I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Published by Berkley on 2017-06-13
Length: 368 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, 2017 Dystopia Reading Challenge, 2017 New Release Challenge
In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be...
Have you ever read a story that you fall into and forget isn’t real? The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett is like that. I fell into this story from the first words and found myself so engrossed with the characters, their plight, and their adventure that I forgot about the world around me.
Jamie Allenby is a woman not young, but also not old (honestly I’m not sure if her actual age is revealed and pictured her to be in her mid-thirties). She needs space, away from her loved ones to figure out her own life. BUT a nasty virus has turned the universe upside down, only 0.0001 survived. That’s the initial statistic that was heard before Jamie came down with the virus. The entire first chapter is her reliving the few days before the virus hit, her sickness, and ultimate survival.
Ninety-nine point nine nine nine nine percent dead.
Ten billion people scattered across space.
Zero point zero zero zero one percent of ten billion.
Ten thousand people should have survived.
Ummm…..that quote is chilling when you think about it. A virus that could wipe out humanity to almost extinction in one go? Scary if you ask me! Add in the element that humanity has spread beyond Earth, colonizing many planets and you have yourself a sci-fi dystopia worthy of reading. I loved every element of this plot. A small band of survivors, making their way across the galaxy, finding other survivors and seeing if any government still exists. For some reason, this element reminded me of the show Firefly. I’m not really sure why either, but it did and I kept picturing Callan, the captain and semi-love interest, as Mal and his engineer Gracie as well Grace 😉 Seriously though, the two plots couldn’t be more different. I think my association of the two comes from the beat up cargo ship they fly across space.
The real driving point of this story is Jamie. The author gives us flashbacks to moments that affected Jamie’s life. How did she, an Upper Echelon, wind up on a remote colony planet? What was she running from? Jamie’s character is very broken and the story focuses on her and her depression more than the world around them. I think this is why I fell into the story so well. The character driven plot with the world built so well around her that it was believable.
Overall I really enjoyed this story. I enjoyed following Jamie across space, her dealing with her issues, and I even enjoyed that this is a standalone. It ends with no loose threads and I liked that. I liked the sci-fi element of humans being spread across space and the mystery surrounding the virus that killed most of them. It was an interesting twist on your typical dystopia. Why 4 stars instead of 5? While I enjoyed the story, there where times when the pacing was slow and some parts seemed to drag on while others rushed by. There is one particular section towards the middle of the book that I wish had been elaborated on more instead of glossed over (can’t say much more than that without spoilers). Overall though I highly recommend this book if you enjoy character-driven dystopia with an element of sci-fi.