creative and inventive world-building. Vivid characterization and motivations. Fantastical imagery and space opera drama. The romance is of a surprising variety. Impressively full-scale storyline befitting a 600-page novel, accomplished within the tighter framework of 330 pages. Daringly experimental and unlike any title I’ve read before.

Why You Might Not Like It – Some imagery is a challenge to come to grips with or even mind-boggling and/or gross in nature. While I liked the brisker pace of later chapters, the frenzy can come off as messy. Seske, one of the main characters, makes some poor decisions that can annoy.

Escaping Exodus (Amazon Link)


This book has one of the prettiest covers I’ve encountered this year. Was a little worried it might be too out of my usual comfort zone.. so pleasantly surprised to find it engaging and worthwhile. I usually give only books ranking as 9 or 10 a 5/5 on Goodreads but decided to round this one up since for me anyway, that extra matter of the book’s wild creativity makes it special. I hope people who are looking for something experimental and ambitious will give it a try.

Thanks so much for reading this review of Escaping Exodus! Are you interested in it, or have already read it? Do you have any speculative fiction recommendations? Always appreciate your comments and likes. ~ Kitty

Book Review – All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

ALL SYSTEMS RED (The Murderbot Diaries)

Author : Martha Wells
Published By : TOR.com
Year Published : 2017
Genre / Tags : Sci-Fi, Speculative Fiction, Novella
Formats : Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
# of Pages : 144 pages (ebook)

Summary

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Review

I’ve read little to no sci-fi, so a lot of the jargon that’s present in this novella is new to me and a bit overwhelming. The terminology has good and appropriate context, making it easy to come to grips with after a little while.

Figured All Systems Red would be a fantastic starting point as its a fairly short novella that has received a deluge of positive reviews on Goodreads among other places, and the ebook is a mere 144 pages.

After finishing, I must say a lot was packed into these pages. There is an overarching story full of potential, the narrative voice is distinct and memorable, and the whole of it is just well-written. Some of the best plot points would be spoiler-y to explain so I’ll just say I really liked the sequence of events and there is so much room to grow for the sequel. There are now five books, the fifth set to release in 2020.

The final bit to mention and what left the best impact on me is the main character, Murderbot.

I’ve come across androids or other man-made creatures in fiction before. Usually the attempts to make them human have struck me as aiming for the obvious. Murderbot doesn’t cloyingly ingratiate themself to the reader or other humans in the narrative. Instead of saying “Hey, look at me! I’m a human just like you! See how helpful and useful and human-like I can be???” They’d rather be left alone to watch the futuristic equivalent of streaming TV. They’re an introvert who is skeptical of people- and as a result comes off more natural and more human than one might expect. They don’t wish for much interaction with humans- but DO enjoy watching fictional humans and immersing in fictional words. The irony and relatability of their cynicism is humorous to witness, well-reasoned, and something I can’t recall reading of before. In a roundabout way, this approach to characterization goes far in making this character complex and effective.

Overall Rating – 9/10

Why You Should Try It – Murderbot is a great and worthwhile leading character. A good mix of humor, action, and world-building in a small number of pages.

Why You Might Not Like It – A person who is not open to sci-fi or speculative fiction will probably not have their mind changed by this title. Murderbot’s character development far exceeds the other side characters so far.

ALL SYSTEMS RED (The Murderbot Diaries) (Amazon Link)

Thanks so much for reading my review! Have you read this book or any others in the Murderbot Diaries? Are you interested in reading it? I appreciate all of your thoughts.

Amazon eBooks Sunday Sales – Sci-Fi & Fantasy

So on my to do list of posts is a series on Kindles, eBooks, and my own experiences with e-readers. They’re all still in the works but after seeing an Amazon update today on a number of hugely discounted titles that are prominent in my TBR I’ve been inspired to do this post.

These titles are only sale today, Sunday, August 18th 2019. I notice that sometimes prices are still valid for a few days but act now if you’re interested in any of these. Please do note that these are eBooks and they are viewable on Amazon Kindles or on phones or tablets that have the Kindle app installed.

There are 60+ titles on sale but here is a short list of 10 that stand out and my thoughts on them. If you’ve read any of these books before please do feel free to comment, I am interested in your thoughts on them.

1.) Animal Farm by George Orwell / Amazon Link / $2.99 (On Read Shelf, Rating – 5/5)

This is a timeless and always relevant classic. A quick and fairly easy read that really gets you thinking. I haven’t re-read it in a while and will be re-reading and reviewing it in the future on this blog. This title is easily recommendable to just about anyone.

2.) Severence by Ling Ma / Amazon Link / $3.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.84)

Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Very curious about this title. Literary fiction, Asian fiction, Dystopian, social commentary, just wow. If anyone has read this please let me know your thoughts.

