★Winner of the Houston Writer's House Competition★
Nowhere to hide.
Mission Specialist Adán Fuentes awakes from cryo-hibernation to discover that most of his fellow crewmates are dead and the shuttle Carpathia is not where it’s supposed to be. Surrounded by a vast barren landscape, he and the other survivors wonder how they can accomplish their mission, to establish a home for future colonists.
When an unseen creature attacks them, the Carpathia’s crew must turn their attention to surviving and solving the true purpose behind their mission.
Inspired by the 50’s sci-fi flick FORBIDDEN PLANET, SAND AND SHADOW plumbs the depths of the human psyche and the power of its influence. As the Carpathia’s crew’s secrets and flaws are revealed, readers may find themselves compelled to examine their own dark places.
The best books are the ones that hook you from the very first page, and keep you glued to the pages (and your seat) until the last. SAND AND SHADOW by Laurisa White Reyes was that kind of book for me, and it also did what so many other books can’t do these days — scare the bananas out of me. Or maybe not *quite* that dramatic, but it certainly managed to give me quite a chill or two. The premise of this book is certainly something that’s a probability, maybe not in my lifetime, but certainly the near future — earth is dying, and when a fraction of the crew of Carpathia wakes from their cryogenic sleep, earth is already dead. The crew has found themselves on a foreign planet, a planet that was not their original destination, and much like you would expect of a mysterious relocation, things aren’t exactly smooth sailing. Oh, and the crew is also being hunted by a monster. Or monsters. Or…something mysterious and monstrous, because being lost in space isn’t scary enough. Fast-paced and oh-so-compelling, SAND AND SHADOW is part psychological thriller, part sci-fi environmental warning, and part survival tale that certainly gives readers a healthy dose of plausibility. Earth could end, or at least that’s what every day feels like with global warming, unending pandemics, wildfires aplenty, and crazy floods, and to throw space and an alien planet in on top of all that, this is a book that planted roots in my brain and left me psychologically stressed. I’m really glad I discovered this book through R&R Booktours, and it definitely won’t be the last one I read from this author. 4.5 stars.
*Many thanks to R&R Booktours and the author for providing a copy for review.
Sand and Shadow, a science fiction thriller by Laurisa White Reyes, is one of those books that when you start reading...you’re not going to want to put it down. Sand and Shadow takes readers deep into space on a quest for survival. Earth has been failing, and things are only getting worse as the temperatures continue to rise. The government makes a decision to seek out the best and brightest in the upcoming generations and to send them out in a last ditch effort to save humanity in some form under the guise of a mission to colonize Europa. What the explorers don’t know is...Europa is not the true destination...and there will be more danger than they could have possibly thought to expect. Sand and Shadow is the first book that I have read by Laurisa White Reyes, but it will not the be the last. I love a good science fiction novel and mix in some horror and you more than have my attention. This author expertly mixes together: horror, suspense, science fiction, a dash of romance, and the right amount of drama to invoke your emotions. This book is such a page-turner! The author takes a science ficiton novel idea and adds a twist...what would all of these events take on the human psyche? I mean, how could the government entities thought to include this into their anaylsis? Well, they’d have had to look at the finer details, but that’s exactly what this author does with this book. While you’re reading this book, you will find yourself connecting to these characters as you get flashback chapters to give you some more depth into each of the characters. Before you know it you’ll be hooked in wanting to know...what’s going to happen next? How will they overcome this situation? Where is the next big twist going to come from?? But the author doesn’t just give readers character chapters, but we get news articles and e-mails between government officials. You can tell that the author really put a lot of work into this book with the amount of detail that we are given. From the amount of time that it would take to get to the distant moon that they find themselves on, to the knowledge and tools that would be needed inorder to repair the shuttle itself. The author makes sure that readers get as much science and space depth as possible. There is some interesting technology as well that is introduced in this book that really creates a jaw-dropping twist that left my mind blown. Sand and Shadow is one of those books that even after you have finished reading it...pieces of it will stick with you long after. You’ll be left with some mindblowing questions concerning certain aspects of the story. I’m rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. The storyline engaged me from the very beginning and kept me pageturning to learn what happened next. The twists in this book, especially one big one, will absolutely shock you. If you enjoy science fiction thriller novels then you are not going to want to pass this one up.
