Trigger warnings: PTSD, emotionally abusive family, mass death, toxic masculinity
***I received a copy of this book through TLC Book Tours from the publisher. All thoughts are uninfluenced***
Chilling Effect follows former galactic criminal Eva Innocente who, with her eclectic crew of La Sirena Negra, has abandoned her crime-ridden family to go straight. Unfortunately, when her sister is kidnapped by the largest space mafia in the galaxy, Eva must push her boundaries to get her back. But the deeper she goes, the more it looks like she’ll never come out.
I’m gonna say this straight up, y’all: this is what I wanted out of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. If you, like myself, were not a fan of the character-driven aspect of that book, this is the one to pick up. It has the fun, multi-species, land of misfit toys-esque found family, but with actual plot and action.
The biggest enjoyment for me in this book was the main character. Eva is just so much fun. She’s stubborn and impulsive but not in the way that makes you want to smack her. Plus, since the book is #ownvoices for the Cuban representation, there is plenty of of Spanish interlaced with the text. As a Spanish-speaking person myself, I loved seeing that (it’s mostly cursing, tbh lol), and am so happy that is becoming more normal in the publishing world.
This is also a super diverse book. We have: Latinx (Cuban), queer (no definitive labels but definitely several SSA characters), nonbinary/GNC, PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
I can’t get super into the plot because it gets real complicated at times, but all I can say is I read like 75% of this book in one sitting. It was addictive, and I cannot get enough of Valdes’ writing. Her character relationships didn’t suffer due to the strong plot, either. I really feel like I know each of the team, and even the minor characters and villains.
While the characters and plot are super vivid, there were a few things that I was just not a fan of. And these can even be called personal issues, honestly. There’s a large time jump at one point, which seemed like it was only used to extend the book a hundred more pages. It kind of threw off the pacing and honestly, we could’ve done without it. Also, after that time jump, we kind of just brush off one of the characters. Like, homeboy was a crucial part of the crew and we’re not even going to really discuss his absence? C’mon, man. I can only hope he comes back in the sequel, because the casual brushing off of him (especially because he was a great character in showing the effects of post-combat PTSD) was kind of annoying.
But honestly, overall, this book is officially on my list of favorite sci-fi books. If you are a lover of space opera, sassy characters, found family, and/or action packed plots, you’re going to adore this. I highly recommend this and cannot FREAKING WAIT until the sequel (CAN 2020 COME ANY SOONER OMG)!
Are you interested in reading Chilling Effect? What’s your favorite space opera? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Also, HUGE thank you to TLC Book Tours and Harper Voyager for having me on the lineup! Be sure to check out the rest of the tour (on blogs AND Instagram) here!