When Jo steps onto Tau Ceti E, it should be the happiest moment of her life. After all, she’s been training for as long as she can remember to be a cadet pilot in the International Space Agency. She’s dreamed of the day she and her family would leave Earth forever and begin life as pioneers on a new planet.
But now she can’t stop thinking of everything that has gone wrong on their mission: the terrible accident that nearly destroyed their craft, that set their voyage back years, that killed her brother, that left her unable to fly…
As Jo struggles to live with her grief and figure out who she’s going to be now, she falls in love with her new world. It isn’t hard. Jo’s team is camped out by a pristine, tumbling river at the base of a mountain range that looks like huge prisms buried in the prairie. The soring crystal peaks transform every sunset into rainbows full of colors human eyes have never seen before. And that’s just the beginning. Tau offers Jo and her family a lifetime of beauty and adventure.
Jo throws herself into helping her team, lead by her commander mother, establish their community on this amazing new world. But just when she starts to feel like her old self again, she uncovers a devastating secret her mother has been keeping from her people. A secret that could destroy her family’s pioneering dreams…if they survive that long.
With the fate of the pioneers in her hands, Jo must decide how far she’s willing to go to expose the truth — before the truth destroys them all.
I grew up in Berkeley, California in a house filled with books. I started telling stories before I could read, so my mother took dictation until I learned how to turn the words in my head into words on a page. She knew I was going to be a writer when I grew up, but it took me a while to catch up.
THE PIONEER is about a young woman struggling to deal with the loss of her beloved big brother while her family fights to survive on a brand new planet. It will be published by HarperTeen in March of 2019.
These days, I live in Oregon with my husband, a Robotics professor at Oregon State University, and my daughter, a toddler who loves to sing.
When you requested a book because you were sure it was a standalone but apparently it isn't : a story of me.
Most little kids drew their families standing in front of a house. I didn't. My family portraits featured five crayon stick figures labeled Mom, Dad, Beth, Teddy, and Joanna, holding hands in front of a wobbly spaceship on a different world.
Okay, that gripe aside, THE PIONEER was so much more than I remember the synopsis teasing me with. This is a big time space adventure with lots of space things and I'm not telling you anything about it. Nope. I feel like so much is a spoiler and, having just reread the summary, I'm not even going to hint at more.
That being said, I didn't love this but I did enjoy it for the most part. I did catch on to one or two of the hooks, and I'm super glad I was right (but not completely), and my mind is twisted up over what is to come in the sequel. I'm definitely reading on.
Vague review is vague. Not sorry.
** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
When Jo steps onto Tau Ceti E with her family to live life as a pioneer, it should be the happiest moment of her life. But so much has gone wrong to get them here... and now they are short one person... her beloved brother. And to make it even harder she can't be the pilot she was meant to be. As she throws herself into helping her team establish their community she falls for this amazing new world. That is threatened by a secret that could destroy her family’s pioneering dreams…if they survive that long.
The short review...
I unexpectedly LOVED and ADORED The Pioneer! It's not that I expected to dislike it but I wasn't really sure what to expect from the blurb and I wondered from the prologue if it wasn't a little too heavy handed. Once we hit the planet though POW! We were off and it was so darn fun and exciting.
Jo has this great balance between wanting to be a great pioneer and being a little bit rebellious without it being in your face teenage angst. You WANTED to follow her and find out what she learns... you totally get what her love interest sees in her because you see it too.
And really the plot didn't let up until we got to that end! That perfect end!! Really I couldn't help but just sit and finish it once I closed on the half way mark... I was just so enthralled by the secret revealed and wanting to learn more. Really its quite a dilemma that these pioneers find themselves in... It's this really great use of a dystopian society yet its not playing out on earth! Arrogant earthlings get their comeuppance for sure...
Cover & Title grade -> A-
I don't hate this cover even though it isn't what I would typically applaud and actually I find I quite like it. It has a vague world in the lower right corner and this psychedelic color scheme that works to give you a sense of space travel and the character Jo. It actually gives you more of the atmosphere of the planet and their situation rather than any concrete idea of what anything looks like. Still in lieu of a fabulous vector drawing of the surface of the planet and the plant life I will take it!
Why is The Pioneer so fabulous that you will be waiting in anticipation for book #2?
-Tau Ceti E! The world is so neat... I felt like it genuinely was an oxygen rich world that developed differently from earth. So it was at once alien and yet livable for the pioneers. There are things that only the commander knows about the world and that comes back to bit the pioneers you know where!
-The Tech! I loved all the little details of tech that not only made the futuristic time setting feel real, but which also supported the different plot points so well. Being pioneers means having a lot of needs and these are taken care of in a believable way, letting us focus on the mystery and exploration!
