Author: Arden Ellis
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: 12. April 2017
Rating: 4./5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT characters, PoC
Summary: Mal is a spy, a misanthrope, and a coward; growing up in the brutal Reaches has taught her that honor is a quality best left to the dead. Her latest mission: to hijack a cryo-ship carrying the brilliant daughter of the Sovereign King, and deliver her straight into enemy hands.
But when a vital component of the ship’s cryostasis system malfunctions, the only person who can keep the unconscious passengers alive is the woman Mal was sent to kidnap. Alone together on a ship of silent sleepers, Mal must remember that she and Aurora are enemies—or risk them becoming something much more dangerous.
Order here: LessThanThreePress
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This is an incredibly well written short story. It only has 17.000 words, but despite its shortness stretches over weeks and manages to portray this passing of time incredibly well. The story is mostly focused on the developing friendship and feelings between Mal and Aurora. Due to it being set on a ship where everybody else is caught in stasis and thus asleep they are of course the main focus. Since they are both very interesting characters, who are opposites in many ways, but quite similar in others, they manage to carry the story quite well alone and there’s still the looming threat to the space ship going on.
There are some allusions to Sci-Fi tropes, like that it’s set in space and there’s an intergalactic war going on, but for most of the book it doesn’t really feel like Sci-Fi at all. Like I said this story is mostly character focused, but it works.
The writing is gorgeous as well and I really enjoyed reading about Mal and Aurora. Despite the story being told from Mal’s point of view you got to know a lot about Aurora as well, which was really nice. I also love how they have really different background stories (Aurora who was never allowed to take care of herself vs Mal who was forced to do so) and still had really liked the other. I’m also a sucker for enemy to lover when there’s no absuse or other icky stuff going on, so this definitely was a great book for that.
Another thing I loved is that despite the repetitive and kind of circling feeling of the story, it never gets dull or boring. The pacing is incredibly well done and this book is definitely a lovely short story if you’re looking for a quick read.
My only problem with the book is that the ending is incredible abruptly and quite cliff-hanger-y, which felt quite jarring after all the gorgeous writing and getting invested in the characters. But maybe there will be a sequel at some point? I’d love to read it if there’s one anyway 🙂