Sand and Shadow is a science fiction/mystery with elements of a coming of age story. It delves into deep universal questions like mankind's purpose, the danger of religious fanaticism during a crisis, and how to ensure mankind's survival when your home planet faces a disastrously changing climate.
I had some contentions as I read along, but they were tempered by understanding that the main characters are essentially teenagers. Despite their specialized training, they're not seasoned astronauts, explorers, or even adults and can't always be expected to act according to those standards.
What we learn about their lives before joining the crew is revealed primarily through self-narrated flashbacks. These are useful for getting to know the characters and for deepening the mystery, but sometimes disconcerting when which crew member the chapter refers to is uncertain.
I marvelled at how all the characters initially felt safe when the more likely response would be to at least feel uneasy. Their lack of fear about leaving the shuttle to sleep outside on an unexplored planet with only a frame and fabric shelter to protect them was maddening. Their decisions and reactions to evident danger seemed so unlikely that I'd almost decided to close the book before finishing.
However, there was something to the story that intrigued me, despite it not being my usual fare. I had to find out what happened! That's an important feature of a book worth reading, even if I have problems with it.
An underlying Christian apocalypse theme added strong subtext to the story. Overt religiosity wouldn't likely be part of the government-supported mission, especially with awareness that extremist zealotry was threatening the entire effort, but the presence of religious beliefs would certainly surface among a few individuals when the end of humanity and personal survival are on the line.
I'm grateful to Laurisa White Reyes, Skyrocket Press, and BookSprout for the honor of reading an advanced readers' copy. I'm under no obligation to them to write this review. I believe that if you're a younger or less-demanding older adult fan of post-apocalyptic and horror-tinged sci-fi, you'll enjoy this book very much. It's a good story. If you aren't interested in softer, less technical science fiction, Sand and Shadow may not be your cup of tea..
4.5 stars I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
What makes Sand and Shadow by Laurisa White Reyes so spectacular is it capitalizes on the possibility and probability certain events in the story can happen.
Earth is dying. Leading experts are trying to buy us more time, but is it working? And if their efforts aren't working, would they tell us the truth? Would they disclose how close we are to the end of life on Earth?
See, I do believe it's probable NASA would be secretive in this knowledge. Humans would go bat-shit crazy if they knew we had so many years...weeks...days...or even hours left. The world would erupt in chaos.
In the story, life in space wasn't without major pitfalls. When the astronauts woke up from their cryogenic state, things did not go according to script. When you are exploring or starting over on a new planet, you have to expect the unexpected. The crew members had no way to predict or prepare for what attacked them or what would continually attack them.
Sand and Shadow kept me on the edge of my seat. I guessed wrong the whole time on what was happening. Quite a surprise ending I didn’t expect. I even cried a certain times as I grew attached to characters.
Sand and Shadow by author Laurisa White Reyes is an excellent Science Fiction thriller. 24 crew members aboard the colonization shuttle Carpathia began the journey to Jupiter’s moon Europa. 7 awake from their cryo sleep on a planet they should not be on. The mystery of how they got there and why fuels this expertly written adventure into humanities exploration of the unknown and the secrets surrounding what waits for them there. Taking the issues facing today’s Earth and masterfully weaving the threads into a narrative that features highly plausible science, and page turning thrills the story slowly creeps up on you with its incredible revelations making it a definitive stand alone in its genre. Excellent read and highly recommended!
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Don’t like science fiction? You’ll like this one! This dystopian thriller delves into climate change, and religious, political, scientific and ideologic extremism. Sand and Shadow is a quick read because you won’t be able to put it down.
I was asked to read an advanced copy of the book and provide some honest feedback. As an aerospace engineer and an avid reader of hard science fiction, I jumped at the chance to take a look at this book. What I discovered was both fun and a little maddening. There were a lot of familiar themes and tropes from the genre included in the book, including some plot points lifted from other sources (which is nigh to impossible to avoid, to be honest). The ending did seem a bit contrived ... humanity suddenly discovers this amazing new technology (with mixed results) RIGHT before the end of the world?! But, whatever, it's a story!
