Title: Do You Dream of Terra-Two? (review copy)
Author: Temi Oh
Genre/Themes: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Survival, Character Driven
Blurb from Goodreads
A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.
It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is a sci-fi novel that uses an alternative history to tell the story of how humanity hopes to populate a far-flung habitable planet named Terra-Two because our own earth is slowly dying.
The book uses alternate viewpoints of the six youngest crew members of the spaceship Damocles to tell us the story of this space flight to another solar system. These six characters are graduates of a prestigious school that trained only the brightest and the best with one target in mind; that of taking to the skies for the twenty-three year mission to Terra-Two.
This is very much a slow burning read that focuses a lot more on character rather than action. In the beginning it’s a little difficult to fully engage with each of the six characters because the points of view are never written directly from the first person perspective.
However, ultimately I really liked this style of narrative and found that it actually really works to tell this particular story. The slight detachment from the characters really added to the closed atmosphere of the spaceship environment and heightened many of the tensions that came to fruition with living in such close quarters to other people.
I very much enjoyed that each of the main characters were quietly flawed and were not always likeable. And I liked how each of the characters had their own story arc relevant to their personalities and how by the end I truly felt like I had been on a journey with them.
I did think that perhaps the book was a little too long at times especially as the real action of the book didn’t happen until the 70% mark and this is a book with more than 500 pages. However, I wasn’t ever bored once and was always 100% invested in the storyline.
I’m a big fan of the ending of the book. It leaves room for the reader to imagine endings they might themselves imagine for each of the characters but without leaving the ending too open-ended. I was very moved by some of the actions of the main characters during the last few pages and had to wipe away a few tears as I closed the book.
Recommended to those who like slow burning character studies.
An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster UK Fiction, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.