Author: Laura Lam
Release Date: 30/4/20
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 48
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Headline , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.
Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.
The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.
The problem is that they’re not the authorised crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.
But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realises time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .
Goldilocks is a bold and thought-provoking new thriller for readers of The Martian and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Oh this book is great fun. First lets start with my big yes moment. I have often mentioned I have a PhD in evolutionary biology and I am currently a computational Biologist, but my undergrad was in Plant Science. So a book with an MC who is a Botanist, tends to give me trepidation. I didn’t need to worry. The science (at least the amounts in my wheel-house) is gorgeous. I must be the only person in the world that cheered when GenBank was mentioned. This is a near future dystopia and the scientific advancement is so believable. It makes feel so possible. Great science in books like this is such a joy for me. This meant I was fully immersed in this book, in this world and the story.
The dystopia is also scarily realistic, the move towards climate change crisis, combating viral pandemic (which is so pertinent in current times), and the right wing movement in global politics particularly around reproductive rights. This makes this fantastically structured thriller, with its sharp turns and shocking reveals. The plot hurls twists at you when you least expect them. They pack punch and keep those pages turning.
The movement between the timeline of the ship, and the build up for the mission really ramps up the tension and also builds up the human story underneath the science and the adventure. Even with all of this plot and world-building we still get a huge dose of the human stories underneath. Its only fault for me is that a lot of the characters see underdeveloped compared to the real science and the darker world-building. The "Villain" sways more to the cartoonish at times and the MC is can be a little flat. We also don’t get much information into the other characters. This is more evident in the second half of the book where we move away from the believable sci-fi and into the "thriller" side of the story. But it is still an enjoyable story, I was already swept away when the more fanciful moments hit. It has enough tension and "danger" to keep the interest and it goes from hard dystopian sci-fi into fun romp adventure seamlessly.
The ending is a little convenient and that was a little bit of a let down but again didn’t detract from my enjoyment.
Overall, I really enjoyed this, its an exciting adventure with a Sci-fi edge. It made me smile and gasp, turn the pages and keep reading. The pacing is great and in the end it becomes a great adventure.