Genre: Sci-Fi Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Standalone CW: miscarriage
The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.
Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.
The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.
The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.
But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
I wasn’t particularly sure what to expect of this book. It’s a sci-fi that borders on the scarily realistic dystopia – a far more immediate The Handmaid’s Tale. It wouldn’t take much more than the current apathy to create GOLDILOCK’s world in twenty years.
What I got was an examination of trust and human nature bound up in a quest to save the human race from climate change and the creeping patriarchy. It was a slower paced book, but kept me engaged throughout the train ride home. It is really nicely written, and the non-linear timeline was easy to follow (the present day narrative is interspersed with scenes from Naomi’s past).
You can tell the research has been put in to make it as realistic as possible (*happy science student dance*). It’s a hard sci-fi for sure, but not one that’s overly aware of its cleverness or trying to impress you with the research. There’s not much in the way of advanced technology – in that regards, it’s very much like THE MARTIAN. What advanced tech there is is entirely based on currently theoretical technology, which is what makes it feel so realistic.
On a very vague aside (in an attempt to reduce spoilers), I loved their choice at Mars, because it fits my opinions on whether we should be looking to other worlds as a climate change solution. That was absolutely not the thing driving their decision, but it made me breathe out a little because so far I hadn’t particularly liked one of the reasons why they’d been going to space in the first place.
The story is framed by a prologue and an epilogue, which provide a different perspective to the story. If I’m being honest, I’d forgotten about the prologue by the time I hit the epilogue, and then felt like the epilogue undermined the story somewhat. It felt like one of those “and this is what happened to the characters after the story ended” moments.
Yes, there was one emotional thread tied up, but I do wonder if it would have been more powerful to end the book without the epilogue and leave it very uncertain about the consequences. The uncertainty of space and human nature was a big theme in the book, and it might have felt more satisfying that way.
Read my reviews of other books by Laura Lam:
With Elizabeth May: