The Planetsider, G. J. Ogden – Book Review (Neverland Blog Tours)

Hello humans! Welcome to my stop on the Neverland Blog tour for G. J. Ogden’s book The Planetsider, a YA science fiction/dystopian novel which explores the idea of self-discovery and belonging with a hefty dose of intrigue thrown in. It has a whole host of characters, themes and ideas, some of which were new to me in a science fiction context. Without further ado, here are my thoughts:

The Planetsider G J Ogden

Goodreads Summary:

Several generations after ‘The Fall’, the scattered clusters of civilisation that grew in its wake live in ignorance of the past. No-one wants to know what caused such devastation or why. No-one, except Ethan.

Ethan used to believe in the guardians; mysterious lights in the sky that, according to folklore, protect the survivors, so long as you believe in them. But the death of his parents shattered his faith and forged within him a hunger to know more. One night, a light grows brighter in the sky and crashes to the planet’s surface. Ethan then embarks on a heartbreaking journey in which harrowing discoveries unveil the secrets of the past, and place him at the centre of a deadly conflict.

Powerful, thought-provoking and emotionally absorbing, The Planetsider is a gripping, post-apocalyptic thriller that will keep you hooked until the very end.

Find The Planetsider on Goodreads

I’ll start by talking about characters since this is a science fiction novel driven far more by character than it is by facts and scientific explanations (part of the reason I would be more tempted to shelve this with post-apocalyptic novels rather than science fiction per-say). Since there are (broadly speaking) two settings in this book, it’s so important to set up two very different kinds of characters. I thought that this was something the author did well. The difference between Ethan and Summer, who had been brought up on a ravaged planet plagued by ‘roamers’ (kind of zombies) and Maria and Kurren, who hail from a colony in space (an oversimplification but that’s the best way to describe it for these purposes) is clear not only from the differences in their dialogue but also in the way they respond to certain situations.

There are a few moments where some of the male characters are a little bit sexist, there’s discussion of how ‘cute’ a female character is and at another point, a different character’s skin is described as the colour of ‘pale honey biscuits’. That may be an apt descriptor for the colour, but descriptions of women where they are made akin to food make me a little uncomfortable. That’s a matter of personal preference and someone else might read this in a different way. I did consider that this could be a deliberate characterisation, particularly in the former example, in which case it ’s a little different. It also helps that the female characters come across as being aware of, and annoyed by the sexism, so it is called out in a way, which is less annoying. Sexism in books is complicated sometimes, let’s leave it at that.

Romance, because there is some, let’s talk about everyone’s favourite topic ‘insta-love’, in this book the ‘love’ isn’t quite instantaneous, but it is certainly fast-paced, two characters who haven’t met or been aware of the existence of one another are essentially in love by 40% of the way through this book. I think one must factor in the context in these situations, by that 40% mark these characters have faced near death together quite a few times which could account for the fast-formed bond between them. I thought that the way this relationship was explored in the last 100 pages or so was far better than the set-up. So, it isn’t quite insta-love but it is fast romance and that’s such a subjective thing I don’t think I can comment further, forge your own opinions humans, I believe in you

There are some wonderful stand-out details in this book. The first of which is the moment our two space-based characters (Maria and Kurren) see a sky for the first time. Not just the sky, any sky. That was such a great way of quickly explaining the background of these two characters and the different world from which they came I flagged it up as one of my favourite parts within the entire book.

I would also commend the last 100 pages or so, which is where the plot really kicks into gear and things get profoundly more perilous and interesting. I won’t spoil anything, because I’m not cruel, but this does have one of my favourite tropes within a book, the idea of multiple parties vying for the trust of the main character. It’s here that the theme of belief and faith (not necessarily religious faith, but faith in an idea, an ideology or in an individual) is explored in the most comprehensive way.

I enjoyed reading this book, though parts of it were not exactly to my tastes, and I think that for some people this will be an ideal read. If you like character driven science fiction and you are looking for something not overly taxing I would recommend picking up a copy of The Planetsider.

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Don’t forget to check out the previous stops on the blog tour and the following ones as well!

What do you think of The Planetsider? Is it something you would read? Let me know in the comments below!

J

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