Author: Lesley Young
Release Date: 15 July 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult (YA)
Source: Net Galley, Received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review
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A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe's future at stake. Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth's new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one of Command's top pilots and her only family, who's been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition's fierce, and she's already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once. Even the station's most respected officer, Lt. Damian King, probably can't help Cassiel pass the second time around-so why is he so interested in her progress? If only one of her freaky deja vu visions would offer an answer instead of mysterious messages like hide. When Cassiel's manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all. Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother-even if it means pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or'ic, the cold-as-steel Thell'eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.
Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh. This book. This book was a chore and a half to read.
Everything about this book put me off as a reader. Everything. There is so much wrong with the writing here, not the actual words, but the construction of the plot, pacing, and characterization.
Cassiel Winters is a 21-year-old girl whose brother Daz has gone missing. She has a note that she believes is from him saying “hide,” so naturally she does the exact opposite of that by joining the space academy. She is being formally tested for promotion despite her newbie status, and when she fails, the leaders give her a chance to go on a secret mission, because THAT makes sense. You shouldn’t at ALL be suspicious of that Cassiel, don’t worry. *heavy sarcasm* Cassiel herself is difficult to like or even understand. She’s constantly putting herself down while others build her up. She has very strange mental arguments with herself, and her speech is just plain annoying, from her flippant attitude to her superiors, to her fondness of random swearing and use of phrases like “horn-dog” and “he really creams my corn.” The academy officials send her on a very poorly explained mission: she’s supposed to get information because they lost her brother or something, and the best way to do that is to send an untrained girl into an alien spaceship because, and here is the real kicker, Thell’eon females experience no pleasure during sex and so Thell’eon males have kidnapped human females for years. So you’re sending her there to basically be a sexual object, despite her status as a virgin, having no particular skill and no experience, so that she can … what? But while Cassiel is terrified to do this, she’s also eager to do it. From the literal moment of her “abduction” onto the alien ship, she’s drooling after every member of the Thell’eon that she sees. She has mental sex with one of them, feels bad for betraying King, whose dubious intentions toward Cassiel didn’t have me exactly sympathetic.
There are all of the futuristic terms like “com-tab” and “Lightvision” with an accompanying “TM 33″ which we assume means “trademark 33,” which doesn’t add anything to the story except to make it feel like an awkward attempt at advertising. Cassiel has an unexplained “deja vu” ability which is Super Secret, though we don’t know why or what exactly this ability does until she’s kidnapped and the Thell’eons tell her about the Sift. The plot and pacing are very erratic: she jumps from place to place and activity to activity with very little explanation about what is going on. As a reader, I was terribly confused about why this plan to send her into space would work, and then suddenly after one chapter, she’s back on her home ship, BUT WAIT then the Thell’eons re-kidnap her. Seriously?
This book was a complete waste of time.