September 15, 2015.
This novel has been referred to as a “medical space opera,” which seems pretty accurate. I would say it’s a sci-fi thriller, with a good amount of goofy comedy thrown in. The story follows Dr. Grace Lord, beginning with her first day of her new job on the Nelson Mandela, a medical space station. Her coworkers are an eclectic mix of personalities, including a group of soldiers bred to be half-beast – they are part gorilla, wolf and many more. The human characters are just as unusual, with many psychological quirks. Most interesting is the android character, SAMM-E 777, colloquially known as “Bud.”
Bud quickly forms an attachment to Grace – he begins to evolve, feeling strange human emotions that he struggles to process. This relationship and many others are explored in the first half of the novel, which is focused on character development and world building. There is plenty of drama, with interactions between the doctors. Even the space station itself has a personality, with a humourous streak. I really appreciated the depth of character – as a non-sci-fi fan, the characters were what pulled me through the futuristic story.
In the second half of the novel, adventure begins! (There are also a lot of exclamation marks). A mysterious ship docks on the station – and the medical team realizes that a deadly virus has been let loose. The balance between comedy and drama continues, especially in the banter between the various characters. There are also many interesting ethical questions about the future of medical research – the author clearly has a passion for her subject, as she is a doctor herself. Personally, my rating hovered around two stars overall, as it is not my chosen genre – however, it is impressively well written and filled with exuberant language, so I am rating it closer to 3.5 for readers of sci-fi medical thrillers. It is also the first in a series, so this is a great place to start.
I received this novel from Goodreads First Reads and the author in exchange for an honest review.