-The Watson Family and company! We have this lovely core family which Jo is a part of that centers the story of scientists whose work it is to find a new home for the people of earth. There are also the other families and kids Jo's age that worked with them to make this dream possible. They have their problems but you really rooted for them to find a solution.
-The Mystery! Right away we're thrust into this huge mystery for the pioneers... I don't want to give a whiff of what that mystery is but let me tell you its CREATIVE! DANGEROUS! MORALLY CHALLENGING! We get the entire gamut and to make it even more exciting twists... and deaths are all over the place...
-Jay Lim, the love interest! Actually any romance took a backseat to the pioneer problem and actually Jo had too much on her plate for much lovey dovey business... But there were this tiny little moments between Jay and Jo that I loved! And he's Korean!! (Of course, that's a plus!) I look forward to his moments to shine.
As a Writer...
I really enjoyed how tight the setup of The Pioneer was... sure it was telling but we got what we needed to know and we get to the meat of what makes this story so incredible and consuming... The mystery!
There were a couple moments with the characters that I went... uhhhh this... What?! These moments passed quickly (as they had to do mainly with one particular secondary character) but they kept the book from being absolutely perfect to my mind.
I do wonder how this "mystery" situation that we find ourselves in The Pioneer will evolve in book #2... The mysteries have all been revealed and now we will be getting down to the politics and the colonization aspect of the situation. Will we like it as much? How will Jo play a major part? Will the pioneers become the villains?!
The Pioneer is a magnificent space mystery that takes the dystopian genre and turns it totally on its head. I really liked how the little details, the elements come together so seamlessly with the plot and world building. It's a really exciting read with characters you root for and plot that keeps you running so you can see what happens next... The same will hopefully be true in the sequel too... I can't wait!!
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.
______________________ You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
Space-Opera kind of books have always been my favorite, which unfortunately means that I have read so many of them that I often don't find them satisfying anymore. This was not the case with The Pioneer. I kept on turning the pages and wanting to know more about this curious new world of Tau Ceti e. The way Bridget describes it is so magical that you just can't help but just wanting to go there to experience all of the sensations that the new world is giving.
I also loved the fact how romance wasn't in the focus, but kind of developing in the background the whole time, subtly. Bridget allowed herself enough time to invest into worldbuilding that she managed to create a magnificent world that just pulls the reader in.
I always say that I wish more of the books were standalone as most of the series just drag on, but with the The Pioneer I really do wish there was a sequel.
I’ve been excited about The Pioneer ever since my first #Novel19s chat last year, and it sounded amazing and right up my alley.
And it totally was the type of book I would (and did) enjoy reading.
If you, like me, love Olivia A. Cole’s A Conspiracy of Stars (one of my favorites and only YA book I’ve read focusing on interplanetary colonialism), you’ll definitely like The Pioneer if you’re looking for something similar.
I love sci-fi (it’s my favorite genre) and The Pioneer did not fail to remind me why I enjoy this genre so much! Fast paced action combined with spicy relationships make sci-fi my favorite genre, and The Pioneer brought all the sci-fi and other planets, as well as more complex relationships than I was expecting.
One of my favorite parts about The Pioneer was how it examined grief under high-pressure situations. I was not expecting for a theme to be incorporated into the novel, but it made it a lot more complex and relatable and more interesting than I hoped for.
Joanna has to deal with the loss of her brother early on in the book (this isn’t a spoiler, this is like chapters 1 & 2) and it really sets the stage for Joanna’s emotional state as she progresses through the book.
Now Joanna has more challenges to face–repairing relationships that fell into disarray as she grieved, from friendships to family to almost siblings. All while dealing with a new planet.
This was ultimately my favorite part: getting to read a book where the character was set up to struggle through those dynamics and really work to repair her relationships.
And I think Tyler did a good job of mostly wrapping things up, although that’s obviously harder to do when you have an actual plot going on too, so sometimes the closures (for this book at least) felt a bit underwhelming as just one conversation.
In terms of the actual plot, it was good–pretry standard, and I frankly wish more suspense was tied in. Although I got vibes that things were good/bad, I kind of wished the world building was more immersive because I didn’t feel absorbed in it.
The planet sounds awesome and amazing, but I was a little disappointed that I didn’t feel plunged into another world.
But I did think Tyler did a good job with the colonialism, although that’s also something I wished we got a teensy bit more examination in.
What ultimately made me give this a 3.5 instead of something higher, besides the reasons I mentioned already, was the romance.
I mean, sure? I guess it was okay? I just didn’t think we needed that. It didn’t add anything to the story. I felt no chemistry and didn’t click with it. I just think that The Pioneer is an example of a book that would have benefited from the time spent on the romance being put elsewhere, like . . .
Adding more depth in the aforementioned places, to give the book that extra oomph that would have shot it into 4/5 range, for me.
