If you could live for hundreds of years, if not, forever, would you want to? In Suicide Club, those who deserve it are given immortality. In exchange, they have to take good care of their health — eat well, exercise and all that jazz. What I liked about this premise was that it plays on our contemporary obsession with health and wellness. Food diet movements abound from “clean eating” to keto to paleo, claiming to detox, strengthen the immune system, etc. Rachel Heng pushed these ideal to the extreme in her futuristic science fiction novel set in New York City.
As a standalone sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit did well to outline the setting. I think new readers would be able to understand things just fine. At the same time, it further expanded the world building for those who’ve read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The characters remained central to the plot of A Closed and Common Orbit as well, thereby justifying the slow pacing.
My problem with space operas is that usually not much happens besides the characters floating through space. On that front, I felt The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet fit squarely fit that trope. Conflicts outside of the spaceship didn’t arise as often nor as intensely as I had liked, even with their unpredictable mission and the threat of war looming. The reason I enjoyed this book anyway were the characters. They were absolutely wonderful!
When I first read the synopsis of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, I expected an epic romance set in space. That wasn’t quite what the book was but I did like the direction it took. What I didn’t realise at first was that The Loneliest Girl in the Universe isn’t only science fiction but a psychological thriller as well.
For better or for worse, the UK book cover of Defy the Stars isn’t befitting of the story. Romance isn’t central to the plot. The overarching theme was what constitutes humanity, which I thought was explored exceedingly well in this book. It was also about sacrifice to save others and the chase to live forever.