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Intriguing, bizarre, and complex space adventure crippled by poor writing and inadequate editing.


All they could see were the ashes of the stars

“True Cold,” D.S. Lynch’s debut novel, is great statement for the importance of a good editor. All the components for a compelling novel are present, except for good writing. Complex and well-considered plotlines, meaningful pacing, and character depth are all lost under a flat writing style which utterly fails to suck the reader into the world.

The crew of the Alice Zhang awakens from a false reality to face the very real problems of virtual versus physical living and of traversing inhabited space.


I love the ideas that this book is built on. The exploration of different ways time can be perceived, and the impacts such differences would have on social – and practical – interactions, is complex and fascinating. Lynch clearly put a great deal of thought into the plot of this story, evident in the layers of character interaction and conflicts that arise throughout the narrative.


Sadly, terrible writing and grammar render the book mediocre at best. Some grammatical nuance may simply reflect dialectical differences between the author and reviewer, but for the majority of problematic instances (improper quotation mark use and frequently using the wrong form of words like ‘to’) this seems unlikely. Though descriptive, the author’s language fails to weave the layers he's developed into a cohesive and engaging narrative. The result feels shallow and blocky, with plot holes and undeveloped characters. For a book so heavily based on time dynamics, its pacing is surprisingly unhelpful. Rather than feeling the enormity of the massive spans of time traversed, it feels like glimpsing snippets of images through the windows of a passing train.


It’s a shame the book appears not to have seen a good editor, as nearly all of the aforementioned issues could have been resolved by that process, resulting in an amazing epic with theatrical and absurd flavors. As it stands, this bizarre and different story is best suited for readers passionate about space, appreciative of oddness, and unconcerned by poor grammar and the other elements of less than stellar execution mentioned above. Personally, if it were a stand-alone novel, the depth of thought that went into the plot would make it worth reading. Some may be willing to attempt the series. I, however, don’t have the patience to wade through a part two.

Reviewed by

I love thrillers and suspense, and Reedsy has kept me inspired. In 2020, though my focus will be on creating my own original stories, I will continue to write reviews through the same lens as I hope others will consider my own writing in the future. Happy Reading!


All they could see were the ashes of the stars

The Book


About the author

She spent over twenty years running technology companies before turning to her real passion: science fiction. view profile

Published on December 31, 2021

Published by

90000 words

Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by