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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei

I loved the futuristic space-mission capabilities, smart and strong all-woman crew, the mystery and suspicion, and most of all the character-driven storyline in Kitasei's science fiction novel.

The thing about saying yes to the first (and probably only) one-way interstellar voyage to settle a new world was that there were no take backs.

In Yume Kitasei's science fiction thriller The Deep Sky, a mission to deep space is disrupted by an explosion that shakes the confidence of the ship's crew.

With the collapse of Earth's environment imminent, eighty trained elite young people venture into space, where they hope to preserve the human race for generations to come.

But a deadly disaster on The Phoenix halfway to its destination causes suspicion to fall upon Asuka, the only living witness. Asuka must find the real culprit before accusations surrounding the mystery destroy her.

"It's not giving up on the world. It's making more of it. Isn't that the point? If I thought the problems here were unfixable, I couldn't support the mission. Because if that were true, we wouldn't deserve another chance. And we do."

I do generally love a book set on a ship barreling through space, and I loved The Deep Sky. Yume Kitasei offers plot and mystery, but this is primarily a wonderfully character-driven story--with a satisfying amount of spaceship detail, process, and futuristic capabilities (such as alternative realities the crew can pipe into their brains) to capture a reader's imagination.

Asuka is intelligent and capable, but she was chosen for the once-in-history journey as an alternate, and she constantly struggles with impostor syndrome. She fills in where she's needed rather than being valued for a special ability, and she sometimes feels like a glorified handywoman.

Asuka's relationship with her mother was strained before her departure, and her family had suffered earlier tragedies that shaped and complicated its structure and their communication.

Now her mother's involvement in an environmental renegade group on Earth leads some of Asuka's crewmates to cast aspersions on her when the destructive on-ship explosion threatens the safety of the crew--and the mission itself. The book explores environmental responsibility and culpability as Kitasei explains the reason for the ship's departure to populate another world.

Communication with Earth is complicated by the increasing distance between the planet and the ship, and when things begin to go wrong, with more and more seeming sabotaged elements endangering the crew and mission, Kitasei brings the reader into the crew's sense of panic that they're the only ones making key decisions and that they're operating in a vacuum.

Everyone but Asuka is potentially a suspect at some point or another, and I loved the way the author built tension without making me feel manipulated or offering red herrings.

Unrelated to the content of the book but relevant for Bossy purposes, I feel robbed that I read this on an e-reader because this cover, oh my word. It's gorgeous!

I received a prepublication edition of this title courtesy of NetGalley and Flatiron Books.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I recently posted a Greedy Reading List of Six Fascinating Stories Set in Space. If this book interests you, you might want to check out the titles on that list.

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