Tuesday, 11 February 2020
Cons: limited tension
The world believes that 10 years ago Zahra’s father killed everyone aboard the House of Wisdom spaceship using an old virus. Zahra now belongs to a wasteland ‘family’ that plans to hijack the ship and use it as a new home, escaping the reach of the United Councils of Earth. To access the ship Zahra and a small group kidnap the only surviving member of the House of Wisdom massacre, Jaswinder Bhattacharya. But the Councils were wrong about what happened on the ship and Zarah’s small infiltration group is about to learn the horrifying truth.
This is a very compelling read. I had a hard time putting it down and finished it in one day. This did have the unfortunate side effect that I didn’t really have time to fear for the characters’ lives or feel any emotional connection with any but the point of view characters. There was only limited tension built up before bad things happened.
The story is told from the alternating points of view of Zahra and Jaswinder, with occasional transmission logs in between giving information from the time of the original massacre. Both protagonists were in many ways broken people with tragic pasts and complicated presents. They were interesting to learn more about and easy to sympathize with.
The book occasionally had characters point out the racism and politics of their world, especially with the treatment of Jaswinder’s best friend, Baqir, who immigrated to the Councils but lost family members and an arm to a disease before their application was processed.
The mystery on the ship was handled well, with information being revealed at a satisfying rate.
It’s a great, quick read.