And that's what saved the book, to be honest. The characters were well-written, with meaningful back-stories presented in flashback that helped to explain their motivations. Despite questionable decision-making by the characters throughout, I found I could easily relate to them, cared about them, and rooted for them to NOT DIE. There were some excellent "visuals" and action scenes in the book that would be eye-candy on the big screen, both as a psychological thriller and as science fiction noir.
The book itself is easy reading and approachable even to young readers. My teenage son, who doesn't like reading much science fiction (who IS he?!) claimed it was one of his favorite books. While I wouldn't go that far (as I said, I've read a lot of science fiction ...), I do think it was a memorable read (which is hard to do) and anybody with even a passing interest in science fiction would enjoy it.
Wow, Reyes certainly knows how to grab your attention from the outset! I felt chills running down my spine and I couldn't stop turning pages. The descriptions are so vivid, it's almost like being trapped in the story yourself. If you're a fan of sci-fi and horror, you're going to love the blend that this book delivers. You'll both be on the edge of your seat and wondering just how far off this might be in our future, because let's be honest...this might not be too far off what awaits humanity.
This story does not mess around, it jumps straight to the mystery of only seven survivors(out of 24) awakening from cryo-sleep with no idea what had happened to the rest of their crew. The cast of characters in this novel were very diverse and made for some wonderful interactions amidst one another. Each character added their own unique element to the story as well as the planter they are supposed to inhabit. There was plenty of mystery surrounding the landing of the remining crew and something sinister seems to be at play here. I was hooked early on and really enjoyed this read. At the end of most chapters, we got and additional insight into the cast of characters and how things were for them proper to their mission. There was also various blog/newspaper articles that lead extra elements to the story. Giving us an idea how other thought of their mission. The reveal of the overall mystery of their planet and why they landed where they did was really wonderful and things only get better and more interesting from there with having new information available to the reader. Paranoia and fear increase as our remaining survivors are killed off by a seemingly strange creature; leaving the reader in the dark on just what exactly it is. The finale was quick and extremely tense, but ultimately resulted in a somewhat happy ending. Great for fans of sci-fi horror and thrillers. You can’t go wrong with this one!
If you’re a scifi/horror fan, stop what you’re doing a buy this book. It’s everything you could want in this genre and I am obsessed. Okay, now I’ll actually review. The mystery of what is happening and how the characters got to where they are was very compelling. I love the unknown because it created this sense of uncertainty that as a reader, I could feel with the characters. I liked the weaving of today’s issues on Earth into this story. It created a more realistic edge to this, which made it scarier. When a horror/thriller feels possible…that is some good writing! Page turning thrills and crazy twists, Sand and Shadow was an awesome read and one that I highly recommend! Thank you to R&R Book Tours for the review copy and the opportunity to honestly review this book on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.
The government sent 24 crew members aboard the Carpathia to Jupiter’s moon Europa for colonization.
Only seven survive the trip. Only seven crew members wake up from cryosleep.
Oh, and one more thing they are not on Europa.
They wake to a barren planet.
Everyone they have ever known back on Earth is dead!
They are attacked by a creature with claws.
They must pull themselves together long enough to make shelter and find a way to survive and a way to protect themselves from this monster.
I really enjoyed reading Sand and Shadow way more than I thought I would. It reminded me so much of TV shows like Alien, Lost in Space, Star Trek, and The 100. I could just see the inside of their spaceship in my head as if I was watching a movie. I could see them walking around in the halls of the ship. I could see each and every scene as I read it play out in my head as if I was there.
The suspense was so real it felt as if it was taking over my whole body as I raced to the end waiting and wondering what was going to happen next. I could not turn the pages fast enough, literally. It pulled me in from the beginning and I am still hanging on in awe of it all. So many twists and turns kept slapping me in the face I mean half the time I didn’t know which end was up so to speak.
I would love to see a sequel to Sand and Shadow. I would love to see more of these characters and their world.
I highly recommend Sand and Shadow to anyone who loves a good sci-fi novel. If this is you then I suggest you one-click your copy of Sand and Shadow today for an epic adventure in space!