Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: Planetfall

In the last few rounds of buying books, I always just missed picking up Emma Newman’s Planetfall. But finally, there was nothing else that I could find at Foyles that I wanted and added this to the pile.

Sadly, I kind of wished I left it on the shelves because I didn’t like it at all.

I had the same problem with the main character (Ren) that I did with Phoenix in Book of the Phoenix, in that I found her a bit unbelievable. Ren is supposed to be highly intelligent but throughout most of the book is highly irrational. And maaaybbee that is because of some trauma that happened earlier before the book starts, but I dunno. It didn’t seem very believable.

Also how the whole colony, chosen because of various specialist skills (or money) seemed also remarkably ready to believe random bullshit. And even the traumatic event that two of the characters are hiding most of the time is kind of ridiculous and unbelievable. What was most unbelievable was the stupid ending. Which was stupid. As well, the colony that they form are just full of all the petty human nonsense that we all put up with. I think I’d expect more from a group of humans on another planet. I just found it all a bit contrived.

Also, it was all the stuff about faith that made me tune out completely and just basically think “oh for fuck sakes” over and over again. Luckily it comes on quite quickly at the end so I didn’t have my inner monologue of fucks for very long. Even that ending was deeply unsatisfying. Basically, the entire book was unsatisfying. So yeah.

But not offensively so. It was at least short and was told in a way that didn’t drag. But that doesn’t really make up for the unsatisfying direction of the plot. I think it hangs a bit too much on the seeming mental illness of Ren to unravel everything when I don’t think she would have lasted that long (there’s lots of monitoring and stuff and they have embedded chips in their brains.) It also passes the test as there are a lot of women characters (like Ren, Kay, Suh) who are all important and smart and capable (mostly). There’s a host of minor characters with 2 main male characters.

But I don’t think I’d recommend it. It was too…unbelievable. I just got taken out of the world too often – most of the times with an “oh for fucks sake”. The main character was mostly unlikeable and the raft of others somewhat unbelievable. I was very disappointed. There was too much mystery and too little pay off when that mystery was finally resolved.

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