Far from the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson
Published by Orbit on October 26, 2021
ISBN: 9780356514314
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera, Hard Science Fiction, Alien Contact, Cyberpunk, General
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased Book
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'Gripping and skilfully told, with an economy and freshness of approach that is all Tade Thompson's own. The setting is interstellar, but it feels as real, immediate and lethal as today's headlines' Alastair ReynoldsArthur C. Clarke Award winner Tade Thompson makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this unforgettable vision of humanity's future in the chilling emptiness of space.
The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having travelled light years from home to bring one thousand sleeping souls to safety among the stars.
Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake - and a profound and sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel. Its skeleton crew are forced to make decisions that will have repercussions for all of humanity's settlements - from the scheming politicians of Lagos station, to the colony planet of Bloodroot, to other far flung systems and indeed Earth itself.
'A gripping space opera with characters fighting for their lives aboard a dying starship. I enjoyed it so much and can't wait to see what Thompson does next' Martha Wells, author of the Murderbot Diaries'Simultaneously brutally grounded and wildly imaginative' Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of Children of Time
'Perfectly balances inspired universe building with both high-octane action and emotional depth' Big Issue
'Readers looking for a smart sci-fi mystery should snap this up' Publishers Weekly
'First-rate space opera from one of the genre's most exciting voices' Gareth L. Powell'Tade Thompson is a writer of enormous heart and talent. Just brilliant' Dave Hutchinson

Far from the Light of Heaven reminded me a lot of a closed room murder mystery. Think Agatha Christie for the Science Fiction genre. The premise was exciting, but the execution left me feeling just meh. The characters weren’t particularly memorable and as the story progressed, I wasn’t bothered about how the mystery was solved. Wooden characters and a plot that felt a little convoluted, to me at least. The threads of the story should have been tied together in an understandable spectrum of events, but I was left confused and annoyed.

The prologue got me very excited about the potential of the story. Far from the Light of Heaven gave me a lot of Alien franchise vibes. So much can go wrong in space – no one can hear you scream, even more so when you are in a deep sleep and being transported into the cosmos. As some of the crew awake, they discover that a massacre has taken place, and an investigation into the who and why must take precedence. The captain, Shell Campion is one character I enjoyed reading about, she slid into the confines of the character with practiced ease.

Shell Campion is a character with grit and determination. She carries out her duties with passion and takes her responsibilities seriously. So, when she discovers the mutilated bodies of her passengers, she knows that she must do everything she can to get to the bottom of it. She has the perfect balance between conflict and problem-solving. Like I say she was my favourite aspect of the story, unfortunately, it was hugely let down by the abrupt way the story was concluded. The pace quickened unnecessarily, and I felt the ending was just placed on the reader’s lap without any pre-warning.

As I stated previously, I wanted to enjoy this one more than I ended up doing. It had all the hallmarks of a spectacular sci-fi story but fell flat with the questionable science, unimpressionable characters and the writing came across as a bit staccato. This could be a book for you, so don’t let my review influence your enjoyment, but it was a bit hit and miss for me.