Yasira Shien, an autistic scientist, has developed a new energy drive that is very unconventional, but she’s confident in her abilities and has no worries about whether or not it will work. When she starts the prototype, her engine creates a warp in reality and the space station where they are departing from – and everyone on board – is destroyed. Now, the AI Gods, who are rulers of the galaxy, have declared Shien’s new drive heretical and the gods send their henchmen to kidnap her. Execution would be the normal punishment for heresy, but the gods make an offer. They will be lenient if she will help them find a bigger, more dangerous individual. And why would Shien have any special talent to find this individual? Because the target is Shien’s mentor who disappeared years ago. But along the way, Shein will have to decide if she can trust the gods, or if a run-away scientist holds the key to her salvation.
The opening chapters of this book were really strong. I was drawn into the story and I could sense right away that this was something very unique with this story. Both the character of Yasira Shien and the science of her new energy drive, and the AI gods … wow, this should be a really phenomenal read! But it’s not.
The gods aspect is most interesting and carries through the entire novel and is also the least defined. We get a sense of the hierarchy (there are angels that work for these gods!), but I didn’t understand why they were concerned over the actions of such a mortal. It’s entirely possible the answers were here but I didn’t see them, because…
Yasira Shien completely bored me.
Shien is the central character, our heroine that carries the story. She was motivated and exciting and engaging when she was dealing with her new energy drive at the start of the book, but once she was taken out of her element and put in the hands of the gods, she was about as dull as any main character I’ve ever read.
I have to say that I don’t know enough (or much) about autism, so this could very well have an effect on my reading of the character. But at the same time, if this is important to understanding the character, then it needs to be presented and explained more directly.
She’s also supposed to be a genius, which we see at the beginning but I never sensed or saw it after she warped reality. We’re told that she a genius a few times, but we don’t see it after the opening.
This was a decent book with a lot of promise but it didn’t hold together well for me.
Looking for a good book? The Outside by Ada Hoffmann has a number of unique qualities poising it for a strong sci-fi novel, but it suffers from a main character who can’t quite shoulder being the main focus.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Ada Hoffmann
series: The Outside #1
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 400 pages