October 25th, 2020

Book 19 - 2019

Book 19: The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling - 358 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Choice is rebellion. Love is an anomaly. And freedom? Freedom is dangerous. The perfect read for fans of Veronica Roth and Beth Revis.

'It is that quick, that strong, that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.'

Even though she knows it's impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It's something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you're hurtling through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. He becomes the sun for her, and she can't help but stay in his orbit. To lose him would be like losing herself . . .

I'm going to err on the side of positivity and give this four stars, but its more like three and a half. A very quick read, this young adult sci-fi had some real potential, with a rather creepy concept that is dragged down by unceasing teenage romantic melodrama. Seren lives on Ventura, a generational ship on a 300+ year journey to track down a distant signal. Seren is one of the middle generations of this journey, born on board, destined to die on board long before they reach their destination. The ship forbids the development of new culture, assigns spouses, runs an ordered breeding program, and basically restricts most aspects of a person's life. This is the part of the story that has such great potential. There's a really creepy undercurrent to this whole enterprise that makes you wonder about the types of people who would choose to submit themselves and their descendants to such an enterprise. And the fact that most people are okay with this is even more disturbing. Seren, however, is not okay with this, and when she falls in love with Dom, despite being promised to Ezra, the son of the Ventura's current captain, she is not a happy camper. At this point, Ling has the potential to really explore the disturbing nature of the Ventura, but she never quite goes as far as she could (or should) because we get stuck with Seren's incessant internal dialogue about how amazing Dom is in every possible way, and how she's just going to swoon/panic/scream/cry/bite her fist/etc depending on the situation. It's downright infuriating - this book could be half its length if Seren stopped doing the above for more than five minutes. Perhaps the most intriguing character is Ezra, Seren's intended, who's evolution is far more nuanced and interesting, though sadly, not completely explored. So all in all, a really great concept, and some interesting characters, but like a lot of young adult novels, dragged down by melodramatic (and largely unrealistic) teenage girls. A shame.

19 / 50 books. 38% done!

4749 / 15000 pages. 32% done!

Currently reading:
Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
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edited by Paul D. Williams - 620 pages
Tricky Twenty-Two
by Janet Evanovich - 280 pages

And coming up:
The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
The Glow of Fallen Stars
by Kate Ling - 359 pages
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