Series: The Pioneer #1
Published by HarperTeen (3.5.2019)
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 368 pages
When Jo steps onto Tau Ceti E, it should be the happiest moment of her life. After all, she’s been training for as long as she can remember to be a cadet pilot in the International Space Agency. She’s dreamed of the day she and her family would leave Earth forever and begin life as pioneers on a new planet.
But now she can’t stop thinking of everything that has gone wrong on their mission: the terrible accident that nearly destroyed their craft, that set their voyage back years, that killed her brother, that left her unable to fly…
As Jo struggles to live with her grief and figure out who she’s going to be now, she falls in love with her new world. It isn’t hard. Jo’s team is camped out by a pristine, tumbling river at the base of a mountain range that looks like huge prisms buried in the prairie. The soring crystal peaks transform every sunset into rainbows full of colors human eyes have never seen before. And that’s just the beginning. Tau offers Jo and her family a lifetime of beauty and adventure.
Jo throws herself into helping her team, lead by her commander mother, establish their community on this amazing new world. But just when she starts to feel like her old self again, she uncovers a devastating secret her mother has been keeping from her people. A secret that could destroy her family’s pioneering dreams…if they survive that long.
With the fate of the pioneers in her hands, Jo must decide how far she’s willing to go to expose the truth — before the truth destroys them all.
This was such a great debut sci-fi! It was definitely right up my alley. I went in not really knowing much and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! The beginning started out with a bang – I actually read this in the middle of a reading slump so I needed something to grab me right away and this one definitely did.
I absolutely love books about finding and colonizing new planets. I love seeing what authors imagine the future would be like or what other planets would look like. Looove! I was excited to see the world of Tau Ceti e, and it was cinematic! I had no problem picturing the world vividly in my head, and it felt believable and realistic. I don’t want to say too much more about Tau because I don’t want to give anything away! View Spoiler »I loved everything about the world, from the phytoraptors and the Sorrow to the fido trees. It was all so interesting and imaginative! I figured going in that the planet would already be inhabited. Crazy that they knew already and had chosen to colonize anyway! « Hide Spoiler
The world was definitely the selling point for me. I also loved the struggle with loss that the main character faced – View Spoiler »and grappling with the guilt over letting her own brother die to save everyone « Hide Spoiler – but more than that I loved that there was also a struggle with humanity, survival, and ethics. How far would we really go to survive? Will we ever know the answer to that until the question is staring us in the face? Definitely some food for thought!
The only thing that kept me from being fully invested in this book is that I didn’t connect to the characters quite like I’d hoped. I never really got a feel for any of the other characters except for Jo, and she was mostly defined by her grief. To be honest I didn’t really care much about what happened to any of them so I never felt that emotional connection that I crave in books. View Spoiler »The only character I was really interested in was Bob the phytoraptor. I would really love to know more about the phytoraptors! Also, confession: I didn’t bat an eyelash when Miguel died. Oops… « Hide Spoiler
While I didn’t connect emotionally as much as I was hoping to, I did really love the world that Bridget painted and the ending was KILLER so I’m super intrigued to see where she takes things in the next book!
Putting these feelings into words is like picking up shards of broken glass with my bare hands. It accomplishes nothing and leaves me shredded.
“There is no shame in sadness. Or pain, or anger. Just as wind and water hone rock, these turbulent emotions help us find our proper shape, making us stronger and wiser. But fear also has the power to shape us.”
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5