Overall, The Pioneer was a good, solid debut (with a cliffhanger ending ) that used a premise I was very interested in and executed it in a unique way through its incorporation of grief.
I would recommend to people who either like A Conspiracy of Stars or are excited by the premise and enjoy space fiction!
*geeks* *geeks again* *geeks for another six years*
WORLDBUILDING like I’ve never experienced it before. I loved just about everything about it. The author did an amazing job rooting it in concepts that exist on our planet yet somehow making it entirely its own thing. Like, crystal mountains. Twin moons. Carnivorous trees. This is a major spoiler to the plotline, but
I was also geeking over the tech quite a lot. ;) The harnesses, the 3d printers, even that guilting Panda AI, were fantastic. And apparently, a lot of that stuff is up to date and pretty accurate, according to my space interested brother. :D So that’s even cooler. I like what they named their space ships and shuttles too.
The characters were interesting. Not the most well-developed I’ve read, but I liked the sibling dynamics and the themes of healing and forgiveness. Also, since there’s a sequel, I’d like to declare right now--I’m not ready to lose any more of them.
I did guess nearly every plot twist there was, though that may just be because I’ve read/watched a lot of sci-fi. It was still very satisfying to see it all unfold though.
Unfortunately, there was a lot of language throughout, including a couple blasphemies, the ‘d’ word, some very personal words, and some redactions. There were also some descriptions that were a bit too violent for my taste :( Just a note, there were some evolutionary and environmentalist ideologies presented. There were also a couple lesbian side characters that had a brief cameo and some teenage romance including brief, descriptive kissing.
Best quote: Leela rolls her eyes. “It was a rhetorical question, Captain Obvious.” Miguel grins, “Doctor Obvious. Technically speaking.”
“This is the third time I’ve thought you were dead in the last week, Joanna,” she says. “Don’t do it again. Please. It’s very distracting.”
Altogether...worldbuilding. Do it this creatively and fantasticly, everyone.
I love adventures in space! And I like new planets and such! Especially because this one kind of reminded me of... actually I won't say, for fear of spoiling stuff (for that, not this). But suffice it to say, good stuff! Anyway, some things were hit or miss, but overall I'd definitely say more hit!
The Things I Liked:
•New planet! I mean, I guess we ruined the old one, no surprise there, so the folks on Earth have to go find new places to destroy inhabit. Jo and the others getting to discover all the new aspects of the place is so fun. Obviously there is good and bad to explore, and perhaps a few uhhh surprises that you'll have to read to find out about.
•Huge focus on family. From the very first page, it's clear to see what a tight-knit group this family is. They have been through a lot together, and it's taken its toll, but they still care so deeply about one another.
•There's adventure and action! As you can imagine, it's just all just a quiet planetary exploration. Stuff happens. You know, spoilery stuff. Sorry, not sorry, I shall tell you no more, but I promise it's not just plant identification and gazing at the moons or whatever.
•But also, there is some planet identification and gazing at stuff? I mean, would you not want there to be? It's a new planet for goodness sake, we want to explore!!!
The Things I Didn't:
•I felt a bit of a disconnect with the characters. I just didn't have any kind of overwhelming feelings for anyone? Not even Jo, the main character. I mean she was fine, don't get me wrong. They all were fine. I just didn't emotionally connect very much.
•Parts were a little... cheesy. At first, I thought it was super annoying when they'd say "Watsons do X" and "But Watsons never Y!" like do people actually speak like this? Please tell me no? But I chalked it up to a personal pet peeve. But some of the messages of the story to me felt delivered in a little bit of an obvious way that made me feel a wee bit eye-rolly.
•Some of the stuff was predictable. Not everything! But some things I called way ahead of time. Again, my mouth (fingers?) is shut due to spoilers but... yeah. Not a dealbreaker-level of predictable, just a minor annoyance.
Adventure time on a new planet is always fun! While I'd have liked more character connection and shock, it was definitely an enjoyable read.
Thank you so much Bridget for sending me an ARC to review in exchange for an honest review!
I've been interested in The Pioneer since the moment I read the synopsis and saw the cover when HarperTeen had revealed their winter 2019 books. I'm a sucker for anything space exploration and having to do with aliens. The Pioneer was right up my alley. The Pioneer was brilliant and different, Tyler created a planet and alien species that came alive right in front of me.
Earth is dying and their only hope is a the planet Tau Ceti E that is light years away. The Watson family has sacrificed a lot in the journey to make this beautiful planet their new home. After a horrible accident that left Jo horribly injured, her brother Teddy dead and their ship nearly destroyed and the trip to Tau pushed off several more years. Jo can't help but think of everything that has gone wrong. But it's a dream come true when they finally touch down on Tau and begin building a new life for themselves along with the rest of the E&P team. But shortly after arriving Jo uncovers secrets that have been hidden by the ISA (International Space Agency) and her own mother, the commander of this mission. Full of adventure, a swoon worthy romance and nonstop action The Pioneer swept me off my feet from the very first page.
