Book Review

An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon

An Unkindness of Ghosts, awesome title right, I thought so. Rivers Solomon is a new Author for me, in fact, this is her debut novel.
Image of book cover: An Unkindness to Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
When I first read the book jacket, it sounded quite intriguing, plus the title helped😊. I did not at first realized that it was a Sci-fi novel I was getting into. Until I began and part 1’s title read Thermodynamics, ha, well I love me some Sci-fi so on I went reading and I certainly was not disappointed.

This is a very short book, at least for me it is, but a very powerful book. In this book, we witness the portrayal of many stereotypes, including gender and race. We see how violence, the rich vs. poor breeds the enslavement of each other. It speaks to our own modern-day strife in both the social and political realms.

Meet Aster, she’s on a generation starship called the HSS Matilda, a spaceship organized, much like the antebellum South. This ship has been on its journey for centuries and appears to have no real destination in mind. Aster is at first glance an autistic, she sometimes misses the social cues around her, she also views herself as an intersex individual. Although those around her see’s her as something else. She’s someone who tries to control her emotions around others and doesn’t want to outwardly cause any trouble or bring attention to herself unnecessarily, at least in the beginning of this book.

The book opens with her having to amputate a child’s foot without heat or adequate equipment. As you read this book you will figure out many things about Aster that will make you want to just grab her and giver her a hug to let her know everything will be alright.

Aster removed two scalpels from her med-kid to soak in a solution of disinfectant. Her fingers trembled from the cold, and the tools slipped from her grasps, plopping ungracefully into the sanitizer. In ten minutes’ time, she’d be amputating a child’s gangrenous foot. This shaking and carrying on would not do.

But make no mistake Aster is a badass, she’s currently the medical doctor (self-taught) to those who need her help on the lower deck, where the dark-skinned resides. Yes, there are classes on this ship, the upper deckers and the lower deckers, the shade of your skin determines where on the hierarchy you reside, we must of, course, remember this is a spaceship, and so we see that the society operates on an economy somewhere between feudal laborer and outright slavery. With all this to deal with, there’s an asshole inline to the throne who already rules the ship with complete brutal authority. Sometimes the lower-deck residents go for days without heat and water as we’ll see happen more than once.

The guards and overseers, made me want to scream at the top of my lungs at times. I hated them so much that I had to put the book down sometimes and remind myself it’s a book, whew! luckily.

There are a few characters that will tug at your heartstrings in this book, Aster and her best friend Giselle for sure, oh man, wait until you meet her (Giselle), she’s an even bigger badass.

Finally,” said Giselle, rifling through a pile of papers. “It’s almost curfew. I was starting to think you weren’t gonna come here to – whatever it is you say you got to do every night, debrief or decompose.

I’ll say this, this book may be a short read, but not a fast read, in that it’s not fun and frothy, no, there’s nothing fun about this book, it will grab you and crawl into places you don’t want it to go.

I will say for those who will engage in reading this brilliant piece of work, brace yourself for the violence that is a constant threat, both physical and sexual. The portrayal of mental illness is evident here as well, as you will see. But this book is also filled with love and hope at its core and a reminder to us all, that we must never give up hope.

The ending will surprise you.

Find An Unkindness of Ghosts on Amazon and Google Play.

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