Daros by Dave Dobson

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I got a free audible credit for this and I was super stoked. There aren’t a ton of audios in the finals for SPSFC which is kind of surprising, and this one literally just came out. I had put this high on my priority list because the review mentioned it was a comedy and as anyone who follows my reviews would know — that’s my jam.

I liked this pretty much from the start. It’s silly but not so over the top that it’s “too much” which is such a hard tightrope to walk. I could also tell early on that it wasn’t just fun and games, there was a more substantial plot going on with both POVs. It wasn’t just absurd nonsense which sometimes happens when comedy leans into itself too hard.

We get two main POVs, and usually I’m wary of a 16 year old protagonist, but this girl is smart, capable, and mature for her age. This is also difficult to do without making it feel like you’re reading an adult POV who just happens to be “16”, if that makes sense. She’s on a mission with her dad, it’s supposed to be relatively benign, nothing too risky, but just adventurous enough to be exciting. He has something expensive to sell and he’s on his away there when shit goes wrong and she finds herself stranded alone on a planet called Daros after a ship wreck. It’s possible her father and companions from the ship are alive, but they’ve been captured by an unknown force and now she has to figure shit out on her own.

Things get more complicated (and more fun) when she gets an AI ship that’s full of attitude. I’ll say yet again, the snark from this ship is such a fine line to walk between being funny and being too much. This author knows just how to land these jokes, with the right tone, and the narrator just knocks it out of the park. Seriously. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I’ve read a lot of comedy and this one is worth picking up if this review sounds at all to your taste.

Okay, so the other POV is fascinating, she caught my attention right away. She’s an alien aboard a collective hive type ship. I’m honestly not sure entirely what she looks like because I have difficulties with visualizing things I haven’t seen before. She’s bug like, she lives on a crew with a strict hierarchy where everyone has their place and their purpose. To step outside of rules of structure and rules of society means death. All of them are born with their purpose and collective knowledge from the moment they come out of the egg, each of them is instilled with the knowledge of their classification — captain, navigator, communications, security etc. They are essentially adults from the start but they can be “culled” within minutes of being born, leading to sort of a chaotic atmosphere aboard the ship. They all broadcast emotions to each other constantly, creating a harmonious vibe between everyone, it’s really, really interesting.

She’s not the only alien, nor are they even close to the only alien species. Non-human species everywhere, and some of them feel “alien” and not human’s in alien pants, if that makes sense. It’s really nicely done world building, it was all laid out organically without awkward info dumps.

All in all I really recommend this and hope it makes it through to the final-finals!!! BEST OF LUCK!


  • Plot: 12/15
  • Characters: 13.5/15
  • World Building: 13/15
  • Writing: 13/15
  • Pacing: 13/15
  • Originality: 12/15
  • Enjoyment: 8.5/10

Final score: 85/100 or 4.25/5 stars on goodreads

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