I really enjoyed Jo's character. In the prologue she is still a cadet and living her dream of being the pilot that would bring the ship down to Tau. But within those few pages we see that ripped away from her. After the accident that killed her brother, Jo suffered damage to her heart requiring the assistance of little nanites to keep her alive. Her dream of flying was gone, the change in altitudes would cause her to pass out. We see Jo go through the aftermath of that to finding ways to be helpful on the settlement since now she is just considered a civilian.
Tyler's world building was amazing. Tau Ceti E came a live right in front of my eyes. The vibrant vegetation, the overall development of the land and technology, I had a clear image of this planet and its wild life. I knew this book was going to include aliens, but imagine my surprise when there were two alien species living on Tau (well, they belong there. So, that would make humans the aliens.) Bringing the two alien species to life with their differences, their ways of communicating and appearances as well as both being intelligent species was amazing. In YA we often read books where aliens are invading earth, but this is a book with humans are invading another planet. It brought a lot of things into question for Jo and the rest of the gang.
I loved the romance aspect in this book. I am a sucker for swoon worthy boys with smooth lines and that is exactly what Tyler included in The Pioneer. I am really excited to see more of Jay in the next novel and where his and Jo's new relationship is going to go.
Overall I really loved The Pioneer and I can't wait to see what Tyler has in store for us all next. Also, this just may be me but I would love to see The Pioneer as a movie, I think it would be amazing!
This was a really fine young adult, science fiction. Well written, with an interesting protagonist who I thoroughly enjoyed reading about, good secondary characters and a fascinating plot.
Jo Watson, our protagonist, at the start of the book is on the verge of the most exciting time of her life. In her mid teens, she is a pilot cadet on a Exploration and Pioneering Team that are about to head out to a surveyed planet to settle. Not only is Jo part of all this but so is her whole family and she has grown up in the project with her parents, brother and sister. She loves piloting and looks forward to her part in the project as a pilot. Then tragedy strikes and when we catch up with Jo a few years later she is still on the team, but as a civilian rather than a pilot - and her brother is not with them.
I really enjoyed the construction of the plot as the EPT arrive at Tau Ceti e and start to establish a base camp, it is exciting, well written and absorbing. This was a book I did not much want to put down while I was reading it.
The other theme is Jo, who is mourning, lost and detached from her family and previous friends, she is a very relatable character and as she finds her place on the planet, she has plenty of room for character development which I LOVED ; too often in YA the character development is ignored.
The world itself is beautiful, intoxicating but contains totally unexpected dangers that were never in the original reports from the ranger team- or were they? When Jo and her friends stumble upon evidence that the Rangers never left the planet secrets of Tau Centi e start to unravel, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat (this reader, at least). And then the big secret
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. I almost feel a bit reluctant to read the next one as this is such a perfect story in it's own right.
It seems that I was so invested in this story because it looks promising and appealing. A 100 meets Alien: Covenant vibe. Who wouldn't want a science exploration to a new planet?
Honestly, that prologue was a total bomber because it hooked me from the start. It is like The Martian in the prologue and I told myself to invest in this story.
Jo with his parents and friends were the next in line to inhabit the new planet called Tau Ceti E. The crew boarded the ship called Pioneer and their job was to expand human life in the planet before all humanity resides at Tau Ceti E. But this got messy when they saw the ship of the first exploration, Vulcan and its crew are missing without any prior information that the ISA informed the Pioneer crew of what they will face at Tau Ceti E. It is in Jo and her crew's hands on how will they save the whole humanity with the invading life forms at Tau Ceti E.
Okay, I love sci-fi stories about humans inhabiting a new planet with some disturbing life forms but Pioneer lacks this continuity of exhilarating moments throughout the book. As the story goes on, the Pioneer faced the race of Sorrow. To tell you honestly, their first "alien" enemy (the invisible ones) in the story was somewhat interesting than this bland alien race who performed boring rituals and who follows a problematic leader.
No doubt that the story fast-paced but too fast actually. I am in a chapter where the crew was introduced with the race of Sorrow and their place then suddenly some leadership issues come. The what? I was just lost with the story.
The Pioneer crew doesn't have these moments of them nourishing and exploring the Tau Ceti E then the aliens come. I said earlier that the first "alien" they encountered are way interesting than the Sorrows because first, they are invisible and stronger than the Sorrows. But there is this part in the book when the Pioneer crew tried to communicate with these beings using a system of language or sign language. Oh, wait minute. Have your heard Arrival or Stories of Your Life and Others?
