readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

The Space Between the Stars – Anne Corlett **

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I am a big fan of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic novels. This isn’t one. Sure, it LOOKS like one on the surface – but at the core of it, this is a whiny annoying book about a whiny annoying woman who is emotionally stuck in one of the most pathetic romantic relationships to be committed to paper. The outer-space setting is just veneer; and illogical veneer at that. It would’ve made more logical sense if the different planets were just New York and California, for example.

When we meet Jamie Allenby, she’s “taking a break” from her relationship, because she “needs some space.” (“Space,” haha.) She’s out working on a frontier planet, an isolated location, which is lucky for her, because a terrible virus rages through known space, and a quirk of the illness is that if you have contact with anyone else while you’re ill, you will definitely die. Those who are totally isolated have a chance of recovery. Jamie survives, and instead of bucking up, buckling down, and working on her uncertain future, develops an obsession with finding her estranged husband.

Through an unlikely coincidence, she manages to get herself on a spaceship heading her way, along with an assorted bunch of other eccentric survivors. But that is not the end of unlikely coincidences! Far from it!

I shouldn’t really say more, because, spoilers, but even with the author’s explanations, there are just too many coincidences in this book, all designed to give our protagonist plenty of opportunity to dredge up all the hurts and grudges of her past, moan about lost opportunities, fertility issues, and get a romance triangle shoehorned in there.

It feels like the book is aiming for being an insightful look into the human heart, through the lens of the “women’s fiction” genre, while picking up on the popularity of post-apocalyptic fiction. But, to me, it just felt shallow and rather unexciting. And annoying.

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan & NetGalley for the opportunity to read.

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