Narrator: Nneka Okoye
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 01-10-19
Genres: Science-Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 14 hrs and 19 mins
Buy on Amazon/Audible
When an Earth-like planet is discovered, a team of six teens, along with three veteran astronauts, embark on a twenty-year trip to set up a planet for human colonization—but find that space is more deadly than they ever could have imagined.
Have you ever hoped you could leave everything behind?
Have you ever dreamt of a better world?
Can a dream sustain a lifetime?
A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the twentieth century’s space-race.
And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives.
It will take the team twenty-three years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong.
And something always goes wrong.
I was intrigued by the premises of this book: the journey of six young astronauts that are the first people to travel to a newly discovered planet that is capable of sustaining life. It seemed to be a character-driven story, something I usually enjoy, and I quickly got hooked to the story. The other reason to read this book was that it was described as a crossover between the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers and the 100. I absolutely love the Wayfarers series but this book is not at all like it. Becky Chambers’ characters are easy to relate to and love, and they usually find ways to respect and understand each other. The characters in this book are mainly unlikeable and not very well developed.
This is a YA book. YA literature is a hit and miss for me. I guess I enjoy it when the characters are mature or they are especially well portrayed. Sadly, none of these things happens in this book. The characters were not super developed, and the POV changes were a bit confusing because of this. On some occasions, I was not sure who was talking. Also, you would imagine that if Great Britain selects six teenagers for a space trip of twentysomething years, these teens should be the best of the best. This was nevertheless was a very dysfunctional group, and some of the characters had serious mental issues that should have been detected way ahead. I guess this made the story more interesting, as it created more conflicts that wouldn’t exist otherwise, but there were so many things that were overlooked on this mission that it’s just not realistic. There were also four adults traveling with these six youngsters, but I found these characters even more one-dimensional, and none of the chapters is told from any of the adults’ POV. If there’s a word that can describe these adults’ presence on the spaceship, it could be “absence”. They were somewhere there but they barely appeared and they were not at all in charge nor solved any of the conflicts among the teenagers.
Mysticism is also an important element in the story. Seemingly, the planet was discovered after a girl dreamed about it, and when the scientists looked where she dreamed the planet was, they found it. There was also a crew member who constantly dreams about the planet. This rested credibility to the story for me, but since the title makes reference to it, it is an important part of the book. I think I just expected more hard sci-fi, or at least better-developed characters. The book kept me nevertheless more or less interested until the end, even though I found it somehow anticlimactic.
Nneka Okoye delivered very expressive character interpretations which were one of the best parts of this audiobook, but I can’t sadly give five stars to her performance. I think I would have toned it a bit down though, as I could hear Okoye often struggling during some interpretations. Mouth noises and breathing were perfectly audible on many occasions, which I found disturbing. These shouldn’t be noticeable in any audiobook master track, and should be prevented by using a good microphone and filter, and with appropriate postproduction.
My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.
I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six-year stay in Belgium, four cockatiels, eight lovebirds, and a hamster in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.