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Summary

Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cookfire.

Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, whom they consider to be less than human.

When the autopsy of Matilda's sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother's suicide some quarter century before, Aster retraces her mother's footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she's willing to fight for it.

©2017 Rivers Solomon (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Wonderful

This was not only a beautifully written work, but also exquisitely rendered by the voice actor. You would be foolish to not listen to this magnificent story.

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Heart-stopping, beautiful, wonderful

This book blew me away. By the end of the first few chapters I was completely hooked and barely paused in my listen-through. I cried out multiple times when listening (in anger and sadness but also with joy), there were several minutes in which I practically stopped breathing without realising until the crisis had passed. Overall it's simply the best book I've ever read.

In an incredibly rich and vibrant world populated with an effortlessly real and diverse cast, the plot drives the book forward inexorably. I was totally lost in the world and driven along with Aster (the protagonist).

The review this got in NPR said "its only imperfection is that it ended" and I couldn't agree more.

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Profile Image for NMwritergal
  • NMwritergal
  • 15-10-17

Ambitious and Original

With an audio book in particular, I want to listen to something with a complex plot and characters. But this was a little too complex for me, and I often found myself confused. When reading on the page, if you drift off and realize you’ve missed something important, you can easily go back and reread. It’s far more difficult on audio. So probably some of my confusion came from not listening with 100 percent of my attention, which this book definitely requires.

Lots of lot of brutality--well, the premise is the "brown people" live on the lower decks of this ship that's been in space 400 years and they're pretty much slaves. When reading an actual book, you can skim if you have difficulty with graphic violence, sexual or otherwise. Again, hard to skip on audio. All you can do is fast forward and possibly miss something pertinent within the scene you don’t want to listen too. At this point in my life, I can’t stomach much violence and can stomach zero sexual violence. This had a lot of both.

I imagine many will find this a 4 or 5 star listen/read. It’s certainly ambitious and original. And if you're looking for something with diversity of all kinds, this will fit the bill.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Ari Georgsson
  • Ari Georgsson
  • 12-04-18

Love the concept BUT

I absolutely love the concept of this book. An entire society of people who for generations have been traveling on a space ship to find a new planet to call home after leaving earth. I love the questions posed to gender identity and sexuality. The class systems between the different levels of the ship. Though i absolutely loved the concepts and ideas presented i had problems with the storyline and the character development. I was really hoping to learn more about the history of how they had ended up on the ship(what happened on earth, where were they going?) but i suppose the idea is that they themselves don’t even know anymore. I also felt that the story was rushed from one event to the next with no context, at times i felt that i had skipped a few chapters or missed something because all of a sudden things had progressed so quickly without any explanation. I also found it incredibly difficult to feel anything for the characters because the character development was totally lacking and the main characters were so cold and mechanical.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Cathi
  • Cathi
  • 01-04-18

must listen

check for trigger warnings before you listen. this book explores and exposes many current issues, the way only science fiction can. beautiful and deep story. well worth a few listens.

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Profile Image for Always Right Man
  • Always Right Man
  • 08-03-18

Beyond Awesome

This book is beyond awesome. You should just read it without any further encouragement. You'll thank me later.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Brilynn24
  • Brilynn24
  • 30-01-18

A new standard for literature

Absolutely breathtaking. Must read. This is the kind of book that crawls inside your soul and lives within you for the rest of your life.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Alice King
  • Alice King
  • 04-12-17

Great book!

One of the best audiobooks I have had the pleasure to hear. I had previously read the book in print, but the audio added so much to my understanding of the story and the characters.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • 03-03-18

Wow

Rivers Solomon is a masterful writer. The characters are vivid, this a great read. I cannot recommend this more highly.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Dhara Simons
  • Dhara Simons
  • 24-02-18

Powerful

Incredible book, best narrator I've heard in years, stunning characters and plot. Radically inclusive and beautiful

0 of 1 people found this review helpful