Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the razor (J. Barton Mitchell)
Title: the razor
Author: J. Barton Mitchell
Publication Date: TODAY!! (hardcover/e-book)
This book takes place on the planet prison 11-H37, otherwise known as the razor. Those who are sentenced there stay there for the rest of their short lives. The prisoners are disposable tools used to mine the galaxy’s primary energy source. The more useful ye are, the longer ye might live. Gang affiliations are recommended and corruption is the norm.
This was just an okay read for me. I loved the weird prison culture that was set up. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t take place within that culture because a problem breaks out fairly quickly that leads to the evacuation of the prison planet and the breakdown of the social structure. The planet itself has an odd habitat in that there is a hot side and cold side of the planet with a small livable region in the middle of the two. However that region is becoming unstable and a small group of prisoners must try to get off the planet before the balance tips towards total annihilation.
The highlight of this book for me was in the characterization. I liked the six main characters that ye end up following. In particular, Key and Zane were favourites. The characters are what kept me reading. The book was engaging up until the half-way point and then slowed down significantly. Part of it was the gaps in plot structure and the other part was the unbelievably of the action sequences. I also didn’t like the ready-made romance elements. There is an evil monster that is conveniently added in so the main characters have a lot of chase scenes with last minute close calls.
What I wanted was for the characters to cleverly use their set of talents to escape. Instead there was a continual series of close calls and escapes by chance. The main characters should have died over and over again and yet none did. The plot was sloppy and the tech, while interesting, didn’t make sense.
And yet I did want the characters to succeed. And I did want Zane to get answers. So I kept readin’ to find out why. I didn’t get answers to Zane’s questions. But I did get an ending that I wasn’t expecting. The set-up for the next book does seem promising but I am hesitant to pick up the rest of the series because I didn’t like the plot elements. I think this book has potential but it just wasn’t completely to me taste. Arrr!
So lastly . . .
Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Brilliant engineer Marcus Flynn has been sentenced to 11-H37 alongside the galaxy’s most dangerous criminals. A hard labor prison planet better known as the Razor, where life expectancy is short and all roads are dead ends.
At least until the Lost Prophet goes active…
In a few hours, prison guards and staff are evacuated, the prisoners are left to die, and dark mysteries begin to surface.
Only Flynn has the skills and knowledge to unravel them, but he will have to rely on the most unlikely of allies–killers, assassins, pirates and smugglers. If they can survive each other they just might survive the Razor…and claim it for their own.
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