Hello Humans! Are you ready to head into SPACE? That’s right, if the cover image didn’t give it away – today I’m reviewing some science fiction. Do You Dream of Terra Two was one of those books that hooked me with an interesting concept but that took me quite a while to actually get to? However, I was stranded in the Peak district one weekend and it seemed like as good an escape as any so I picked up my Kindle and headed into space with these characters.
A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.
It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.
Content warning: Suicide
This book is being marketed as being some combination of A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet and The 100 and in a way, I can see that. It is certainly the character-driven science fiction of Becky Chambers and there are the character tensions of The 100 but this book has a lot of things those books don’t and likewise is missing some of the things those books do have. I pretty much always find that any book sold on a comparison will fall short of those lofty expectations, but in this case, I think it’s more that this book is different.
Is there a name for the sub-genre of science fiction that focusses on the ‘something has gone wrong and now they must solve the problem or die in the depths of space’? There must be because that is far too long. That’s almost the category in which I would put this book because certainly, a good deal of the tension in this story comes from the problems of being stuck on a spacecraft where things go wrong.
But what this book does on top of that is throw in some very human aspects to the story. As the content warning suggests, this book contains some very difficult human themes including suicide. It makes this a very harrowing story at times, these characters have more to go through than just dealing with space problems, but it also makes you as a reader have an even deeper connection with them. This book doesn’t shy away from the fact that, to be astronauts, you kind of have to also be geniuses. It would be easy, therefore, to either create dumbed-down astronauts or unrelatable geniuses. Temi Oh manages to create these very intelligent but also very human characters by showing how they react to situations that aren’t just space-related.
I’m finding it quite difficult to write this review, even though I did finish the book more recently than some other reviews I’ve written in the past. This is just a hard book to wrap your head around – and I mean that in a good way. It’s so much more than just a space survival book, it’s more than just characters cracking under the pressure, there’s something more hopeful behind it all, something hugely philosophical underpinning everything. It’s a book that requires a bit of processing – but never in a pretentious way.
If you enjoy science fiction I think you will like this, I’m still finding my feet in the genre so I can’t say for certain but I thought it was wonderful. But equally, if you’re as new to the genre as I am, but you know that you like these strange thought-provoking stories, then I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
I don’t want to say too much more, this is a book to discover for yourself, but I hope you will read it and enjoy it.
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Do You Dream of Terra Two? publishes on March 7 2019.
What say you? Is this your kind of book? Let me know in the comments below!