This review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews
and can also be found there.
The shove you get when you first start reading this story is powerful and overwhelming, as it pushes you into a world of tragedy, heart-wrenching sadness and hope. It’s impossible to imagine the loneliness after the ultimate loss and the courage as well as determination to keep going. But all of it was implemented into this book; the emotional punches, shocking twists, cruelty as well as love.
Anderson was just a boy when the mining colony he’d lived at was destroyed. He was the sole survivor saved by his sister. Her act of courage was something not a lot of people could do, but while admirable, it condemned Anderson to years of loneliness, where he made his own holographic world and where he did his best to stay alive.
C.J. is introduced in the second third of the book. He is one of the men and women assigned to exploration of all the data Anderson had brought with him after ten years of traveling alone through space. Their connection was based on more than attraction from the first moment they’d met, but self-destruction that was bound to follow kept coming between them.
I wish I could say more about the plot without revealing spoilers because then I would rant and chatter for pages. Since that it not the case, I am limited to wrapped up words and unclear statements. Bear with me people, because I will do my best to write this in a way it makes sense.
The first third of the book was told from Anderson’s perspective. There was a lot less telling and characters felt very real despite most of them being holograms. They all had a personality and a unique voice that was certainly heard, but the loudest of those voices was Anderson’s. I could hear his pain, his hopes as well as his despair. All of it was touched with his brilliance and I couldn’t help it but admire him. That first third was exactly what I want as well as need in a brilliant book. It was easily perfect.
The second third of the book was told from C.J. point of view. That is about the time things started to fall apart for me. C.J. was a character without strong characteristics, and even if you asked me now to tell you something about him, I wouldn’t be able to. He is a character easily disregarded and while you can feel for him you are probably more likely to simply forget him. Now comes the issue; most of the book from that point on is told and not shown, and it is told as C.J. saw it.
But I can’t really blame him for being annoyed with the rest of the book. The twist which happened after Anderson finally docked and started talking to other people other than his holograms ruined the wonderful base I had in my head for this book. I am truly sorry, but I couldn’t accept the way the focus was misdirected from Anderson’s accomplishments and his wonderful mind to that something else which would be spoilers if I said it. A lot of it wasn’t logical to me, it ruined some wonderful characters and killed strong voices, because no one in this book was stronger than Anderson.
By the time second third is done, I didn’t even know who Anderson was. His personality was completely changed and his powerful first impression started to fade. The romantic relationship between him and C.J. is at its beginning, but everyone around them is predicting grim future and a lot of heartache. Those conversations and situations mostly just annoyed me. I felt as if the story was constantly held down and C.J.’s inappropriate sexual fantasies didn’t help matters.
The last part is where everything has to fall apart so that it could be rebuilt. You will find most of the telling in the last hundred pages. For me they were somewhat frustrating, but by that point I simply wanted the book to end. The romance is never truly developed to its full potential and all the characters who seemed like someone strong faded away.
So I would describe this book as an exceptional idea taking a wrong turn and failing. That is how I saw it despite the efforts I’d invested to like the book as it was. I still love most of the writing, admire the idea, but mostly I’m just disappointed because everything I’d wanted from this book I didn’t get.
I can’t say my expectations weren’t too high or that I’m not too critical because once you get invested in this book, there is no turning back. It is truly a journey you will either like or have issues with, but it is a journey you should take.