The all female crew of the Atalanta is determined to take control of the mission to find a habitable planet. Years of climate disasters and person-made greed has created an Earth that requires people to wear filtering masks 24/7. Population control and a misogynistic government has turned the sciences into a hostile and toxic environment for women. The Atalanta-5 develops and builds a transport that takes them up into orbit where they steal an interstellar ship which will take them to the life-sustaining planet of Cavendish.
It’s a team of experts, and they are significantly better suited for their roles than their male counterparts. Heading up the team is Valerie Black who has championed the Cavendish solution for many years, but has been scoffed at by private industry and NASA. She has taken it upon herself to plan this heist and mission. She is aided by her foster-daughter, Naomi who is a whiz at plant and protein production, which will obviously be key to they 2-year trip. There are three others, but I’ll let you get to know them as you read the novel.
Lam’s fine focus in this novel is exquisite. She has total control of the individual emotions and stories of each of the crew members. I really enjoyed the jumps back in time as we see the crew members developing in their careers. And I thought the science was done well enough that I could definitely go along for the ride without having to question the details. The conflicts come in waves: Will they get away with stealing the starship? Do they have the mental toughness to be cooped up in those small spaces for an extended period of time? And will they ultimately succeed?
The problems with this book for me started when I looked back and tried to see the big picture. The ‘hows’ and the ‘whys.’ How was this style of government able to take control? Why are they set in their misogynistic ways? I feel like the book lacked these grounding questions and they needed to be fleshed out a bit.
Don’t get me wrong. I really liked this book and the secrets/conflicts that come along with the 5s’ interconnected relationships. There are some great twists that really got me. And the pacing is quick; it’s an easy read. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s a thriller that adds and adds and makes the pages fly.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley, Orbit, and the author for an advanced copy for review.