Debut author Sees delivers an exuberant YA sci-fi novel.
Seventeen-year-old Ree Lindbergh is part of the 300-person crew of the starship Omega Centauri, patrolling the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. Their mission is to prevent further hostilities between humans and the shape-shifting Bufoanthroids from the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. Although Ree is happy enough spending her days in the company of her best friend, Zac, and dreaming of one day seeing the planet Earth, she’s still troubled. Every night she has nightmares about her dead mother, who was killed by Bufoanthroids on the day Ree was born. When Zac and his ship vanish, Ree undertakes a dangerous rescue mission. As she unravels mysteries and faces dangers, she learns the truth about her own past—and discovers feelings she’s never had before. The novel’s characters are well-developed and true to their types; Ree is a very relatable Everygirl with a far more interesting personality than, say, Twilight’s Bella Swan. Her first-person narration and dialogue are clear and entertaining (“[T]he familiar smell of sweet saskatoon berries, tangy yet tart, reheated freeze-dried goodness, and hot, gooey pizza consumed my nostrils”). As befits a novel written by an educator, the prose is clean and professional; the action scenes are a bit sparse, but the conclusion of the story promises more to come. The novel’s worldbuilding is pure, glorious space opera in the classic style: Starships warp away to patrol and invade entire galaxies, and characters listen to voice-activated radio broadcasts while discussing the history of the Worldwide Space Federation. There’s enough detail to establish the setting and flesh out the story, but the author leaves it open-ended enough that sequels are almost mandatory. Sees demonstrates a quiet sense of fun to go along with all the YA adventure and romance; notably, one particular line of dialogue (“If you want to kiss a frog and hope he turns into a prince…then go ahead”) underlines a running pun throughout the novel: The Bufoanthroids’ name appears to be a combination of the Latin bufo (“toad”) and anthropo (“human”).
A charming tale of space-based adventure.