... [a] brilliantly imagined novel ... gorgeous, haunting ... Deeply enthralling and fiercely feminist...yet another success from Kate Hope Day ... this stunning exploration of the potential of humans and their inventions will challenge everything you thought you knew about good science fiction.
June’s path to the stars, as well as the science behind the trip, feels both realistic and accessible. Day’s descriptions of the cold lethality of space make the final frontier feel like a character itself, and, indeed, each location described feels tangible. The action sequences are brutal and breathtaking, but the novel focuses most on June’s emotions and relationships with her fellow trainees and astronauts. Perfect for fans of realistic depictions of space travel like Andy Weir’s The Martian (2014) and Jeremy K. Brown’s Zero Limit (2018).
In this readable debut, Day captures the difficulties of both being and raising a gifted child, while incorporating details about space flight, training, and problem solving that make the story come alive without being overwhelming. Recommended for most fiction readers.
... lots of great parts but they never fully come together, leaving a choppy, often confusing, and unsatisfying story based on a dramatic space-adventure premise—with a shot of torrid passion—that doesn’t deliver ... The best parts of the book are the realistic descriptions of the physical conditions of space travel and operating on another planet ... Unfortunately, there’s almost no emotional component to these physical experiences. The author researched the heck out of the technical side to present it believably, then left us with characters who don’t connect on the kind of personal level that takes readers along for the ride ... The author sets up situations and leaves either readers or characters, or both, to figure out the missing pieces. This technique invites analytical assessment of what information is truly needed to tell a story ... The main character also lacks a backstory ... We just get June watching and feeling through her brain and body, while those around her are equally incomprehensible because she can’t extrapolate or empathize ... amounts to no character arc to June’s story. The plot doesn’t go anywhere, either ... What readers get is space adventure as a conveyance for an esoteric character study. The novel is ideal for book club or classroom discussions about the difference between stories and literature, the nature of life and consciousness, the qualitative distinctions between feelings and expression, the limitations of humanity, and the like ... if you just want a space adventure with characters engaged in the experience, look elsewhere.
While Day does a decent job developing June as a curious girl who claims to be 'better with machines than with people,' the haphazard plot feels rushed and the prose can be clunky ... This is primed for launch, but it doesn’t really take off.