4/5 Stars – Hints of Alien but without the Alien, then with the Alien…ah read on.
Ready for a SciFi read I picked up this number. The cover looked quirky and interesting and together with the blurb promised to be a light SciFi experience – nothing too technically onerous to wrap my head around.
I kind of got that I guess. It pretty much delivered what the blurb said it would, Daisy and the rest of her crew are awakened from cryo-sleep by their ship’s AI whilst en route to earth after the vessel is hit by dust or debris or something small that caused some big damage, we never really find out. Following protocol, the AI has nudged them from their slumber. I won’t go too much into the story but it was less light-hearted and more of a thriller than I was expecting which was great. A nice surprise.
Reading the story there are a lot of undercurrents. It is told mostly from Daisy’s point of view and to her, things do not quite stack up. She doesn’t know her crew, her memory or knowledge of them is fed to her in cryo-sleep along with low-level training routines for her ship technician’s role. Think Neo and his ‘I know kungfu’ tagline in The Matrix, it is a bit like that but only on a 56k modem rather than ultra fibre-optic. It has to be slow you see for safety reasons, too much or too fast and it can scramble your mind so safety protocols are used to prevent that and it slows the whole thing down. There is more to it, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist and it is interestingly done. Even better that there is not a ten-page scientific disposition on how it works.
Daisy sees herself as a full human as is her friend Sarah, another tech, but the captain and the rest of the crew are all enhanced, modded to one degree or another, human but with cybernetic implants. It makes for an interesting perspective, at least for me, this undertone of purity and xenophobia means Daisy is quite discriminatory. It makes her otherwise ‘good’ character quite flawed which I found quite intriguing. A hero with tendencies that would be shouted down in this day and age. The question in my mind was was she right or just prejudiced?
Then, on top of everything, there was the ship’s AI and the cyborg helper Barry. Yes, Barry. Halfway through the read, I mused to myself that it felt at this point a tiny bit like Alien – but without the murderous alien rampaging and ripping people to bits part, an important detail that, but stick with me, it had the rest. A large sparsely populated spaceship, a sinister AI, and a cyborg that was stronger and smarter than the humans. Now you’re with me, right? Well, now throw in a disparate crew.
All in all, it was tapering nicely to a head. Then everything changes and well, look at the book title and draw your own conclusions, or better yet grab a copy and have a read yourself. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed the story. It was well told and whilst there were a few niggles that naggled, overall I found Daisy’s character to be fun. The story is the first of six books so there is more to come. This volume finishes in a suitable place. A pause before Daisy’s next adventure or plunge into peril but hey, they’re the same thing.