Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Jacqueline Koyanagi
Completed 8/28/2018, Reviewed 8/28/2018
2 stars

I didn’t care much for this novel.  It had a lot of interesting ideas, such as physical disability, gender issues, genocide, and alternate universes, but it didn’t seem to come together into a satisfactory whole.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that the majority of characters are female, with a token male here and there, the opposite of what you find in most science fiction novels.  So it passes the Bechdel test in that there are women who have a conversation that’s not about men.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to raise this above the level of mediocre. 

Alana is a sky surgeon (read starship engineer) who works in a shop repairing ships, but has never been in space.  She has an autoimmune disease that contracts her muscles, causing terrific pain.  The disease can be treated, but the meds are expensive, and being a sky surgeon doesn’t pay well.  One day, a starship arrives looking for Alana’s “spirit guide” sister, Nova.  With Nova on vacation, Alana decides to stow away on the ship, hoping to parlay information on Nova’s location into a permanent job on the ship.  The plan works, sort of. 

The mission and the crew of the ship is anything but ordinary.  There’s the engineer who thinks he’s a wolf, the pilot who flickers in and out of existence, and the captain who is having an affair with the medical officer.  Alana falls for the captain as well.  But all this has to wait, because the crew is blamed for the destruction of a planet, Alana is running out of meds, Nova is not cooperating, and the pilot will soon blink completely out of existence unless they can get to an alternate universe.

So yeah, lots of interesting stuff.  However, no matter what strange things were going on, the story kept reverting to Alana as she obsessed and tortured herself over falling for the captain of the starship.  It was pretty normal obsession initially, especially since it conflicted with her first true love, being a sky surgeon.  She fell in love with the ship as well as with its captain.  The book is told in first person Alana, so the whole middle of the book was sitting in her head while she kicked herself for her feelings.  It got tedious quickly.

In general, the relationships all seemed pretty bizarre.  There were a lot of secrets and miscommunication which made the relationships seem dysfunctional.  I’m not so sure they weren’t.  I didn’t mind the polyamory, I minded how nobody would talk about it.  In fact, nothing about the relationships was clarified until the end.  I would have rather seen the relationships clear up early and let the science fiction part of the story carry the novel to the end.  Instead, the science fiction part of the story gets pushed back until nearly the end.  By that time, I didn’t care much about it anymore, I just wanted the book to be finished. 

I give this book two stars out of five.  It was a convoluted mess.  I’m saddened by this score, because I always want books with LGBTQ content to be good.  Of course, just because there’s a lesbian relationship in the story doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good book.  I just want it to be. 

No comments:

Post a Comment