Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review By: Shana
This book is a collage, not only of narrative devices, but also of plot lines. The story will sound familiar – in fact, it is familiar in an exponential way. It has a little bit of everything: one very bad break-up, a planet invasion, a human-engineered pandemic, ill victims that become violently paranoid, an unruly AI with some twisted logic, a race against a chasing and hostile starship, and lots of computer hacking.
The author has approached this cornucopia of action/SF plots by way of a dossier of the numerous pitfalls and disasters befalling (1) the refugees of the attacked planet; (2) the crews of a scientific vessel and a heavy freighting vessel that take on some of said refugees; and (3) the crew and AI of a battle ship, the Alexander, escorting said ships. The dossier is comprised of emails, chat dialog, on-ship video, the AI's observations, and other data.
The result is a choppy narrative, with holes and uncertainty, and overall quite in line with what one would expect in the aftermath of a multifaceted disaster in space. This delivery is something you will either appreciate or find annoying - if the former, it is an engaging, suspenseful, and fast ride. And if you like audiobooks, the audio version is fantastic (full cast and appropriate sound effects).
The ending is clearly set up for the sequel in what is a trilogy, and I'll be interested to see how the villain (unveiled at the very end) and the survivors will match wits. Suspend your disbelief at this much misfortune befalling star-crossed teen lovers, and suspend your sarcastic eye-rolling for their suitably overwrought declarations of love (they are teens, and overwrought is the name of the day, especially when death really is knocking), and enjoy the unfurling action and imminent death. Just don't ask the AI to open the pod bay doors.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...