This came up on an spsfc discord chat and it was described as similar to the movie Event Horizon, and so naturally that caught my attention; the fact that it had an audiobook sealed the deal.
This story is fairly intimate and yet has large scale implications. Opal is on the run from the government because she’s stolen an artificial intelligence and has gone in search for Lost Ships. Specifically, the one her sister disappeared on and she’s desperate to get her back. According to the government, Lost Ships don’t exist… but according to rumor, not only do they exist, but they come back altered. They are stopping at nothing to stop her from finding out what really happens to these ships. By the end, she has to be a lone marine against many commandos.
This wasn’t quite as focused on the horror aspect of Event Horizon, it had more action sequences by comparison, but I enjoyed that. There are all sorts of dangers when exploring the ghost ship, there are alien like tech that’s been melded to the ship and there are booby traps everywhere. The whole storyline is creepy, tense, and on the darker side. I liked the idea that she was constantly having to hide her real purpose and motivations to her AI, it made their relationship pretty complicated.
The story goes quickly so there wasn’t a ton of time to get to know Opal, but since this was a single POV book with just a two person cast for the majority of it, there was still adequate time to develop Opal into a sympathetic character. It’s a very intimate atmosphere and setting, much like Andy Weir’s books like The Martian and Project Hail Mary. This can go really wrong for me if I don’t like the MC, but I did find myself sympathizing with Opal despite probably making different choices if I were in her place.
This would appeal to people who like scifi action movies, this book moves quickly and just gets crazier as the story moves forward. The prose is very accessible and fluid, there’s not a ton of time spent on hard science and the language is more utilitarian rather than flowery/poetic.
The audiobook was really well performed, I’ll definitely go back and find more audios performed by Marisha Tapera, she was a brand new audiobook performer to me.
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 11.5/15
- World Building: 11.5/15
- Writing: 12.5/15
- Pacing: 12.5/15
- Originality: 11.5/15
- Enjoyment: 8/10
Final Score: 78.5/100