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Sand and Shadow

By

Loved it! 😍

The stakes for all space missions are always high. But the stakes for this one are higher than anyone first thought...

Emerging into a desolate atmosphere far away from all life, the protagonists have to find a way to survive against all odds. The very start of the mission is plagued with a grim feeling of "uh oh, this isn't going as we trained at all." Our heroes, stuck in a situation none of them are prepared for, are doing their best, but it wouldn't be a good book if success was just around the corner. They are tried and tested in what can only be described as a situation above and beyond code red. The end result is a gripping tale of adventure and action.


Let me begin by saying I absolutely loved this book. It took me two sessions to finish it and time flew as I metaphorically turned the pages. The writing is top-notch, the action brilliant, and the suspense is very well-done. And of course, the denouement was quite unexpected and action-packed. The author takes care to carry the readers along with the narrative into the minds of her characters. She fleshes all of them out, not just Adán. Each character's personality is examined through one chapter which goes over a small event in their lives before this mission.


However, this story should not be confused for a character drama. The book is a classic sci-fi horror story. I've never seen Forbidden Planet (which this story was inspired by) and so cannot comment as to how the stories match up, but Wikipedia tells me there are significant differences: this is not a copy-paste of the same plot. The book puts one into the shoes of the protagonist of a horror movie with the added disadvantage of being stranded light years from home. There is no time out, there is no escape. Their ship cannot turn around and go back. The crew of the Carpathia are totally and completely stuck. They have to find a way out of their predicament or die in the attempt.


This is not to say that the story is perfect, though. Quite a few of the cast were cookie-cutter, and some of them, touching as their back-stories were, did get my eyes rolling. They behaved like teenagers out in a field trip, not like a well-trained international team. The most unlikeable character in the book was cast in an extremely unflattering light. Without spoiling the book, I should say I had hoped there would be some level of rapprochement in the story, but alas, that was not to be. The part where the author gave us a reason to hate him is where I marked this story down a point. It is a classic example of lazy writing. It reminds one of Frank Underwood's introduction in House of Cards where he strangles a dog in the first 30 seconds of the first episode, just not as tastefully done. The half-hearted attempt at romance ought not to have been there either. It added little to the plot and was the part of the story which disengaged me the most.


But those are small flaws for a story written this well. The writing flows well, the plot is interesting, and the characters are well-done. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who's got a taste for sci-fi and written horror.

Reviewed by

Hello! I'm a PhD student working on health systems, but in my spare time, I am a voracious reader of history, philosophy, science, and most importantly, science-fiction and fantasy. I've maintained a Goodreads account since around 2015 or so and I try to review every book I get my hands on!

About the author

LAURISA WHITE REYES is the author of the SCBWI Spark Award winning novel THE STORYTELLERS and the Spark Honor recipient PETALS. She is also the Senior Editor at Skyrocket Press and an English instructor at College of the Canyons in Southern California. view profile

Published on September 06, 2021

Published by Skyrocket Press

70000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by