Thanks to NetGalley and MacMillan Audio for the ARC. It hasn’t affected the contents of my review.
This was an enjoyable mystery/sci-fi/thriller set in space. It doesn’t do anything new to the genre (really of either mystery or sci-fi) but it is a good example of both kinds of stories, and it has likable characters you want to root for. It’s also pretty queer! Only people who have uteruses are allowed on the mission to colonize another planet, because space/fuel limitations mean not that many people can go, and they need everyone who does to be able to give birth while on board. It plays with ideas I’ve seen in sci-fi before, A.I. and perception, virtual reality, near-environmental collapse Earth, societal fractures that carry through to space, friendship, and sabotage.
I did think it was interesting that we were following Asuka, the mission’s only Alternate, who does odd jobs because she doesn’t have a specific purpose on the crew. We get flashbacks from her early life as well to give context to what’s going on in the ship in present day. I didn’t like them at first, but when it came time for her to go to the training academy to prepare for the mission, they started to really intrigue me. I also didn’t see the reveal of who tried to blow up the ship coming. Yume Kitasei did a good job throwing out so many red herrings and confusing things that it was a true surprise when the answer was revealed (though I’m sure readers who like to figure these things out ahead of time could have done so).
I will definitely read more from this author! The book was immensely readable (and the audio version was good) and I’m excited to see what she can do in future books.