The Deep Sky? More like the Deep… DIE!
I’m 2 for 2 for blogs this year so far. I’m moving along with The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei. This book was voted on by our patrons so thanks for this one guys! The story goes Ben did zero research into this book and pulled a “Nate” where he just picked a book that sounded good. What we got was decent but not great. That being said I would be interested in reading more of this author’s work in the future because there’s definitely some talent there and this is her first published book (if I’m not mistaken, no I’m not looking that up to verify).
I read a review on Goodreads that said this book was trying to do too much and cover a lot of things. I hate to say this but… I agree with that. I’m going to need to shower after this, I feel dirty just thinking that. The book is set in the future when there’s environmental collapse and a looming war-to-end-all-wars. A rich woman Elon Musk wants to launch a space ship to the stars and bands all the nations of the world together (well not all of them but let’s not talk about that) to get their approval and money in exchange for seats. We’re going to colonize a new star system! How neat! Also the book starts with a bomb going off on the ship! Oh no! That means that there is a mystery afoot! Oh and everyone has a virtual reality implant that puts them into semi-their own world, there’s the possibility that the ship AI is going renegade, the captain is really into eugenics, there’s a bit about parenting and child rearing and how that features into the main character’s story as well as the crew’s new home being the progeny of the Earth, there are environmental terrorists and men’s rights groups, and did I mention that when the bomb goes off on the ship it triggers the outbreak of World War 3 back on Earth? See what I mean?
It bites off a lot more than it should have, I think. Instead of saying one thing about a few strong central ideas it says very little about a lot of ideas. I won’t spoil who the murderer turns out to be but around the time they find out who she is, they also shut off the implanted altered-reality chips. The Captain (not the eugenics one, she’s dead) is like “we’re all been living in these augmented reality worlds and that was bad. We have to forge this new world together” and I was like… huh? Like I understand that those worlds were bad, I saw all the possible downsides. You guys seemed pretty happy in the alternate reality though up until about 5 minutes ago. Is this a commentary about technology separating us? Like how people spend time on their phones and don’t talk to each other? Because if so it feels a bit unearned is all I’m saying.
The murder mystery itself was a bit underwhelming too. The ending reveal was kind of a dud to me. The reason for the bombing was about the same. I also need to pay special mention to one character who acts really sus right before her fingerprints match those found on a tool involved in planting a bomb on the ship and she’s really belligerent and angry. Like… I get why you’re angry… but your finger prints are on the tool. Protocol at least dictates that you be locked down until we can prove your guilt or innocence. Later on they’ll also make assumptions on multiple occasions without any real proof or evidence to back up the narrative. It’s weak and that’s unfortunate and I won’t harp on it more because I need to save some content for the actual podcast.
CONTENT AND IDEAS 11/20
There are clear ideas and plot points in this book but they’re all underbaked for my liking. Gordon Ramsay would yell at this book for being “fucking raw!” This book is still planted in the fucking ground! Okay it’s not that underdeveloped but again: the ending fell flat to me, the mystery was kind of a dud after the reveal, and the themes could have been a lot stronger by only focusing on a few of them and really fleshing them out.
Another average score. I struggle with flashbacks sometimes. It’s important to help tell who this character is in relation to other characters that they grew up with. At the same time I feel that a lot of these flashbacks were just unnecessary? It introduced characters that wouldn’t be important in the present and it created a conflict between the main character and her mother (which is resolved at the end) and the main character and her former best-friend (which didn’t need 10 chapters to flesh out). I waffle on this a bit but ultimately I can say that the flash backs disrupted the pacing of the book and didn’t need to be quite so numerous.
Word Choice 11/20
Word Choice usually defaults to a 3 if there was nothing that I found wrong with the text but also didn’t jump out as anything special either. So that’s where this goes.
Personal Preference 11/20
Again I think this is just a solid average book. I’m shocked actually with how it scored right down the middle for me. I think there were enough things in the book to keep it enjoyable and I’m interested in seeing how the author evolves over time. On the flip side of the coin… well everything else I’ve already criticized the book for.
Recommendation Strength 6/20
Okay I struggled with this one. I was originally giving it a Level 3 across the board but then I started really thinking about it. Who is this book for? Mystery fans won’t get a lot out of it because the mystery is definitely lacking. Sci-fi fans? Well there’s a lot of sci-fi flavoring here but there’s a lack of substance to the big ideas at play. To me it’s lacking something that helps it standout from other books in its genre(s). I don’t think I can give it even a weak recommendation to a genre fan, I think this book is something for someone with a very specific itch that only this book can scratch. If anything I said about a space travel mystery with rogue AI and implanted aug-reality chips sounds interesting to you give it a shot. If those things feel more like a mish-mash of ideas to you then its best to avoid.