This sounded like a very intriguing book, and so when I discovered it on NetGalley, I couldn’t resist putting a request in for it, despite not knowing anything about the title or its author.
So thanks a lot to the author, as well as Ace via NetGalley for the review copy.
In this dark science fiction thriller, a young woman must confront her past so the human race will have a future.
Rosalyn Devar is on the run from her famous family, the bioengineering job she’s come to hate, and her messed-up life. She’s run all the way to outer space, where she’s taken a position as a “space janitor,” cleaning up ill-fated research expeditions. But no matter how far she goes, Rosalyn can’t escape herself. After too many mistakes on the job, she’s given one last chance: take care of salvaging the Brigantine, a research vessel that has gone dark, with all crew aboard thought dead.
But the Brigantine’s crew are very much alive–if not entirely human. Now Rosalyn is trapped on board, alone with a crew infected by a mysterious parasitic alien. The captain, Edison Aries, seems to still maintain some control over himself and the crew, but he won’t be able to keep fighting much longer. Rosalyn and Edison must find a way to stop the parasite’s onslaught…or it may take over the entire human race.
Rosalyn had been there before, in that breathless, deep panic that seemed to flatten out time and sharpen the senses. It wasn’t calm, exactly, but a falling away of every noncritical thought and impulse. She had been there before, curled up on the floor, in pain and shock, faced with that felt like the impossibility of the next moment coming, and the next, and the next after that.
This is the story of Rosalyn Devar, who is a former bioengineer who is currently working salvage jobs in an attempt to flee her former life. She cleans out spaceships who have gone code-blue, with all crew aboard reported dead. She makes some mistakes at work, leading up to her near-termination, and is given one last chance to redeem herself if she crews up with a pilot she’s not a fan of, and goes out to salvage the Brigantine, the third code-blue in any many months (very suspicious).
When she makes it out to the Brigantine, she finds that the crew is very much alive. Alive, and walking and talking, but not human anymore, at least, not entirely. They are infected by a parasitic alien who has taken over most of the crew, and it’s up to Rosalyn and the captain of the Brigantine to save the day, and probably humanity, from the parasites.
The idea of an alien parasitic being taking control of a human and yet letting them keep enough control of themselves that they still remember who they are is interesting to me. So, we see some of this story from the POV of not only Rosalyn, but also from the POV of a couple of the crew members who are very, very infected. One has a catastrophic head wound, and yet is still technically alive, remembers his name and the names of his crew and so on and so forth, and is attempting to create a vaccine for the infected, while also being nearly completely under the thrall of this alien being that he refers to as ‘Mother’.
I liked Rosalyn as a character. She’s got a past that comes to light slowly over the course of the story. She’s not infallible, and does make mistakes, but she’s also sort of snarky and crass and is the type of character that I find cheering for easy. The relationships that form between her and Edison, the captain, and Misato, the engineer were interesting in that there was always a patina of ‘can you really trust them?’ over top of everything. Still, this book often gave me a good case of the feels, with all the strife happening. I got teary-eyed at times, which isn’t really the reaction I was expecting from the sci-fi thriller, but there it is.
But this one does get rather harrowing at times, in a thrilling way, and I oftentimes would be rather legitimately afraid for Rosalyn or her friends. I wasn’t constantly guessing at the plot, but rather letting it happen, and it was full of twists and turns and I was surprised more than once by revelations that came to light as the story progressed.
So, all told, I really enjoyed this one. Much more than I even thought that I would. I would find myself having a very difficult time putting it down to do other things like work, and really that’s one of the best compliments I can give a book. 4.5/5 stars!