Satellite, Nick Lake Book Review

Hello space cadets. (Side note-if any of my readers actually are space cadets that sounds amazing and you should definitely let me know in the comments below.

Keen followers of this blog will know that, although I primarily review fantasy novels, I am prone to dipping into a little science fiction every now and then, often the two end up overlapping anyway and I would have missed out on so many amazing novels if I closed myself off just because I’m not that big a fan of spaceships.

So today I’m reviewing a Science Fiction teen novel called Satellite that is beautiful, powerful, fascinating and would have got five stars if it weren’t for one thing. Want to find out more? Read on…

Goodreads Summary:

A teenage boy born in space makes his first trip to Earth.

He’s going to a place he’s never been before: home.

Moon 2 is a space station that orbits approximately 250 miles above Earth. It travels 17,500 miles an hour, making one full orbit every ninety minutes. It’s also the only home that fifteen-year-old Leo and two other teens have ever known.

Born and raised on Moon 2, Leo and the twins, Orion and Libra, are finally old enough and strong enough to endure the dangerous trip to Earth. They’ve been “parented” by teams of astronauts since birth and have run countless drills to ready themselves for every conceivable difficulty they might face on the flight.

But has anything really prepared them for life on terra firma? Because while the planet may be home to billions of people, living there is more treacherous than Leo and his friends could ever have imagined, and their very survival will mean defying impossible odds.

There’s a film like this isn’t there? A young boy born in space goes to earth? I remember watching a trailer and not being particularly interested because it all centred on a romance plot. This book is everything that film could have been.

We have Leo, a male protagonist which is unusual for me, a boy born in space and waiting sixteen years to be allowed back to earth with his two friends, siblings who were also born in space. This book often feels like it’s doing two things, firstly it’s a powerful and incredibly moving story about home and about survival, secondly it’s an interesting thought experiment into how people born in space might feel if suddenly brought back to earth. It feels very well researched and considered, down to the smallest details and I imagine it could inspire a lot of young people into being astronauts themselves which is no bad thing.

But this isn’t a scientific tome. It’s more of a novel about people with some science as an added bonus. There were times when I was beaming from ear to ear (there was a dog) and there were times when I was wiping away copious amounts of tears (not because of the dog I hasten to add). It’s an engaging and powerful story that is…sort of well written?

What do I mean by that? Why haven’t I given this supposedly amazing book five stars?

Well…

The book is sort of written in text speak? As in, rather than writing the word ‘you’ Leo writes ‘U’. Similarly ‘see’ becomes ‘c’. Given that we don’t even use text speak that much since the advent of the touch screen keyboard this feels like an unusual choice. It wasn’t that it was difficult to read, in fact after a page or so it’s quite interesting just how quickly your brain adapts and you just read as normal. I also wouldn’t have minded if there had been some explanation for the text speak. Perhaps if that was explained to be how they typed on the space station or something? I just couldn’t perceive what the purpose was so it simply annoyed me and it felt like a way to get people talking about the book (which I suppose I am doing now so if that was the case well done.)

Honestly if someone can give me a decent, reasoned explanation for the text speak I will happily change my rating up to five stars because I absolutely loved reading this. I think it could become the favourite book of many young (and older) readers, I just need to understand why!

My rating: 4/5 stars

Satellite is available to preorder now and releases on the fifth of October if you want to see what all the fuss is about.

By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? Why is there text speak? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

J

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