I really love when a book that I’m not that into completely turns around and wows me. That’s what happened here. I was not impressed with the hero when I first met him. He was, quite simply, an asshole. Alexander Outland, or ‘the Outland’, as he charmingly refers to himself, is a womanizer of the highest order. He goes through women like they’re disposable and forgets them as soon as he leaves. He is self-centered, rude, and a sexual harassment complaint just waiting to happen.
I struggled quite a bit to get past my initial dislike of him. I had to consciously try to like him, otherwise I never would have made it through the book. I ended up trying to see him as a Jack Sparrow or Malcolm Reynolds type character. They aren’t always the nicest guys, but I still enjoy them. When I adjusted my expectations and chose to look at him as an antihero, it worked. 🙂 I came to regard his jerk behavior with an amused fondness. He grew on me slowly, but by the end of the book I was hooked on him.
I loved the eclectic crew that the author put together. They had such a fun dynamic and were an absolute blast to read about. They reminded me a bit of the cast of Firefly. At first glance they don’t seem like a likely pairing, but somehow they fit together perfectly. Let me introduce them to you…
The Captain: Nap, as Outland prefers to be called, is the best pilot around and he knows it. He revels in his scoundrel reputation, but he’s got a core of nobility to him that he’d deny to his dying breath. He enjoys convincing everyone that he only cares about himself at the end of the day, but he’s a complete marshmallow underneath. If you’re a misfit in life, chances are that sooner or later Nap is going to find you and adopt you as a crew member, even as he swears to himself that he won’t care about you in the long run.
Slinkie: She is the object of Nap’s obsessive lust, although she disdains his man-whore ways. She’s the Weapons and Security Chief and is a highly trusted member of the team, even though she refuses to admit her real name or talk about her past.
The Governor: Nap was partially to blame for the Governor being deposed and he feels guilty enough that he lets him travel around with them as their continual passenger. The Governor enjoys playing old and feeble but there’s a razor sharp mind lurking underneath all those wrinkles. Nap’s the only one on the ship that really understands who he is and what he’s capable of.
Randolph: He’s the Chief Mechanic of the ship. He flunked the Space Academy and would have ended up wasting his talents with a job in a power plant if Nap hadn’t recognized his brilliance and recruited him. He’s a nice guy but a little weird. Nap is pretty freaked out that he created a robot and got engaged to her.
The action was fast paced and there was enough humor in there that I found myself giggling often. Nap and his crew get into one fix after another as we follow them through space, but they’re the people you want around when things get tough because they always have another trick up their sleeve. They may only skate through by the skin of their teeth 99% of the time, but barely escaping still counts as an escape. 😉
I had a little trouble adjusting to the writing style, but I eventually did. The author has a habit of dropping the “I” pronoun in sentences. Instead of “I ran to” it would just be “Ran to.” It was a little jarring in the beginning and felt a bit like I was reading a checklist, but I eventually got used to it and came to regard it as Outland’s ‘voice’. Frankly, even the few issues I had with the book (like the writing style and initially disliking Nap) pale in comparison to my enjoyment reading it.
The most prevalent word that comes to mind when I think of this book is fun. This is not the type of book I normally read but I think I might have enjoyed it all the more because of that very fact. I honestly had a blast reading it. I cannot wait to see what comes next for this crew.
“You know, have we ever not gotten off a planet? Ever? I mean, none of us have been in prison for any length of time, none of us have been left stranded for any length of time. I don’t see why everyone’s all doom and gloom.”
“Define what you mean by ‘length of time’,” Randolph said, a tad bitterly. “I remember being in prison, being a hostage, and being stranded. More than once.”
“And yet, here you are, alive, well, and with the right girl. Really, is there just no pleasing you?”
Gini Koch will be here later today with an interview and a giveaway.