Took us a hot second to write down the reviews, but come on guys, it just be like that sometimes… The important thing is that we’re here and we’re ready to talk about the book! Hopefully you have read it with us and we can actually have some fun chatting!
And don’t forget: for November we chose three novellas! They’re so short, you have no excuse not to read at least one of them!
M. K. England
Rep: Pakistani-American bi mc with anxiety, Black British mlm mc, East Asian-Latina(?) mc with anxiety, Khazistani trans girl mc, hijabi Muslim mc, Bengali side character, Pakistani-American side character
Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.
But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.
On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.
They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.
Rating: 3/5 🌈
You know when you finish a book and you have Thoughts with a capital t? Well that’s how I feel about this book. Yes, I liked it (3 stars is a Good Rating and that is a hill I’m willing to die on), but it also left me with too much to ponder over and not in a good way.
First and foremost, though, this book is a lot of fun. You’ll love the characters from the instant you meet them, and they carry the book even when the plot seems a little weak. And there’s enough going on that even I, a person who gets bored so so easily, didn’t find anything tedious.
But it’s also a fairly shallow consideration of a lot of things. The whole premise is that humanity has expanded from Earth and “colonised” a lot of other planets. And that’s the word that’s used. Colonised, colonisers, colonies. But not for a moment does it stop and think about the process of colonisation. Sure, these planets are ostensibly uninhabited so it’s not like some 27 Hours shit, but choosing to use those words, and choosing to have POC as your main characters, who, by dint of being part of the Academy, would go on to become part of these colonies? It ultimately felt a little like the book was going “colonisation is good actually”.
And, finally, a more minor thing. The (cis male) bi mc is in a love triangle with a cis male character and a cis female character. You may have some idea of my thoughts on this trope (hint: they’re not positive), but basically it’s something I am tired of reading. As if you need to somehow prove the character is bi, and this is the only way you can think to do it. And that the character goes on to flirt with both love interests at the same time skirts just a little too close to the cheating bi stereotype for my tastes. (Just a caveat though: I mind less when the love triangle doesn’t just involve a cis man and a cis woman, but I can honestly think of one book that recognises being bi isn’t a binary thing.)
Rating: 3/5 🌈
It’s a bit of a mixed bag for me, not gonna lie. On the one hand we have a beautiful bunch of characters and if you learned anything about my reading taste, it should be that I always go hard for a found family. So there was never any chance of me hating this book from the start, not with that assemble of teens. They’re amazing, I love them all, I would die for Rion, and it’s definitely a plus that they’re mostly non-white people.
I would even venture to say that this might be viewed as a character driven novel.
But then we have the actual plot and sure, a lot of things happen, and sure, they are mostly fun & engaging & it even all makes sense. But there’s this undercurrent of… not enough? I’m aware that million of people can die if our protags don’t succeed but the stakes somehow don’t seem high enough? There’s never a moment when you sit on the edge of your chair, biting your nails nervously, unsure of whether or not all is gonna be well.
It’s kind of like a Hallmark movie: you have fun with it, you make fun of it a little to your friend, and then you forget all about it.
Did you read along with us? What did you think?