... fast-paced, hugely entertaining, and occasionally off-the-wall zany, stuffed with psychic cats, inter-species romance, outrageous space battles, more planets and aliens than you can shake a grav-boot at, and a delightfully motley crew of misfits to hang out with through all of that ... Valdes’s universe is a whole lot of fun to travel through, with all the best features of space opera on offer: grand spaceships, thrilling battles, political intrigue, and a vibrant cast of humans and aliens. But it’s the bond between Eva Innocente and her motley crew that’s most endearing ... The bonds between these characters enrich and deepen the plot, raising the stakes with every twist and turn and giving the breakneck adventuring real emotional stakes. It’s worth noting that as much as the book is driven forward by Eva’s attempts to save her sister and to deal with her father, it is her found family—her crew—that plays the pivotal role in the endgame ... a funny, fast-moving, richly detailed space opera set in a sprawling universe of aliens and flashy tech, and Eva Innocente and her rag-tag crew make for excellent company while you’re hurtling from one planet to the next. While the ending satisfies, it will also leave you very much looking forward to another tour of the galaxy with this band of rebellious misfits.
Valdes’s elegant writing is on point, with all the emotional buy-in that comes with a story about families ... Featuring memorable Cuban-descended characters, this engaging space opera debut delivers a story that dances between hilarity and seriousness, with all the joy and frustration psychic cats can bring to the mix.
Eva’s fiery spark of devotion and spirit will keep readers captivated until the very last page of this winding, backtracking and space-jumping ride. Her unmitigated connection to her Cuban roots also remains a steadfast joy, from both her many untranslated Spanish lines to her undying love for guava, arroz con mango and piña coladas ... a wild, rocky ride that reminds readers that all creatures, Earth-bound, planet-bound or not, crave the same essentials—connection, success and safety.
The mixture of space adventure and interpersonal relationships comes off as a more light-hearted take on the video game Mass Effect and should appeal to anyone looking for its particular brand of light, fun space opera.
Valdes is a debut author, but this zany, rollicking adventure doesn’t show it. Jam-packed with weird aliens, mysterious artifacts, and lovable characters, there isn’t a single dull page. Eva and her family are Latinx and often include unitalicized Spanish in their dialogue, a rare find in a genre that usually uses whiteness as the default ... A tremendous good time and an impressive debut.
... full of heart but slow to develop ... The intrigue, deception, and action somehow never quite rev up, but spirited characters and absurd humor hold this novel together as the plot trudges forward. Readers who get through the smaller early mishaps and into the meat of the book will find it satisfying.