The story was just okay. 40% of the book was uninteresting and quite boring. But that cliffhanger at the end, if you liked the book, it was a huge motivation to read the next sequel.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Pioneer starts off right in the middle of the action, firmly telling us readers that in space, the consequences are so much higher. Dealing with her grief, but also her change in status, everything has changed for Jo. But it doesn't matter now that they're on their new home, right? But soon Jo figures out that there are secrets being hidden from them, secrets that could destroy their new glittering planet, and deadly secrets that others may die to protect.
3.5 stars boosted because of the way cultural/species sensitivity issues handled
The Pioneer is a science fiction novel aimed at young adults/teens. It sort of loosely falls into the space opera genre owing to its taking place in another solar system, its spirit of adventure (pioneering!) and light melodrama aspects. It's not tech-heavy sci-fi. There's a bit of handwaving about the way travel from earth to Tau Ceti e is accomplished, and the young pilots charged with shuttling people and cargo are all teens who got their PhDs and MDs at a very early age. (In that sense, The Pioneer is quite aspirational, viewing teens as intellectually capable of fulfilling important roles in pioneering in space.)
Jo Walton is a young woman who was a hotshot pilot until an accident in space robbed her of her brother, her health, and her pilot's health clearance. She's a civilian on her mother's expedition to Tau Ceti e but her natural curiosity leads her to discover some troubling facts about what was supposed to be a planet without sentient beings. Soon the Waltons, their team, and two different sentient races are embroiled in ethical conflicts about humans' right to colonize the planet.
I enjoyed this book but wasn't enamored of the cliffhanger ending and its implications. The potential for melodrama in the sequel seems high. But Tyler has offered young adults some important topics for thought on the issue of cultural interference and integrity and the moral role that space explorers are bound to play. Very much in the vein of Star Trek (Next Generation and Voyager, particularly). Overall, I enjoyed it and enjoyed the positive female and teen role models.
This would be an good book for summer reading for teens.
I received a Digital Review Copy from Harper Teen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this. That cliffhanger majorly sucked though. I used to get pissed about that, no I just roll my eyes. I am seriously side-eyeing this book.
That said, I loved the world-building to pieces, and I thought the pacing and storytelling were wonderful. The Pioneer definitely kept my attention what with the new planet, the apex, man-killing predators, the lies, the drama of new species coming in contact for the first time, etc.
I'd give it 5 stars because I really did love it but I can't help thinking the descriptions could have been better. I'm a very visual reader and things were just not described in enough detail for me. At one point, a teenager gets hurt and the protagonist thinks, "He doesn't look good." And that's all the description we get. So it's an issue of telling and not showing. And it's not that the author was trying to avoid graphic detail because in one scene somebody's entrails were spilling out, so it's just uneven. And then you have the planet itself and its supposed to be this vivid, colorful place, but I feel like there wasn't enough done in the writing to properly express that. That could be a debut author thing and she could get better at writing details as she publishes more books, and I look forward to that because this one showed a lot of promise.
Well, this took a lot of turns. It's a solid 'earth is doomed and humans have to populate other planets' sci-fi story, with decent but not great world building. I didn't really love it because there is a lot of death, it kind of bummed me out. It does end on a cliff hanger so I would probably read a sequel just out of curiosity but not because I loved this book.
To be honest, when I heard about this book, I had no idea what direction the book would go. But, I still decided to give it a try since I really enjoy sci-fi. Guess what, the book was amazing! This book is a fast-paced sci-fi book that will keep you hooked from start to finish.
The book starts right off with action. Jo meets an accident on a shuttle that causes her to lose her brother and leave her unable to fly. The book then continues with events taking place a few years later and Jo is just about to reach Tau. The rest of the book takes place in Tau.
Theme- Throughout the book, the characters are dealing with grief (the loss of Jo's brother). They are also trying to reform their relationships with each other that was affected after the accident happened. I particularly like the strong bond Jo has with her family
Setting- Tau is basically described as being "perfect". The setting is interesting and it is fun to see a different version of earth. I personally enjoy the different technology described in the book. But, I find that the book lacks description. I could not really envision Tau in my head and so, I was not as connected to the book when I was reading it.
Plot- It is filled with action and I just wanted to continue reading it. There is a lot of tiny details that really show the depth of the writer's thinking. There are also multiple "mini twists" throughout the story, some that I really did not expect, some that I found quite obvious. Something I also like is that there are no unnecessary parts and we just get straight into the action. However, like before, I find that there is a lack of details.
There is also a romance in the book, but it is in the sidelines, which I enjoy as we can focus on the main storyline of the book. But at this point of time the romance doesn't seem to have much use in helping the story move forward so I hope the writer will be able to use it in the sequel. (Yes there is going to be a sequel!!)
Characters- I find the characters realistic and likeable. They each have their own unique characteristics and their own moment to shine. They also make a lot of funny and relatable remarks.
