3 out of 5 stars.
I received an ARC of this work.
Boy does this one have me pretty torn.
Earth has received our first alien signal and, as a species that tends to want to poke every bear and press every large red destruction button we can find, there is some conflict over what we should do, but most of it involves going to check out the source before properly understanding what the signal is saying. The government is blockading the planet the signal is coming from, trying to be cautious, but there are plenty of scavengers and explorers leaking through.
Mia is one of those, a scavenger who is hoping to make enough off of this trip to save her sister. Jules is on the side of the UN. He is part of a cautious segment that wants to move slowly and carefully around a new planet strewn with alien tech and buildings. Jules and Mia are thrown together when both their separate missions go bad. Jules has a set of new coordinates that should lead them to a bigger treasure than anyone has ever found. Mia has the necessary skills to get them there. But other scavengers want a piece of the pie and we still aren’t sure the aliens want us poking around in their stuff.
This book is a very strange mashup of Indiana Jones temple robbing and science fiction. The first half has Jules and Mia puzzling their way through an abandoned temple, looking for invisible bridges, avoiding spike traps and reading glyphs off of walls. The second half is pure science fiction, with ships, teleporting and your brain filling in the sound of gun shots as the distinct “pew pew” from Star Wars. Some books really smoothly stitch together various genres (James S.A. Corey somehow perfectly melds science fiction, horror, and film noir detectives together). Others just slap something together and call it a novel. This book was somewhere in between. It is not a huge jolt going from one genre into another, but it is definitely not completely smooth.
The relationship of the two major characters takes the easiest and most obvious track towards romance. I thought too much of the book was about their relationship and not enough attention paid to the reaction and fallout of humanity discovering another alien species. Are teens really that obsessed with themselves and their crushes that they cannot put off falling in love when their lives are being threatened or humanity is having to complete rework itself and its place in the universe? Can we have less giggling and fluttering eyelashes and maybe more attention paid to something that is going to redefine every one of us? This is one of the things that really separates the standard teen novel from the incredible ones. Having realistic reactions to world-shattering events.
This slightly amused me but did not wow me.