3.) Timeless (#1) by R.A. Salvatore / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 4.25)

An all-new trilogy full of swordplay, danger, and imaginative thrills. Has anyone read R.A. Salvatore? I keep seeing his name pop up whenever I look up recommended fantasy and this is a first in series (though to be understanding, the character is present in other books.)

4.) The Magicians (#1) by Lev Grossman / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.51)

A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel for adults about a young man practicing magic in the real world. My followed review list on Goodreads shows some very mixed and polarizing opinions on this title! It sounds like Harry Potter, but for adults, and it has a main character that is popularly disliked. Apparently the writing is pretty good but a lot of people question the main character’s actions. I have an occasional fascination with unconventional/unlikable main characters sometimes so I’m really curious..

5.) Burn (#1) by Suzanne Wright / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 4.17)

This has a long synopsis so I’ll leave it out. Long story short this is a paranormal romance, gritty urban fantasy. The heroine is a tattooist who lives among demons and has a psychic mate. It’s a 5 book series. I’ve seen it around and am curious to add it to my sort of crowded paranormal romance TBR.

6.) The Trials of Morrigan Crow (#1) by Jessica Townsend / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 4.39)

First in the Nevermoor series. I am definitely getting this one. It’s a Harry Potter-like middle grade fantasy but with a female heroine. Nearly 500 pages. It’s been on my TBR for a few years and I think it’s time.

7.) The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 4.15)

There is this booktuber (Book reviewing Youtuber, basically) on Youtube named Jordan Harvey. I’ve watched several of her reviews and her thoughts on The Goose Girl are so impassioned. I love hearing about childhood books that have touched people, so I have been keenly curious in this title ever since. It’s a middle grade fantasy.

8.) Firelight (#1) by Kristen Callihan / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.77)

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. So this one is a paranormal.. victorian romance? That’s kind of an unusual setting for PR! I love victorian, steampunk, and gothic settings so that’s basically what catches my eye about this one. Not YA though the cover looks so.

9. Garden of Thorns (#1) by Amber Mitchell / Amazon Link / $0.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.66)

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. This is a YA/Fantasy/Romance that seems to have some political intrigue as the heroine is part of an uprising / rebellion.

10. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane / Amazon Link / $3.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.71)

A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history–the Salem witch trials. Salem witch trials!! I have been hungry to read a book in this setting. Honestly I haven’t read a book like that since R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Saga which I still love utterly by the way. This is in the historical fiction / mystery / paranormal – witches category.


As always, thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any comments and likes! Have you read any of these books or are any of them also on your TBR? If you’ve reviewed any of these in the past please let me know, I will check out your blog/review! Please do note that if you miss these sales prices I have noticed that books on sale like this sometimes (not always, but sometimes) end up on sale again in the near future so no worries.

Full Review : Ignite Me (#3, Shatter Me Series) *Spoiler-Free* by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me (Shatter Me Book 3)

Series : Shatter Me
Volume : #3 of 6+
Year Published : 2014
Genre : YA, Romance, Dystopian, Sci-Fi

Formats : eBook / Paperback / Hardcover / Audiobook
# of Pages : 409 pages (Hardcover)

Summary

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

Review

Spoiler-Free Section

I flew through this book, it’s a vast improvement over the second though I was pretty much in a consistently obsessed zone through books 1-3, they all kind of flow seamlessly together and are ideal for marathoning. The audiobook and narration continue to be effective. Juliette no longer wallows in angst (or at least less than she did in book 2) and I notice the sort of poetic writing has also receded in favor of more tight and eventful plotting.

I like the first half more than the second half. The fighting, the drama, Kenji and everything about him and his thoughts on all the situations, it was just utterly entertaining with lots of great dialogue. There are some shocking shifts in the romance portion, with Juliette making some surprising, satisfying new decisions that have been alluded to (and basically, in the making) since book one.

The last half is more plot-driven, with a dramatic (if somewhat abrupt) finale that is rife with intensity and much more action-oriented than this series usually is. This was originally meant to be the final book, but the author decided to expand things by another three books which is a great decision since there is still a lot of room for growth.


More Spoiler-ey Section (Mainly me rambling about the romance aspect.)

I want to preface several of the following critiques by stating that Ignite Me is probably the best book in the series. If you’ve liked things up to this point, it is definitely worth checking out and closes the main arc of the plot up pretty nicely.

So, given that this is the third book, there are a lot more involved points worth talking about that would unfortunately somewhat spoil events of the prior books.

Mafi does something very unique with the love triangle situation- something I’ve only seen one other YA author do. She takes the “bad” guy and “good” guy and has them, in essence, switch places. Juliette also has left Adam for good and gets involved with Warner. We see all the worst facets of Adam- the “good” guy, in this book. It was shocking to see this otherwise passive (in my opinion, boring) individual fly off the handle and enraged.

