In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…
I received a copy of this from Netgalley to review based just on the “ragtag group of survivors” because I love books centered around that and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I started reading this book before going to bed, and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished it because I was enjoying it so much!
The plot follows Jamie and the group of survivors she ends up with that include a former priest, a prostitute, the captain of a ship and an autistic boy. Along their travels they meet other groups of survivors until they eventually reach their final destination.
Obviously, in a book like this, the main focus is going to be on the characterisation and the interactions between the characters. They were all fantastic and I really enjoyed the tensions between them at times. However, the character I’m going to focus on for this review is Finn. Finn is an autistic boy and I adore him. He is written very well and at no point is he ever treated as a joke, most of the characters accept him the way he is (one doesn’t, but she’s not happy with most of the survivors). I was just so happy to see a positive representation, and see how the crew were just so accepting. At one point, Jamie gets very upset because he’s wandered off without telling her but she doesn’t yell or shout at him and the captain just calmly goes “Hey, tell us next time okay?”. Another survivor that we meet briefly is also very likely to be Aromantic and Asexual based on the conversation she had with Jamie and again, she was portrayed in a positive manner, perfectly happy the way she was and the situation she was in. These positive representations just made me love the novel even more and just made me feel so happy to read.
The worldbuilding is something that we don’t see much of, because it’s focusing mostly on the characters. We get a small glimpse at the history that involves forced emigration from Earth based on social classes and we see a couple different planets. What we do see is certainly very interesting and because of the nature of the book, it’s something that isn’t as important. One thing the book doesn’t address is how they travel through space, other than a mention of needing fuel, but as it’s a very character-based novel this lack of information isn’t that important as it doesn’t relate to the plot.
I don’t want to say too much more, because part of the enjoyment was just being along for the journey and so it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible.
I would highly, highly recommend this novel as I was just so charmed by it and any book that keeps me up until 3am reading deserves to be recommended! I enjoyed this book so much I’m planning on buying a physical copy when it comes out so I can force my friends to read it.