Ahoy there me mateys! I am sorry to say that yet another book has been abandoned. I really, really wanted to like this one. It has an awesome cover:
The cover says “Kidnappers. Alien emperors. Psychic cats. And she’s out of coffee.” The psychic cats were of course what led me to pick up the book. It certainly started out strong. The first chapter was perfect. I liked the crew. I liked the premise of bad girl gone good only to have to go bad again to try and save her kidnapped sister. I enjoyed the silly tone at first. So the problem?
The first problem is that the main character, Eva, spends the entire book going from one bad situation to another and getting out of them seemingly based purely on luck and shooting her way out. It was fun at first but never seemed to progress towards the stated purpose of getting her sister back. For someone who is supposed to have all these “bad guy times” in her past, Eva came across as being naive and lacking common sense. Where was the cunning and logic? Where was the planning? This continued for the almost two-thirds of the book and the hopping around with no real purpose annoyed me. Also I am not down with so much lying to herself and her crew.
The second problem was the flatness of the book. There was too much focus on the supposed humor of the characters and their improbable situations. From of the cover blurb, I expected fluffy lightness but the humor fell flat most of the time. The character development, world building, and politics seemed practically nonexistent and the little there was made no sense. The Fridge and BOFA seemed to operate with no real method to the madness. Ye really didn’t get enough of the other crew member’s personalities either. I don’t always want other POVs but in this case I did want them. I wanted to know more about the cool, quirky crew who lived on the ship.
The third problem that is not the book’s fault was the Spanish. The author is Cuban-American and I am all for diversity in books. I am not saying it shouldn’t be there cause it should. I just found meself getting more upset that I knew I was missing jokes and nuance because I didn’t know the words. I wondered if the book would have been funnier if I spoke Spanish. If the book’s language has made up words then I assign them meanings and move on. Because it is actually in another real language, in this instance I tried to Google translate and used slang dictionaries to try to remedy me lack of understanding. Not much could be directly translated by me (probably cause I suck). I wanted to know what the chapter titles, bickering, and endearments meant!
The fourth problem with this book was the plot twist. I didn’t like it at all. I think others totally would but I just wanted something different. By page 286, I was just not feeling it and getting completely frustrated with Eva.
But the real problem? I know this is silly but I was promised psychic cats. There are 20 of them. And after the first chapter they do nothing. Literally nothing. The “leader” sits on some laps for scratches a couple times. What? I really wanted them to be part of the action, so I did something I don’t normally do and skimmed to page 317 until the cats reappeared. Again they do nothing and are just mentioned.
Had I not had so many other issues with the book, I would have gotten over the lack of cat contributions. But that was the final straw. Do they ever get used as anything but a macguffin? I couldn’t bring meself to finish and find out. I do think there be readers that would enjoy this. I really am devastated that I didn’t. Arrr!
Matey Mogsy’s review shows that she liked this book better than I did:
“But while I am glad that the story wasn’t over-the-top in its silliness, a part of me still wishes it had been more memorable. You’re not going to get a whole lot of world-building, character development, or to be honest, any kind of explanation for what’s going on. Still, nothing wrong with this one being a pure escapism read, so long as you go in knowing what to expect.”
Goodreads had this to say about the novel:
A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.
Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.
But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.
To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.
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