Conversely, we see the antagonist- Warner- as more humanized than ever before. We learn of a number of surprising plot twists and that several prior things that made him seem evil were on account of misunderstandings.

So this is going to be a very unpopular opinion (warning, I tend towards having them) and I’m pretty sure I’m alone in the world with this but I didn’t care for the redemption arc of Warner. Some redemption is fine but the extent seemed like a broad re-working of the character. It seemed misguided, as the entire appeal of him up to that point for me was his ambiguity. He’s alluring enough that I could see Juliette with him, even if he’s not “perfect.”

I feel like Mafi literally tried to retcon ALL of his prior unsavory actions to make him unproblematic and working for the good of everyone after all. I understand that this is probably a good thing, considering that this is YA and his rap sheet is long enough that he shouldn’t be the love interest without some major rehauling. I understand the why of it. After viewing some interviews with the author on Youtube, she seems keenly aware of her responsibilities as a YA author, yet still tries to explore more provocative ideas by blurring the lines of villain and hero in the first place. I can’t imagine straddling that line is easy.

So to bring up an even more unpopular and probably unheard of opinion of mine, I started to like Adam more in this book after seeing his dark side. He went WAY too far and should indeed be considered unforgivable but I just found it intriguing how he went from passive and insipid to basically awful. I just like seeing characters change in unexpected ways and Mafi managed it in a believable way. Long story short and a warning for the future, I’m basically a trainwreck chaser when it comes to characters. Most people will probably dislike Adam in this book and be overjoyed at the added humanity to Warner’s character and Juliette’s favoring him.

Problems that I bought up in prior reviews (lack of female characters, lack of new characters outside of the major ones introduced in book 2, Juliette’s shortcomings) are still present. To be fair, Juliette does have some great moments though and I’d say she had made at least some considerable progress from beginning to end.

Overall Rating – 9/10

Why You Should Try It – If you’ve read the first two books, absolutely read this third one. The main plot makes some strides, the dialogue between characters is at its best, and major decisions are made. I agree with the seemingly popular opinion that this book is the best of the trio.

Critique – Very subjectively, I had mixed feelings toward certain turns in the characterization. While there is some growth, if you have actively disliked the series, I don’t think this volume will change minds.


Ignite Me (Shatter Me Book 3) (Amazon Link, Click Here To Read A Sample.)
Shatter Me Series Paperback Box Set: Books 1-4 (The Shatter Me Boxed Set on Amazon, Discounted/On Sale.)

Many thanks to all who read my review! Are you interested in this series or have you read it before? Do you have any additional questions or comments? If so, let me know your thoughts, I appreciate all likes and comments very much.

Happy reading,
Kitty

Full Review : Unravel Me (#2, Shatter Me Series) *Spoiler Free* by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me (Shatter Me Book 2)

Series : Shatter Me
Volume : #2 of 6+
Year Published : 2013
Genre : YA, Romance, Dystopian, Sci-Fi

Formats : eBook / Paperback / Hardcover / Audiobook
# of Pages : 461 pages (Hardcover)

Summary

The thrilling second installment in New York Times bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

It should have taken Juliette a single touch to kill Warner. But his mysterious immunity to her deadly power has left her shaken, wondering why her ultimate defense mechanism failed against the person she most needs protection from.

She and Adam were able to escape Warner’s clutches and join up with a group of rebels, many of whom have powers of their own. Juliette will finally be able to actively fight against The Reestablishment and try to fix her broken world. And perhaps these new allies can help her shed light on the secret behind Adam’s—and Warner’s—immunity to her killer skin.

Juliette’s world is packed with high-stakes action and tantalizing romance, perfect for fans of the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard and the Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken.

Review

I strived to NOT spoil Shatter Me, so this review should be safe to read if you haven’t read the series yet!

So, this review is going to be full of criticisms and it probably deserves less than the rating it’s getting but I was totally captivated and consumed this so fast despite its length. The fun level is the main factor that went into my rating.

First, the good.

Kenji is a spectacular side character. HE NEEDS HIS OWN SERIES. Probably my favorite sidekick of all YA books ever. So many other YA novels are lacking for not having a Kenji. He has a lot of snappy banter but most importantly- he calls out the heroine and other characters in a candid and productive manner, making well-reasoned arguments, and basically saying what the reader is likely to be thinking in any situation. All YA books need a Kenji to be the voice of reason and get their characters heads on straight.

Juliette’s shortcomings are far more noticeable in this installment. I still like her overall but she is a massive drama queen. That said, there are moments of self-awareness or insightfulness that pop up when she’s facing some of the more harrowing moments.

