Writing: 4/5 Plot: 5/5 Characters: 4.5/5
Mallory Viridian appears to be cursed. Murders tend to occur whenever she is around. She solves them — quickly and well (much to the irritation of the local police) — but it would be much better if they didn’t happen in the first place! After the latest murder, wanting to be as far from perishable humans as she can get, she makes her way onto Eternity — a sentient space station — where bizarre coincidences tend to happen even more often.
The story is a great mix of action, cultural exploration, and personal growth with an impressive cast of characters (human and not, multi colored, of various sexual proclivities — checks all the right boxes but does not beat the point to death). One step further in the diversity collection — experiments with symbiotic pairings between beings becomes somewhat central to the plot(s). These include sentient hardware, hive minds, giant vegetarian rock people and the “moist races” like humans. Honestly the disgust felt by some of the aliens at the thought of all the “liquid” in humans just cracked me up. The plot often veers at crazy angles with multiple surprises, inducing a pleasurable ADD experience in me (I’m normally more of a linear planner type). Lots of banter and a very cool ending where countless loose end were tied up in highly satisfying ways.
I absolutely loved this book and can’t imagine how I missed it when it first came out. It’s my kind of science fiction — full of aliens, but with fully fleshed out (and imaginative) cultures and individual personalities (alienalities?). No all-hands-on-deck to kill the bug-eyed monsters thread!
Perfect for fans of Ann Leckie or early Becky Chambers (the Monk & Robot series do nothing for me). The best news — book two is coming out shortly (November 7th), and if I’m lucky I’ll get an early copy!