Charles's Reviews > Line and Orbit

Line and Orbit by Sunny Moraine
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Feb 14, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2015-challenge, science-fiction, stat_1, reviewed

Stuff I Read - Line and Orbit by Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem Review

I picked up this book for a number of reasons, the first among them that I am a huge fan of Sunny Moraine's short fiction. If their short work can reduce me to tears it stands to reason that their novel would be worth check out. I was no disappointed. Though there might be a certain stigma that this novel has been marketed as M/M romance when it is just a very, very good science fiction novel, it was completely worth seeking out and picking up. The setting, the characters, the plot—everything works, everything resonates, and I can't wait to find the rest of the books in the series. Adam and Lochlan are flawed but endearing, damaged and a little angsty but also vibrant. Throw in there a diverse and fun supporting cast and compelling villains and the book does an excellent job of exploring the universe it creates.

The premise is simple enough to understand. Long ago, the human race splintered. Because of how humanity was starting to tinker with their own genetics, a group broke away, took to the stars, became the Bideshi. Those that stayed behind became the Protectorate, obsessed with perfection. Obsessed with being the best. Adam has grown up in the Protectorate, hiding his sexuality because of the dominant values of his society, afraid of being exposed but also desperate to advance. Until he becomes sick and discovers just how fast his society can turn on him. After some misadventures he's taken in by the Bideshi, by Lochlan, though Lochlan's himself isn't exactly the most welcoming.

The conflict is well constructed, layered and interesting, nothing simple and nothing waved away. The novel is part mystery and part romance and all science fiction, with alien worlds and the strangeness to be discovered in the generation ships of the Bideshi, their science that takes the guise of magic. It's fascinating and the novel grows it organically, slowly, the readers placed in the shoes of Adam, the outsider, the initiate. Views change and the universe opens up from the bubble the Protectorate had put around it, the illusion of perfection. Desperate people start doing desperate things, and there is a tragedy just as there is a sweet and growing redeeming philosophy born amid it all. It's the kind of science fiction that I love, all the complexity of Star Trek with the adventure of Star Wars. Really, it's great.

In the end, this book captures for me the best of science fiction. A romantic sweep across space, visiting alien worlds while maintaining a critical eye inward, through the story, to today. The message that there are things to learn from each other, that the future is still full of hope, and while humanity here might have lost its way a bit there is still the hope of healing, the hope of redemption. It's not the happiest of books, but it does show people doing the right thing, if a bit late in the game. Where things will go from this book I have no idea, but I am not fully invested in the characters, in the setting, and I want more. Which means this book is a strong 9/10 for me.
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Reading Progress

February 14, 2015 – Shelved
February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015-challenge
August 23, 2015 – Started Reading
August 24, 2015 –
page 115
36.86% "This is very good so far, setting up the stellar politics and the mystery at the heart of what's happening to Adam. Quite enjoying!"
September 7, 2015 –
page 200
64.1% "wow. Just damn good."
September 9, 2015 –
page 312
100.0% "Yes. All the yes. So good!"
September 9, 2015 – Shelved as: science-fiction
September 9, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_1
September 9, 2015 – Finished Reading
September 18, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

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