Finally, Warner. He’s that guilty pleasure bad-guy character you’re not supposed to like but is just intriguing. Doubly so here because he’s still this zany combo of evil yet affectionate, if that makes any sense. (It doesn’t, and I am so much a sucker for weird characters, so it works.) Warner is full of surprises and has a major role in the whole last half of this book and brings some much needed tension and mayhem to the plot, as he did in Shatter Me. Probably my second favorite character in the series though I do like all of them on some level. Except Adam, he’s boring.

Now for the bad.

Without spoiling anything or being too specific, I’ll just say that the ending of Shatter Me seemed to be leading into a ton of potential and possible growth for Juliette’s character. She is now mostly free, and open to exploring a broader world, a fresh setting. This SHOULD open the door for more characters and seemingly more to do.

But Juliette is so often trapped inside of her own head, her own neuroses, and so is the reader- deprived of what could be amore meaningful storyline and character growth. Far too much time is spent on her fussing, worrying, and having a single-minded fixation on Adam.

If you like Adam at all, it’s great. I was largely indifferent to him throughout these first two books, he’s just OK. I felt like her obsession with him takes away from so much.

It takes away from really learning about her powers, learning about the new setting, Omega Point. She doesn’t really get to know anybody. There is hardly any time allotted to the few new characters, and the few named female characters are especially and pointedly ignored. It really sticks out and I’m starting to get reverse harem feels when reading this. But even the most shameless reverse harem anime or manga for example, with like 8 different love interests all with different personalities and hair colors and back stories, will STILL find time to give the heroine at least one female friend or an epic frienemy or something. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for.

I knew going in that this was a romantic angst-fest with a focus on a growing love triangle. It’s a wonderful guilty pleasure on that front. But the dystopian backdrop has a little bit of potential that is frustratingly unrealized, considering that this book is almost 500 pages. But overall, I still had fun. Kate Simses narration is stellar as it was in Shatter Me, the details I mention about her work with the characters is still very present here.

Overall Rating – 8.5/10

Why You Should Try It – If you liked Shatter Me, this is definitely worth reading. If you liked Adam from that book, doubly so. If you liked Warner, it’s still worth going through to get to the third book, Ignite Me. Kenji is funny and charming and witty and needs his own book ASAP. Basically the characters from book 1 are all back and active, if you like them on some level you’ll probably like this book.

Critique – Juliette is a woefully single-minded drama queen that I think most will take issue with, even if they like her. Adam is a snoozefest (your mileage may vary.) There is a blatant lack of female characters outside of Juliette. The dystopian aspect and setting is under-developed.

Unravel Me (Shatter Me Book 2) (Amazon Link)
Shatter Me Series Paperback Box Set: Books 1-4 (The Shatter Me Boxed Set on Amazon, Discounted/On Sale.)

Many thanks to all who read my review! Are you interested in this series or have you read it before? Feel free to let me know your thoughts, I appreciate all likes and comments very much.

Happy reading,

Kitty

Full Review : Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter: A Novel

Year Published : 2016
Genre : Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, General Fiction
Mood : Versatile, ultra high tension during thriller portions.
Edition : Kindle eBook
# of Pages : 342 pages

Synopsis

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him

Review

This book went flying beyond my already good expectations, and pretty much cemented Blake Crouch’s other work as worth pursuing. Also has me on a mission to find more similarly high quality suspense/thriller/sci-fi fusion novels. The writing is deeply immersive- I started reading this when I was in a drowsy state, barely able to concentrate, and the writing pulled me in quickly. This would be a great choice for anyone who is in a reading slump.

The suspense portion is vivid and effectively front-loaded. Then the more sci-fi elements take center stage around the halfway mark. There’s also a great sense of adventure and unpredictability at this point. I have very little experience or knowledge of sci-fi and can confirm that those aspects, even at wordier sections, were quite approachable.

One other thing I want to mention- I’d been reading three other books alongside this one, all three centered romance in some way.

In terms of conveying a love story between two people, the sub-plot between the lead character Jason and his wife here in Dark Matter was by far and away the most endearing of everything I’d been reading at the time. Keep in mind by no means is Dark Matter even partly a romance, I just thought that was an amusing coincidence. Long story short, everything this book tries to do, it does well. Multi-faceted despite being on the short side. Quite briskly paced.

Overall, I enjoyed this experience but by far and away the thriller/suspense focus of those earlier chapters left the greatest impact. Not sure which is going to be my next Crouch book but one that focuses more singularly on the thriller genre could be an all-time fave.

Overall Rating – 10/10

Why You Should Try It – This book tries to do it all, and succeeds. The thriller portions are great. The sci-fi elements seem well-reasoned, a sense of unpredictable adventure permeates the middle point, and there’s even an effective love story. This is just a great all-rounder with a lot to offer and one of the best things I’ve read this year.

Critique – So, the climax and ending. I want this to be a spoiler-free review so I’ll just say that I thought it could have been wrapped up in a tidier, less chaotic way.

Dark Matter: A Novel (Click To Read A Sample on Amazon)