Published by Berkley on June 13th 2017
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
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In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be...
You know the kind of book that you cannot stop thinking about long after you’ve finished it? Well, that is this book for me. It’s also among my favorite books so far this year, so there’s that. Here’s the thing: it isn’t a fully action packed space adventure, so if you’re looking for that, this may not be the book for you. But if you are looking for some amazing characters who have to make some really difficult choices after the whole universe nearly collapses, then this is definitely a book to check out.
So, here are the things I especially enjoyed about this one:
- The characters were so well done. Jamie, the main character, is kind of a mess. And this is before the apocalypse. So after, you can imagine the kind of shape she’s in. She knows that the odds are not great in regards to how many fellow survivors may be out there, but she’s determined to find out. That’s the best part about her, even as she falls apart in so many ways, she’s still trying to survive. The other characters are equally complex, and we get to find out so much about their stories as the book goes on. I grew to care about each of them.
- Everything about this book was incredibly thought provoking. Truly, it was terrifying to imagine being in the shoes of these characters- basically alone in the universe, having to rely on strangers, not knowing who can be trusted in a terrifyingly empty new society. It also felt eerily plausible- the way people reacted, how easily turmoil would have ensued.
- Even though it was quite character driven, the plot moved quickly too. I was never bored, and I was always excited for what would happen next.
- The characters have really great relationships with each other. Some of them became friends, while others flat out did not get along, and it felt so authentic. Just because there are not a ton of humans left, it makes sense that some people will flat out disagree, and I liked that the book wasn’t afraid to go there. There was also a bit of romance, but it definitely wasn’t the focus- as people are kind of busy worrying about the fate of humanity. Still, the bits of romance were a very nice respite from apocalyptic doom.
- Space! Even though the book wasn’t incredibly heavy on the science part, it still featured a lot of great spaceship shenanigans and other technology. And really, who doesn’t love space adventures?
What I didn’t as much:
- Really, my only minor complaint was that a few things seemed a bit unbelievable/coincidental. And while I wasn’t totally able to suspend my disbelief, it also didn’t really make me like the story any less. I was able to overlook it since the story and characters did a great job of pulling me in.
Bottom Line: I was so invested in the characters’ stories and the stories of this world, and what led it to the state it was in. I felt quite satisfied with the story, and was contemplating it long after I was done reading.