"But procrastinating is so fun"
"The word you're looking for is thank you" "That's 2 words" "Touché"
Jo- I really enjoy Jo as a character! Jo's sadness and guilt (especially at the beginning of the book) is reasonable. With the loss of her brother, she tends to be protective. But I cannot really connect with her like how I can connect with other book characters which really sucks because I really enjoy her personality.
Ending- May I mention the cliffhanger ending? I am super excited to know what is coming next! Sadly, we will have to wait for a longg time for the sequel!
Overall, "The Pioneer" is a great book filled with non-stop action that will keep you guessing what happens next. But the lack of detail makes it harder to connect with the characters. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves sci-fi, mystery and dystopian.
I'll just start this review with the first word out of my mouth when I finished this book--"Wow!" Bridget Tyler has written one of my new favorites and most memorable books I've ever read. I honestly can't think of any cons to this book, with the exception that I need book 2 NOW, so you know I absolutely loved, loved my time inside these pages. Here are my favorites aspects of this novel:
1) The world-building: The fresh and 3D world of Tau Ceti e comes to life with flora and fauna and landscapes that took my breath away. The use of innovative and current technology flows and fits so well with the plot.
2) The characters: I loved Jo, her family, her friends, her fellow pioneers. Even the secondary characters "popped" off the page and became real.
3) The emotional, moral, and environmental issues: The characters struggled with huge consequences of their actions and the actions of others, and these were seamlessly incorporated into the action and never detracted from the plot or pulled me out of the world.
4) The twists/mystery: I LOVE when authors surprise me and Bridget gets a standing "O" for how well she paced this novel and threw delicious plot twists to keep me on the edge of my seat. I kept thinking, I can't stop--need to know now what happens next because I knew it wouldn't be what my brain was predicting. Only my commitment to maintain a healthy sleep schedule prevented me from finishing this faster.
5) The ending: I'm currently still on Tau Ceti e and need book 2. The ending suited this book and left off in the perfect place.
If you seek excellent characters, world-building, pacing, and so much more, I highly recommend this book. Bridget Tyler is an author to follow as she's already accomplished amazing things in The Pioneer.
Can we please give a massive round of applause to Bridget Tyler for not making the aliens in this book look like humans with slightly different features? AT LAST! Creatively made, fascinating aliens in YA sci-fi! WOOHOO!!!
I absolutely ADORED the design from the Sorrow. There was a clear, massive amount of thought put into them--everything from how they evolved, the hierarchy of their society, their physical characteristics, their rituals...everything was covered. Beyond that, the main Sorrow characters (mostly just Ord and Tarn) were both very likeable, but...okay, no spoilers, but for the former...erm...weeeeell, let’s just say that how you might think of him might just change drastically. I’ll leave it at that. Beyond that, the flora and fauna of Tau Ceti E was absolutely STUNNING. There was so much attention to detail for every living thing on the planet, and I immensely enjoyed immersing myself into the rich, intricate world. The writing was a marvelous combination of lavish prose and gripping, holding-onto-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. Although I didn’t quite get attached to any of the characters (partially why “The Pioneer” didn’t *quite* garner a five-star rating from yours truly), the writing still managed to make me care for them, on some level. I...well, I sort of liked all of the characters. Most of the protagonists seemed to me to be a little like clones of one another, and the ones that weren’t/had some quirks of their own either a) got on my nerves or b) got killed off. A shame, really; however, that was the only real low point for me throughout this entire book. Lastly (I’ll try to get my point across without spoiling anything, because for a book as incredible as this, I’d hate to ruin the surprise), THAT ENDING. I loved the deception that the resolution seemed to be nice and wrapped up, but all hopes of a peaceful, workable solution (for the humans) was quickly shattered with a few sentences, leaving us on an absolute WHOPPER of a cliffhanger. WHOOOOOOWEE, THAT CLIFFHANGER... And here I was thinking that this book was a STANDALONE...noooope, not gonna happen with an ending like THAT... And honestly, I’m happy for it. We could all use a little more of Tyler’s unique, creative brand of sci-fi. All in all, a nearly flawless book that I enjoyed tremendously. :)
Sometimes I get in a mood for a certain type of book, and at the moment when I read The Pioneer it was exactly what I was looking for. I had just finished reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson and was blown away by how much I loved it and was in a space odyssey type of mood. So when I was given the opportunity to read The Pioneer I jumped all over it. This book was so different from other scifi books that I've read recently. In most others, they follow the story line of life on some sort of giant space craft, or in a colony already built, but never have I read a book where you follow the story of humans as they actually find a planet that can sustain life and all the complications that come along with starting over on a new planet. And what happens if there is life already on that planet and us humans are the aliens? This was such a different take on the whole space genre than anything I've read before and because of that I thought it was great!
