Alright I’m not gonna summarize this too heavily because I KNOW you all know what this is about. Not only was the marketing bomb, but hi its Kaufman and Spooner, you were drooling for this release.
What I drank – red wine, im a seasonal drinker and boy did winter hit with a stupid goddamn 5 inches of snow in my driveway. Woof, guys. Woof.
Short version: space Indiana Jones and the last crusade, with bad guys that aren’t Nazis
Longer version: a resource-deprived Earth has received a message from another planet with a now-dead alien race (the Undying) but still functioning tech that could help Earth. Everyone wants to get a piece of this, whether its scavenger fortune hunters or nerd scholars. Enter scavenger Amelia (Mia) and scholarly Julian (Jules), our protags, who come in with very different background and very different objectives.
So…alright. I really liked reading this book. I flew through it and enjoyed it, because these ladies are great writers, and this book is so damn READABLE. And the worldbuilding. Whew. It’s real in a very scary way, with the loss of resources to sustain the planet and how do we handle that. But…I didn’t like it *covers head**tuck and roll**uses book as shield**fights you guys on a plane wing like Indiana Jones and….temple of doom?*
IT IS NOT A BAD BOOK. I ENJOYED READING IT. (TbH i enjoyed this a lot more than These Broken Stars.) The characters are charming and have good development, the story MOVES, I never had to motivate myself to keep reading (unlike so, so, so many books this year, and yes girl I know irs only March). I’m 100% going to read book 2.
There’s always a but. Spoilers ahead…..
+ these kids don’t fall in love STAT, jesus christ thank you. They’re clearly attracted to each other but there’s real relationship-building
– do they ever know so MANY of each others quirks even though they just met. Yes. So unreasonably well. And they mention it a metric buttload of times that they just met. Trust I know you just met because I started this book 20 seconds ago.
+ Jules is mad smart but not so smart he’s not intelligent. He grew up wildly educated and playing water polo in a world where so many struggle to get water just to live, but he can get how privileged his life is. It sounds simple but it is NOT. I liked the nuance of his character.
– at some point jules says he doesn’t even know mia’s last name, and you know what, I don’t know if I knew her last name either if I hadn’t read the book jacket. Also, I’ve read Nevernight, and is Mia a tribute to Nevernight’s Mia? It’s cute but honestly distracting.
+ so like Last Crusade, the protags have to solve a series of puzzles left behind by the Undying to access the treasure/world-saving tech. It absolutely helps to build their trust and affection for each other in a real way, and you feel their tension and desperation so clearly
– ok look. Jules’ dad is the one who translated the first transmission from the Undying, so he’s the world’s foremost expert on their language. And if you grew up with that I’m sure you’d pick up a lot of it. But it wouldn’t make you effectively the no. 2 expert in the world. Also I really wish I’d seen more description/complexity of the puzzles! At points I feel like they were glossed over.
+ that goddamn Undying plot twist
– that goddamn recruiter plot twist
Final thoughts – I REALLY hope before the end of the series, Jules says “it belongs in a museum.”
Rating- 3/5 stars
What I’d pair it with – a Boilermaker. Theyre tired as hell, dirty, and everything is falling to shit. It’s a time to get efficiently and sufficiently drunk.