Author: Johnston, E. K.
After escaping her abusive family's interstellar merchant ship, seventeen-year-old Pendt lands on a remote space station run by the Brannick twins, and together they make plans to thwart the destinies they never wanted.
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/15/2021 To be born on a generational merchant ship, as Pendt was on the Harland, is to live and die there as part of its crew and to produce the next generation of Harlands to do the same. With decades sometimes passing between station stops, each person aboard must earn the oxygen and calories they consume, but Pendt has long known that her family considers her worthless, possessing neither the star-magic needed to one day captain the spaceship nor a mathematical or electrical gift to keep it running. No, she is a gene-mage, who will only prove useful once she turns 18 and can be contracted out to bear children. Johnston gives readers a dystopian space drama that blends the spirit of Firefly with the heart of The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a rewarding read that reflects on human trafficking, the value of human life, and the ethics of gene editing, all posited within the personal framework of almost-18-year-old Pendt’s sudden bid for freedom during a station stop and the two brothers committed to helping her. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2021 Gr 9 Up—Pendt Harland has only known life on her family's generation ship, traveling through space delivering ore and miners. Everyone is born with a magical ability, but when her family discovers that she is a gene-mage she is deemed useless and essentially starved until she can be sold to another ship. When the ship docks at Brannick station, Pendt sees her opportunity to escape and soon meets Ned and Fisher Brannick, the twin brothers running the station. Through some complicated legal maneuvering, they help protect Pendt from her family and she gives Ned the opportunity to join the resistance fighting the empire. But they know that one day Pendt's family will come back for her. The worldbuilding in this novel is phenomenal. Space opera fans will enjoy the backstory, station features, and technology, though other readers might find it overly descriptive. Pendt develops a loving bond with the brothers, especially after the loneliness and abuse she suffered at the hands of her family, that readers will adore. However, everyone seems a little too happy to the point of it feeling forced and unrealistic. The ending is anti-climatic but hints at a sequel. Characters are cued as white and Fisher is subtly identitfied as trans. VERDICT Buy if you serve a large population of science fiction readers.—Cathy DeCampli, Haddonfield P.L., NJ - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.