28 Dec 2017

Review: Achilles (The Deep Sky Saga #1)


★★☆☆☆

From Goodreads:
The year is 2221, and humans have colonized a planet called Thetis in the Silver Foot Galaxy. After a tragic accident kills dozens of teenage colonists, Thetis’s leaders are desperate to repopulate. So Earth sends the Mayflower 2—a state-of-the-art spaceship—across the universe to bring 177 new homesteaders to the colony.
For Jonah Lincoln, an orphaned teen who has bounced between foster homes and spent time on the streets of Cleveland, the move to Thetis is a chance to reinvent himself, to be strong and independent and brave, the way he could never be on Earth. But his dreams go up in smoke when their ship crash-lands, killing half the passengers and leaving the rest stranded—not on Thetis, but on its cruel and unpopulated moon, Achilles.
Between its bloodthirsty alien life forms and its distance from their intended location, Achilles is a harrowing landing place. When all of the adult survivors suddenly disappear, leaving the teenage passengers to fend for themselves, Jonah doubts they’ll survive at all, much less reach Thetis—especially when it appears Achilles isn’t as uninhabited as they were led to believe.

For the fans of The Hundred, an action-packed Young Adult book, where the story will take you to a hostile moon and back, and nothing goes like they were originally planned.
I did not like The Hundred when I last read it, but I was determined not to let the fact that this was 'something like it' keep me away from reading this. My first thoughts were something along ''this is going well, I'm really going to like this.'' Then, a few chapters later, my thoughts went to ''oh no, how is the book going to dig itself deeper into the mess or is it going to climb out of it.'' Then thing started to get a bit better and I started to really enjoy the book. But then. Then it just turned weird. And I am not talking about weird like 'these things can happen in this world and can totally be explained in the end'. I am talking about the 'wait, where did that come from, there wasn't ANY foreshadowing, where did those people disappear, why are we jumping around like this' - weird. The entire book somehow stopped making sense at a point and then, near the end, it pulled itself together and promised that there will be a sequel.

You know I love characters in books, who wouldn't. Characters, in my opinion, can be annoying and childish, and just plain stupid, as long as they are well written. There has to be a balance in them, something that keeps them integrated into the story, with other characters, and fitting for the cause or mission they are aiming to complete. In Achilles, the characters fitted the story, but all of them had this cloud of doom hanging over them from the beginning. As the story progressed the cloud hung lower and lower until it swooped the characters out of the book one by one. Some disappearances were needed, some felt a bit like shortcuts to get the reader's focus redirected to the other characters. I would've loved to have a few 'main focus characters' less, in the beginning, just to get to know them better. Now I felt nothing even though they were dropping like flies.

What deserves a lot of compliments is the world the book is set in. The three moons, Achilles, Thetis and Pelesys, are full of wonders and dangers, and most importantly, full of possibilities. Since we're talking about a galaxy so far away that you need over a year and a wormhole to reach it, nothing can limit what awaits on the surface. And that is what the author has en pointe. There are the terrifying creatures and beautiful, undisturbed nature. There is everything in place to create the perfect setting for the story, the perfect playground yet to be used. It was a joy to see how the surroundings were strongly present all the time, like a nother strong character, except this one is all around you, and has many cards up in its sleeve.

I still have very conflicted feelings about this book. You know, it's one of those books that you could read the sequel, but then again not. It's hard to explain, I hope you catch my drift.

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