Book Review: Far From the Light of Heaven

Far From the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson


Don’t lose ’em; don’t break ’em

This is the motto of the corporation that owns the Ragtime, a new ship setting off to bring colonizers to the planet Bloodroot. It should be a simple job to ferry several thousand sleepers in stasiss to a planet—so simple it has a crew of one: Michelle Campion, first mate and over-trained back-up to the AI captain who will do all of the work. But when Ragtime arrives in system, Shell wakes to an awful discovery: the infallible AI is down, and some of her sleepers will never open their eyes again. She sends out a distress signal, with the sinking knowledge that nothing will ever be the same again.

Humans in the cosmos are like errant weeds

Whew this was a wild ride, from start to finish.

A locked-room murder mystery set in space with the psychedelic space-time trippiness of We Have Always Been Here mixed with the deadly intonations of duplicitous AI and the murderousness of space like Dead Space? Yes, please!

There’s not a whole lot to the story that I really want to talk about, but this was a damn ride. My heart was thumping, my body was shaking, and the entire time all I could ask myself was who and why?

This was not quite the book I was expecting, but overall, it was definitely enjoyable and left me with something to think about. I liked Shell’s character—she was doing her best in an absolutely fucked situation, I enjoyed Fin (and slowly started to understand something was not quite right with him), and I absolutely wanted more pagetime with Ragtime, who was an absolute delight. And I wanted more of um, certain characters who added a certain element to things but were kind of a side note?

But ultimately, this book asks the following questions: Who gets to settle the galaxy? Who stays behind? Who gets a voice in the storytelling? Who speaks for the voiceless, and what does justice really mean? And who gets the blame when shit goes completely sideways?

I loved this quote from the author in his afterword:

I drew on my experience in my first few months of medical school. You’re well-trained, you know a lot, but you’re aware of exactly what you don’t know. It’s a combination of terror and exhilaration on the inside and calm on the outside.

That is Shell in a nutshell.

Because stuff goes to shit and well, that’s not exactly what you want in space, right?

Anywho, it was a great read, although I was a little disappointed in the ending, because I wanted a little more resolution than want I got.

“We estimate that you’re missing two and a half people,” says Fin.

“And a half?” says Shell.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

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