The Pioneer reads from the POV of Jo, a girl who has grown up on the spaceship called The Pioneer for most of her life. She has family on Earth but her parents run the program in search of a new planet that can sustain life since Earth has been corrupted beyond repair. When finally the planet Tau Ceti E is discovered, the mission to begin life elsewhere and continue the human species on a new planet takes priority and Jo finds that her life long dream to be the first humans on a new planet will soon be more than a dream. Even with everything that has happened to deter them from making it to Tau, she still hopes that things can right themselves with a bright future for humans to begin anew. As secrets reveal themselves, Jo starts to realize that things aren't as they seem, and her mother has been keeping things from her that could change everything they know about their new planet.
The setting to this book was actually really well done, I feel like most space odyssey books take place on one space ship and it starts to feel claustrophobic after a while. That's not at all the case here. Here we get to learn a whole new planet, Tau Ceti E. Where there are plants that eat meat, prism like mountain ranges, flowing rivers, and so much to learn and explore. The imagery of the sun setting and casting a rainbow of light like the northern lights was a big selling point for me. Count me in, I'd love to visit this beautiful sounding planet, and I'm usually against space travel myself! I loved the feeling of getting to experience a new planet along with the characters in the book. The mystery of newness everywhere and the opportunities to explore and discover something that has never been seen before. It was all so exciting to read about even if it was fiction, it still felt very realistic in a sense that maybe this is what finding another world would be like.
I found myself reading through this book pretty quickly wanting to know what secret would be uncovered next, or what would pop up at every turn. There was so much to find out that it was hard not to fall right into the plot and get swept away to another planet along with the crew of The Pioneer. I loved that they had the 3D printers to build pretty much everything that they would need on their new planet, down to every dish and wall and window. I can see that being the future of space adventure, less to have to transport with us if we ever did find a planet that could provide us with a new home to run to. Not only was the plan realistic, but the issues that pop up throughout the book seemed completely plausible. There are bound to be problems no matter how many minute details you try to work out ahead of time, things will inevitable change or something will happen that causes the plan to need a little rethinking.
While some of the characters unfortunately fell a little flat to me, the main character and her closer friends were easy to imagine and I felt a connection with their little crew. I wanted for things to work out for them and to find a way to live peacefully on this strange planet without losing any of the already limited amount of human life that they arrived with. Jo was especially interesting to see go through all the stages of grief and anger and then resolving into forgiveness and remorse as she worked through all of the unfortunate incidents that kept her from being able to fly, knowing that she only worked towards being a pilot her whole life you can imagine the disappointment in not being able to physically bring the first ship to land on their new planet because of something that is completely out of her control. I would have the same amount of resentment and jealousy that she experienced had I been in the same situation. I felt like Jo was an easy main character to relate to, given that I've never been in any of the same situations. Her character development is fun to follow as the story progresses, she becomes someone that you want to stand behind and root for.
I'm eager to find out what happens next after the ending pretty much blew my mind. I'll be waiting to read the next installment when it is published! This was a fun adventure and I highly recommend it to all of those who want something a little different in their Sci-fi adventure. This was unique and at the same time familiar. I think that this book might even be interesting for non sci-fi fans because it doesn't all take place in a space ship and so much happens once they venture out onto this new planet. You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was!
Ugh, my sci fi loving heart is heavy. I was really ready to go gaga over this book during the first chapter, but my admiration for the technology and space opera themes dwindled the more I read. The action scenes were badass, I'll admit it. Those earned this book those 2 stars because they were gory, gross, and effectively gave some "risk" to the characters. A common mistake in YA is the authors seem to make it too easy for the characters to survive because they are just that strong, or that talented, or that attractive. YA books just seem to make the chance of survival too great, and it's not that I want my favorite characters to die, but I do want there to be some sort of suspense. The Pioneer made me fear for the characters' lives, so on that regard, Tyler won. The risk would have been better though if I actually cared for the characters. The main character was flat, and replicated every other YA heroine I've read about. I'm all for female empowerment. Strong female characters kicking butt is one of my favorite parts about being a YA reader, but this one didn't take it anywhere special. I don't even remember the main character's name because of how undistinguishable she was. The author seemed to rely too much on the worldbuilding to drive the plot, that the characters were underdeveloped and lacked true flavor. It could have been a forgiveable mistake if the story wasn't so focused on, "will these characters survive this new planet?" I also found the dialogue to be very choppy, especially when it came to swearing, or the lack of it. I'm not saying that I want my books to be laced with swearing on every page, but if someone is on the brink of death and says, "crap", I don't find that to be very realistic. If the main character wasn't scared of fighting a killer alien species, I don't think she'd be terrified to say a couple swears in front of someone. Either go for the swear, or don't say words like, "crap" or ," darnit". Those insertions just made the writing seem very juvenile. Overall though, the worldbuilding was flawless. The atmosphere was handsdown the best aspect of this book. I was fascinated by the new planet, and loved learning about the extraterrestrial life and dangers held within it. I was never confused when it came to the world, and that gives this series a lot of promise. Characters are difficult to master, but worldbuilding is even more difficult to write. It wasn't info dumpy, so yay Bridget. I can't give this book a high rating because I didn't particularly enjoy it, but I can weigh the pros and cons and acknowledge that there were some places that The Pioneer really shined, but also a lot of places it didn't. I'd recommend this to readers who love space operas, but who aren't fans of character driven stories, because those are typically more my speed.
