I've literally just finished the book and put it down, and I'm still reeling. Two sisters go on a space quest; get separated in an atrocious event; and then one of them seeks the other as well as revenge for the said appalling event. Sound familiar? I'm just out of the latest Reynolds after the wonderful short story collection, and this latest installment confirms it once again. Reynolds should only write short fiction...In the middle of the book I couldn't give a dam about the demise of these ridiculous characters. Why would anyone one want to support something that is completely self-absorbed and inane alive just to balance gender in the publishing industry? Please. Some real intelligence here if at all possible. Nowadays we're starting to have lots of female dominated YA SF novels. No problem with that, just to compensate for the misogyny of the 40s and 50s. What I've got a problem with is when the novels are riddled with the same idiotic characters as their male counterpart novels.... indulging immature, and "testosterone" driven stupidity or should I say exploiting it? Unfortunately we live in an age of celebrated narcissistic ignorance. What would Shakespeare think? Well, I am sure that he would look down upon this crap that passes for SF (admitting he was able to recognize as such) as a complete insult to all that is worthwhile in this enterprise called life. The publishing industry seem to spend a huge amount of their precious time convincing youngsters that they really shouldn't hold out much faith for their future. I'm sure YA SF novels were around when I was a teen back in the beginning of 80s, but they weren't something a kid would experience very often. The difference these days is that they are now made as complete series & spinoffs deliberately aimed at the millenniums, and kids just aren't mature or wise enough to understand that what they are seeing is very, very, very crappy stuff. And instead of bumping into one every two or three years like I did when I was a teenager, they can read several in just one season (no wonder they all seem so morose these days; we're not doing that much to cheer them up). These YA SF novels have failed because they have nothing to say to the reader about growing up, maturing, and learning from experience; perfect tropes (heroines, villains, blue-eyed boys) are tiresome, but character defects (as in someone like you and me) would allow the stories to be worth re-reading. Arafura Ness, the main character is very dull, because she, as the hero, does not really mature, hence, there is no value to reading them. I was able to detect that there was an attempt at darkness and danger in this space-faring life that two young girls embarked upon, but that pathos only came across as an half-assed attempt (if that). Good riddance, to bad books. Final thought. Please, Reynolds, stick to short fiction.
SF = Speculative Fiction