Four Bodies in Space by Luna Harlow

Agatha Christy in Space

This book started full of a truckload of well-worn clichés, making it read like Agatha Christy in space. The first murder, particularly. The first two chapters were just cringe worthy with their typical set up. But, instead of the infamous Hercule Poirot appearing to analyse the scene, we have the Spock-like Solaris.

Luckily this character is partly what eventually made the book interesting. Once I got past all of the clichés bouncing from each wall, there was a reasonable story there waiting, with a handful of well-written characters, in between further clichés. It was enough for me to eventually ignore the continuing clichés, and not cringe too much at the ending, to actually enjoy the story.

Solaris is analytical, but has a curiosity that makes her occasionally dance across the line towards insubordination. Good job that others find her intriguing enough to let her misdemeanours pass, especially considering that she appears to lead them in the right direction towards solving the puzzle.

This Poirot-Star Trek cross is good fun, if you can cope with all the clichés (I hope my continued mention of clichés doesn’t turn into a cliché). There’s enough there that I’d definitely be happy to continue the series.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Beyond the Northern Lights by Arizona Tape

A boy meets girl story with a twist

The boy is a terminally-ill human; the girl is an alien light being. Both are alone and lonely, until they meet by chance under the Northern Lights.

This I found slow to get in to, with the first couple of chapters with Ben and Y’me talking to themselves not really pulling me in. I had to wait until the middle of the book before it actually became interesting, when Ben and Y’me finally meet and start talking to each other.

The funniest part for me was their discussion about “silly human behaviour”, like (paraphrased), ‘why does paper beat rock?’ ‘It just does…’ And, my favourite one, ‘Isn’t ketchup technically a fruit smoothie?’ Haha!

Up until that point, I wasn’t so impressed with the story, but as it started to progress from there on, it slowly warmed to me. Then, the ending – it was probably one of the most profound things I’ve read in a long while. The last paragraph just took my breath away and gave the story such wonderful roundedness.

It’s a story that requires some patience, but once you’re in there, you will be hooked.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*