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Sunday, 23 December 2018

Book Review: Redemption by Mike Schlossberg

Asher Maddox wakes up one morning to find himself on board a space ship. He is there with several other young people aged sixteen to twenty. None of them know how they got there or what is going on, but they learn that they have been selected to save Earth from a deadly virus known as Spades.
(Review does not contain spoilers).

First of all, this book was very well written - I'm a sucker for beautifully executed prose rich in metaphor and description, and Schlossberg definitely did this well while retaining a fairly light novel. The way in which the characters were described and fleshed out was very well done. It was great seeing the relationships strengthen between the adolescents as they worked together and clashed with one another, but managed to pull through as a team. My personal favourite was Blondell, and I also loved Ash as a protagonist and Alexis. (Some of the characters had strange names which I thought was clever for reasons apparent in the book!)

Ash struggles heavily with depression and anxiety (which I could personally relate to) and doubted himself a lot, especially as he fell into the role of captain of the ship's crew. He was unable to realise whether or not he would be psychologically strong enough to handle such responsibility, coupled with the sudden task of being told to save the world! Seeing him step up and take control was wonderful and I was rooting for him.

However, science-fiction is a genre which I don't read much of and I think the reason is that it tends to be very action-packed and the terminology can be a bit confusing for me. There were a lot of things I didn't really understand and towards the end I wasn't quite sure what was happening. I tend to prefer drama and battles of human psychology in books as opposed to 'let's defeat the bad guys' Marvel/DC/Star Wars type plot lines (no wonder I love Game of Thrones so much).  I did see the twist at the end coming and wanted more of that I suppose - it all seemed to be happening too 'effortlessly' and I kept waiting for some sort of shock or surprise to spur out of nowhere (other than the initial shock of being on a space ship).

Plus, when I saw this was a book about depression and anxiety, I found it was a sci-fi novel with a protagonist who suffered from mental illness and was overcoming it, however I had thought maybe the virus was causing people on Earth to become depressed rather than a classic case of global destruction. In that sense I found the story quite predictable, but again as I don't read much sci-fi I guess it followed standard conventions.

All in all, a strong and well-written story and my not loving it as much as I could have are to do with subjective tastes as opposed to the book itself. If you enjoy science-fiction or action stories about people having to battle aliens then I would definitely recommend! The book can easily be read in a few days (took me a few months only because I kept forgetting I had it on my computer XD) and the story is certainly intriguing - I think it would make a great movie! It reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games, Maze Runner and Divergent, and is suitable for teenagers and adults.

I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to read and review is my own.

3/5 stars

Book is available here:



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