Review: The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on May 1, 2023 | 0 Comments

Review: The Scourge Between Stars by Ness BrownThe Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown
Published by Tor Nightfire (4.4.2023)
Genres: Adult, Horror, Science Fiction
Format: Paperback, 176 pages
Source: From Publisher

4.5 Stars

Ness Brown's The Scourge Between Stars is a tense, claustrophobic sci-fi/horror blend set aboard a doomed generation ship harboring something terrible within its walls.

As acting captain of the starship Calypso, Jacklyn Albright is responsible for keeping the last of humanity alive as they limp back to Earth from their forebears’ failed colony on a distant planet.

Faced with constant threats of starvation and destruction in the treacherous minefield of interstellar space, Jacklyn's crew has reached their breaking point. As unrest begins to spread throughout the ship’s Wards, a new threat emerges, picking off crew members in grim, bloody fashion.

Jacklyn and her team must hunt down the ship’s unknown intruder if they have any hope of making it back to their solar system alive.

My thoughts

Don’t open the door.

Okay, this was awesome!! I love pretty much anything set in space, but space horror is about my favorite sub-genre (maybe tied with Japanese fantasy) and it’s SO hard to find good ones. (Or any in general – give me recs!!)

This book gave me major Alien vibes, and Jack is totally the new Ripley. It even had an enigmatic android sidekick, Watson. I freaking loooved Watson! It/she was by far my favorite character. She reminded me a lot of David (Michael Fassbender) from the Alien franchise, because half the time you didn’t really know where she stood or if she was a hazard or not. I was highly intrigued by her from the very start. I love that Jack warmed to Watson and developed a bond as the book went on. View Spoiler »

This book was INTENSE!! There were so many scenes that had me on the edge of my seat, wide-eyed and wholly engrossed. I was gobbling up pages because I didn’t want to put it down! It’s a novella, so it’s super short and fast paced, making for an easy read. However, despite it’s short length, it didn’t feel like it was too short. The world was fleshed out, the plot moved smoothly, and it never felt rushed like some short stories do. I’m actually kind of shocked at how well developed this book was for the fact that it’s only a little over 150 pages. It felt like a full length novel. It didn’t leave me wanting. The pacing was perfect!

As far as space horror books go, I was highly satisfied with this one. The setting was tense, the alien monsters were terrifying, and there was just enough of a mystery surrounding them to keep you wanting more. I also appreciate that we never get a full head-on look at them, the snapshot is a bit vague which means your imagination fills in the gaps to make them even more terrifying. The setting was cinematic; I had no problem picturing it all in my head. The ship was described perfectly to put me right there on deck!

Also, POC + LGBT rep! The main sorta-romance is F/F, and although I didn’t feel the chemistry because it was already an established relationship at the start of the book, I really appreciated that romance took a backseat to the action. It was just a sweet little side note to add a bit of gentleness to an otherwise brutal story.

Thank you so much to Tor Nightfire for sending me a copy!!


Overall Assessment

Plot: 5/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 4.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World-building: 5/5
Pace: 5/5
Feels: 3.5/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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