By: M.K. England
Nax Hall has trained his entire life to be a pilot and soar forever out of Earth’s oppressing solar system. Seeing his chance, he enters the Academy on Ellis Station, the only school on the moon specializing in planet colonization. With a perfect score on the flight simulations test and passing his entrance interview, the time has come for Nax to settle into his new life. However, less than 24 hours after his acceptance into the Academy, he’s kicked out.
As he boards the shuttle to fly back to Earth, Nax meets a small group of fellow failures who refuse to share why they were forced to leave. Set to depart, a sudden terrorist cell overruns the school murdering students and civilians.
Nax and his small crew are the only witnesses to the crime, and they have to get the information back to Earth before the terrorists set their eyes on a much larger target.
My negative review of this book is partly due to my own negligence. I made the mistake of judging this book by the cool cover and intriguing dust jacket synopsis instead of recognizing it was a YA novel. I paid full cover price for this hardback book and didn’t want to DNR it after forking over my hard earned dough. I honestly wouldn’t have purchased it if I knew then what I know now.
I don’t have anything against YA novels…okay, that’s a total lie. I definitely do. Except in certain circumstances like the Hunger Games, but I still gave this one a shot! Low expectations met.
This story has the tropieset cast of characters I have ever seen. You get the genius, the smartass pilot, the medic, the diplomat with muscles, and the hacker…very original. The only thing that makes these characters really unique is that several of them are openly part of the LGBT community, which I respect. I enjoy how the author handles the transgender side character but not the main character’s bisexuality. I’ll touch on that later, but, long story short, she made it cheap.
For the first time, allow me to introduce you to a concept I call, “Rapid Fire BS.” There were too many things wrong with this book to make each one a paragraph, so you get bullet points instead. Lucky you!
- Story moves at a breakneck pace but not in a meaningful way
- Main character is constantly unsure of himself, full of self-loathing, and constantly talking about how he always fucks up
- Not emotionally invested in the main character or really any of the characters for that matter
- The characters are oddly intimate with each other even though they literally just met. The whole book takes place in the span of about 4 days. Yeah. Somehow the constant touching and literal hand-holding always make them feel better. No wonder people think Millennials are a bunch of pansies.
- The diction is repetitive, lacks synonyms, and the author straight copies phrases over and over.
- Written in the present tense. One of the rules of science fiction is to write in the past tense unless you can somehow make writing in present tense make sense. In this context, the present tense doesn’t work, and the story suffered for this risk.
- There wasn’t elaboration on the villains…really at all. The author tries to explain why we should hate them through the emotions of the characters. However, again, I wasn’t emotionally invested in the characters so I didn’t really care.
- Dialogue is painfully cringe-worthy and distracting at times.
- Angst-y as fuck. Thank you for writing “stereotypical” teenage characters instead of adventuring outside of the box!
- Childish and horribly unoriginal. The story centers around young adults that come together and somehow single-handedly save most of the human race with their slapstick humor and mediocre fighting skills…yeah okay.
- For a story with the tag line “Space is hard. Grab a helmet,” they spend most of their time ON varying planets rather than traveling to them. Space isn’t that hard, I guess.
- The characters laugh hysterically at mediocre and, at worst, painfully awful jokes. Either the author thought herself a comedic genius or she thought that’s actually the way teenagers behave. Either way, it’s bad.
- The author had the audacity to actually leave the story open for a sequel. No.
The last terrible point of this story I really want to focus on is the fact that the author introduces a love triangle. I hate love triangles with a passion. They’re lazy, lack creativity, and seem to always shape the plot around the romance instead of the other way around. The plot of this story suffers greatly because the author doesn’t actually focus on the events the readers care about…you know…like millions of people dying at the hands of an evil organization. Instead, we get endless dialogue about how beautiful Nax thinks his male companion and one particular female companion are (I promised I would come back to the bisexual thing). I’m not disappointed because the character is bisexual. That part is perfectly great and welcome (Diversity all the more)! I’m disappointed because the author uses Nax’s bisexuality to justify a love triangle like somehow the fact that he likes a girl AND a guy makes the lack of plot and originality acceptable. It doesn’t. End of story.
The only redeeming quality of this book that saved it from the dreaded 1-star review is that it had SOME interesting moments and SOME lines of dialogue that were decent. The story deals with family struggles, which was okay though it wasn’t handled well mostly due to Nax’s constant whining.
Aaaaaaaaand here comes the terrible pun! This book was a…trainwreck.
Overall rating: 2
Please, just don’t read it. If you care about the LGBT thing and really want a good bisexual character, read the Millennium Trilogy with Lisbeth Salander. I have rated all 3 in that set. She’s a badass character that lacks the self-deprecating whining! Automatically better!