The Monster Goddess Book Club May Review: Horizon

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The Monster Goddess Book Club is run by Tash at The Bookie Monsters and The Book Goddess.

May Review: Read a book set in a different world/alternate universe

I chose Horizon by Tabitha Lord.

Summary of Horizon 

Caeli Crys isn't living--she's surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can't help but risk discovery to save his life.

Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His copilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he's only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.


As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek's command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers--full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli's unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.


*Summary from Amazon



Review

I received Horizon as an electronic advance reader's copy from Wise Ink Creative Publishing through Netgalley way back in October. The fact that I've only now just finished reading the book should give you some indication as to my opinion of the book. Let's just say it wasn't my cup of tea. I never really made a connection with any of the characters and the structure of the story bothered me.
 

The beginning throws the reader right into the story. I feel the author, Tabitha Lord, skipped over introducing the reader to the main character's world and just started with the inciting incident. We don't get any backstory or really any information about the main character Caeli's life before Derek crash lands on her planet until about Chapter 6. Then Chapters 6-8 are all backstory. This bugged me. I felt Lord could have spread this information out more. If I hadn't decided to read this book for a book review, that two chapters of backstory may have caused me to stop reading. As a fellow writer, I know it can be tough deciding where and how much backstory to reveal. The rest of the book follows this same pattern of flashing to Caeli's past and then back to the present. I think I may have liked this book better if Lord started with Caeli's past and let the reader simultaneously experience the changes in Caeli's life which lead her to Derek. 

I was wondering how Caeli and Derek were going to communicate with each other without speaking the same language. Lord pulled a good trick by having Caeli "cheat" and take the information of how to speak Derek's language from his head. Otherwise, though, I was underwhelmed with Caeli and Derek's relationship. Caeli and Derek keep claiming that Caeli's empathic abilities make it seem as if they've known each other for their entire lives rather than only a few days. As a reader, I felt cheated out of watching their relationship grow and develop over time.


I am more of a fantasy reader than a science fiction reader, but I still expected there to be more world building in the book. For the most part, the different planets the characters visit or discuss sound a lot like Earth. The people, with the exception of the Novali and their special powers, all seem remarkably human. This was a bit of a disappointment to me. If you're going to set your story on an entirely different planet, I'd expect there to be more things that are, well, different.


All in all, I made myself finish reading this book because I promised I would review it. I didn't think it would be fair to review a book without finishing it.

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