I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of Bridget Tyler's The Pioneer and it was a delight from start to finish.
There were a lot of reasons I loved this book. First of all, because it took me back. All the way back to when I wanted to be an astronaut and see the stars and walk on new worlds. Tyler captures that wonder and fills you up with it. It's too rare to experience a book that delights in sheer wonder, much less one that can pull it off without feeling sappy or indulgent. This book does. Joanna's love of flying, of being a pioneer, of exploring are infectious. But her no-nonsense approach everything life throws at her--and it throws a lot at her--keeps the book grounded.
Specifically, her new planet throws a lot at her. Of alien planets I've seen in fiction before, some are scary, some are otherworldly, some are beautiful, and some are tragic. Tau Ceti e is all of these. I fell completely in love with it. And I loved watching Joanna and her friends fall in love with it too, even as they experienced danger, loss, and grief at its hands. On Tau Ceti e they struggle to survive, they fall in love, they laugh, they mourn, they grow. There is just so much life in this book.
The pacing is like a well-oiled machine. You know that satisfying moment when the set up begins to pay off, and you're not just glued to your seat but appreciating how perfectly put together each piece of the puzzle has been to get you to this point? That's how I felt for the end of this book. Tyler knows how to set up a story, how to tell it, how to finish it. I was reaching for metaphorical popcorn for the entirety of the explosive finale.
And then there were just so many details that made The Pioneer feel fresh and smart. The use of technology is unnusually innovative, current, and prescient. The problems of colonialization, species preservation, and differences between authoritarian and liberal cultures are explored with nuance and compassion. It's the first book I think I've ever seen referencing not just gay parents but gay grandparents. There's an Asian male love interest. Even the gender roles are subtley reversed, with Joanna's strong, loving family, and the pioneer team they're a part of, helmed by her mother rather than her father. It is refreshing to watch someone question the morality of their parent as a leader--such a common theme in father-son stories--shifted to a mother-daughter relationship. It works well.
The Pioneer is a heartfelt, fast-paced, smart space romp, and it left me feeling good after reading it. I wish there were more books out there like this. Keep an eye out for it, folks.
This excellent space adventure introduces readers to Joanna Watson. Jo has been training to be a pioneer for all of her life. Her parents are involved in the program to resettle on a newly discovered planet as are her sister and brother. Jo is a cadet pilot when the story begins. Of course the story also begins with a near tragedy on their spaceship which results in the death of her brother Teddy and enough damage to Jo's heart and lungs that she can never be a pilot again.
Jo has to readjust her plans when she can no longer do the job she has trained for. She is still excited about the beauty of their new home on Tau Ceti e. She's fascinated with the flora and fauna. But things are not as Jo believed them to be. According to their charter, they are not supposed to settle on a planet that already has sentient life.
When Jo goes off exploring with her sister Beth, young Marine Jay Lim, and Chris, she doesn't expect to find the remainders of the first group to explore the planet. She believed, and was told, that they were off exploring further after okaying the planet for settlement.
Finding a flex (wrist computer) left by the first explorers, Jo is determined to explore it to find out what happened to them. Following the clues lead to a clearing with three graves, leaving questions only about what happened to Dr. Lucille Brown. While at the gravesite, they are attacked by heavily camouflaged predators and rescued by another group of aliens.
Dr. Brown was also rescued by the same group and has sworn allegiance to the leader of these underground dwellers who use sound and echolocation to navigate their dark underground world. The leader Ord has a plan. Dr. Brown knows that Jo's sister Beth has developed a genetically tailored bacteria to make the planet more ready for earth-based plants. What none of the new arrivals knows is that the Stage Three bacteria will kill the phytoraptors who are the enemy of Ord and his people. Of course, then it will likely go on and kill the trees Ord's people depend on but Ord won't see that part.
Jo has to prevent the Stage Three bacteria from getting into Ord's hands, save the phytoraptors, and save her fellow pioneers. She doesn't know why her mother agreed to carry on with the settlement when she must have known about the intelligent life already on the planet. There's a reason that changes everything.
This was exciting and filled with action. It even has a little romance. It also has a lot of growing up for Jo and her friends. I enjoyed it very much.