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.Blurb from Far From Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson
I’ve chosen to share the blurb as that’s more information than I had going in, and if you’re curious, I’d suggest going in coldish…
I will say that what sold it to me was being told that it’s a horror in space, which it is. It also starts as a locked room mystery.
Far From the Start of Heaven has many elements to enjoy, like the characters’ backgrounds and how they interplay, but the construction and the layering let it down.
There are jolts in the narration to move it along rather than slick reveals. They felt jarring, and I was expecting better. The writing had me speeding along, and then a choice was made, and I got mentally shifted in a huh rather than an ahh way.
There were some nice ahh moments too. That’s what makes this a complicated book to explain. It’s great until it’s not. It’s satisfying until it isn’t.
Towards the climax, something about the writing shifts from clear to vague. This gave it an unfinished and dissatisfying quality.
I did feel connected to the central character and her journey and got unexpectedly teary at the end.
Overall, this felt like an undercooked and failed experiment.
I really wanted it to be better than it was.
As the author is a Clarke Award Winner, I’d still like to read Rosewater and/or his shorter works to see how he handles stories in general.