Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller
A WOMAN ON THE RUN. A CAPTAIN ADRIFT IN SPACE. ONE OF THEM IS INFECTED WITH AN ALIEN PARASITE.
In this dark science fiction thriller, a young woman must confront her past so the human race will have a future.
Rosalyn Devar is on the run from her famous family, the bioengineering job she’s come to hate, and her messed-up life. She’s run all the way to outer space, where she’s taken a position as a “space janitor,” cleaning up ill-fated research expeditions. But no matter how far she goes, Rosalyn can’t escape herself. After too many mistakes on the job, she’s given one last chance: take care of salvaging the Brigantine, a research vessel that has gone dark, with all crew aboard thought dead.
But the Brigantine’s crew are very much alive–if not entirely human. Now Rosalyn is trapped on board, alone with a crew infected by a mysterious parasitic alien. The captain, Edison Aries, seems to still maintain some control over himself and the crew, but he won’t be able to keep fighting much longer. Rosalyn and Edison must find a way to stop the parasite’s onslaught…or it may take over the entire human race.
Published: October 15th 2019
Alcoholism, Murder, Domestic Abuse, Blood Depiction, Mutilation, Sexism, Body Horror, Gore, Sexual Assault
Zeller did a great job with this. Every character had a distinctive voice and her voice was anxious when it needed to be, creepy when called for… she just hit all of the emotional beats. That and considering I had the speed at 2.1x… that didn’t hinder my experience at all.
In my pursuit to get outside of my genre comfort zone, I give you Horror. Sci–fi Horror to be exact. And I had heard/seen an array of mixed reviews of this one and I won’t lie– the cover was what had enticed me to ignore said mixed reviews. And I have no regrets, I had a good time with this one.
We’re following Rosalyn who’s running from something, chasing away her sorrows with alcohol and doing her job cleaning expeditions gone wrong as a space janitor. Of course, she’s caught drinking on said job and has one more chance to prove herself before she’s fired… but of course things aren’t easy, right? Throw in a dash of an unidentified parasitic alien who’s abducted an entire ship and its crew with Rosalyn stuck aboard and its a dash to safety and uncovering the truth.
The premise of a space janitor? The gore and trauma of it all just… wow. And it’s made known that this isn’t an easy job on the brain, but with the transparency when it comes to what is discovered on these cleaning shifts… it was vivid and Roux did not hold back on the descriptions. There were times I was left mouth agape because… ew. Gross.
And the setting gave me claustrophobic with a side of helplessness. The alien coined Foxfire is everywhere and it made me wonder for a time or two– where is a safe place to strategize? You’re being watched from every angle, how can you outsmart something that is everywhere? Also, I’m probably not the first to give the comparison to Alien or The Thing, but considering I love those movies, I should’ve known I’d really enjoy this book.
But of course, what is a book without its characters? And I’ll say I liked if not was quite intrigued by each of our cast members.
❥ Foxfire – the parasitic alien, who I initially wasn’t going to go into detail with here, but honestly? It intrigued me. Going by Mother, she’s infected this crew and just wants to expand her family. The true embodiment of feeding off of peoples mommy issues.
❥ Rosalyn– our main character, someone who was taken advantage of by those who were supposed to be on her side, forced to run, someone who doesn’t think they’re brave, someone who genuinely has my heart. Roslyn is a survivor and though we don’t go deep into her backstory, we’re given enough to know where she comes from but can still see and hope she goes forward.
❥ Edison– The captain of the infected ship, Mothers favorite and the one who’s fighting back the most. Someone with grief of his own and regrets he can’t quite get over yet.
❥ Rayan – The scientist of the crew, who’s been trying to understand Foxfire and see if there’s a cure or anything to fight back. Probably the one who got it the roughest, he just… kick him while he’s down, right?
❥ Piero – the brute of the crew with some anger issues and the member that succumbed to Mothers influence the fastest.
❥ Misato– an older woman on the ship that I noticed hadn’t exactly succumbed to Mother’s forces so easily, who kept to herself and was ready to do whatever it took to have people know what had happened to them on the ship.
“‘Ikke gi opp,’ she told him, butchering the Norwegian. But she smiled and adjusted her sleeve, the door in front of them hissing open. It was time. ‘Fight back.'”
This book does handle very difficult topics here. When I tell you Rosyln had my heart, I mean it. Knowing someone with an alcohol addiction, seeing her struggle and need it just to get through the day, not even with the things she sees on the job but just in general, it hurt. It hit a little close to home and it endeared me to her more.
I will say there is a very prevalent conversation here that stuck very close to my heart – sometimes it is brave to run away. I feel that’s a message that isn’t explored much in books, or at least the ones I’ve been reading. It’s always shown that people that dive head first into situations, who solve the equations and put their lives on the line are the brave ones. But, what about those who protect themselves? Who have been through the most and finally put themselves first enough to remove themselves from a situation that is harmful on them? I appreciated that here.
The only real issue I had– and I’ll even chalk it up to a pet peeve– would have to be the romantic undertone/side plot that was trying to happen here. And in a way I can excuse it considering everything Roslyn had been through and is running from, but also… people are dying. You can’t really trust these people. Of course, I always throw the argument of high stress situations breed high stress reactions that can be erratic and complicated, but with all of the gore and death and fearing for your life and adrenaline that’s a constant here… I just don’t see where you’d find time to notice someones eye and the way they laugh, you know?
But! I had a really good time with this one. I was engaged, the story was there, it gave what I needed it to give at that moment and yes, I recommend. Coming from a newbie to the genre, of course.