You Sexy Thing is a fun, quick paced, Space story involving a group of ‘retired’ war battalion teammates, a sentient ship mind in a biobody, several different and unique sentient beings who work cohesively together, an explosion on a space station, a trip to a prison world, a trip to a pirate colony, a grand escape, Empresses and heirs, love gone awry… and a lot of unanswered details.
Firstly: I did quite enjoy this story. It is filled with interesting characters, many different sentient beings, from different star systems, and we are given enough details about them to feel like we know them. Enough about their physical appearances, cultural differences, etc. The action is quite non stop, and the story takes several unexpected turns.
However, it fell short in a lot of ways too. More details on that later, where it might be deemed ’spoiler-y’.
- Story Pacing?
Story starts with a little scene setting, to get us familiar with the current situation, then takes off at a quick pace, hardly slowing down throughout. 7/10
2. Story character arcs?
I feel like the biggest, most noticeable arc we’re given is Atlanta, the Pax Heir, who being sent out to The Last Chance Restaurant; & thrown into the action without a clue how or why or what is happening- discovers she much prefers life out here with the crew, and in space, not knowing what will happen next – even considering they are faced with jail, then imprisonment or death by pirates. Continuing to when she discovers the truth, and is set free to follow her own choices and desires. Aside from that, it’s hard to feel like there was much character arc going on. 3/10
3. Story arc?
It’s a fun, quick paced tale, but… it ends with so many loose ends unaccounted for. Which points to lack of story arc. 3/10
4. Story writing quality?
Overall, it’s a pretty good story. But there’s a few dropped balls, and a couple glaring problems. Like making a big deal of the Florian being named Petalia NOT being female, using they/them pronouns… then calling Petalia ‘her’, in the middle of a section that is heavily on Petalia, and all filled with they/them. Whoops for the editor who didn’t have enough coffee to catch that one. 6/10
5. Story wokeness? ( tolerable / gag me)
Nothing that overtly made me want to throw the book away. And also having a variety of sentient beings, with a variety of open-minded attitudes. 10/10
6. Grates against my annoyances? (Use of the word ‘BEAT’)
Yay! Cheers. No deplorable use if Beat in this story. 10/10
7. Grates against my annoyances? (fictional words)
Moderate… the fictional place names are possibly too annoying, and the names border on it. Having said that – while there were Many fictional place names, and is filled with unusual being names, while they generally were hard to roll around in your mouth, they were not ridiculously complex and impossible to sound out. 5/10
8. Story romance level?
One of the (possibly) major plot arcs is a relationship between Niko and Petalia. But it’s all ‘in the past’ and only mentioned in throwback mode. No unnecessary sexual scenes, that have no place in the story, added just because. (*Having said that, it seemed like it was meant to be a major plot arc, but didn’t get developed or used and it just kinda flops like a wet noodle, feeling mostly useless.) 8/10
9. Story readability?
It’s an easy read, nothing too complex, and a manageable amount of characters locations, etc. 8/10
10. Story Completeness (did it end on a cliff hanger, or a see my next book!)?
This is where the book analysis falls flat. So. Many. Unfinished. Arcs. The book may not have ended on a ‘read my next book’ cliff hanger… but there are sooooooo many plot threads that didn’t get completed, surely there must be another book coming. And if there isn’t, well then it’s just really bad story telling. 3/10
11. Did the story cover familiar ground, or go new places?
Honestly, there was nothing in this book that was ‘new’. In fact when I read it, I kept having this nagging feeling like ‘wasn’t that character in some other books’? And, “wasn’t there a Alien just like that in this other book’?, and, so on. It felt like the author took samples from about 6 different familiar books, mashed them together, and made a story with them…. And Sure, it’s hard to be completely original. Everything has been done. I understand that. But this one was so much the same from other stories, it really was a distraction. 1/10
12. Was there anything I wanted to know that was left
About a million things, yes. 1/10
13. Things I really liked / or didn’t like?
My favourite part of this book – was the use of of the term ‘gentlebeings’. I loved it. Not ladies and gentlemen. Nor friends, , or fellow travelers. Beings that were cooperating and generally getting along out there in the great endless space – were Gentlebeings.
[that probably are considered spoiler-y]:
My lingering unanswered thoughts about the story:
- Tubal Last says he’s going to re-active the Holy Hive mind connection in Niko and the crew, so he can torture her with their deaths. But then he kills one of them, and hasn’t activated said connection
- Midway, we are brought up to speed on Niko’s relationship with Petalia. So it seems like there is a character arc for Niko regarding Petalia, as well as a story arc saving Petalia. In the end, Niko strictly speaking, doesn’t save Petalia. Nor does Niko repair her relationship with Petalia. Both the personal arc and the story arc shrivel up and go no where.
- The story starts with Niko getting herself and her crew out of the Holy Hive Mind, a fantastical feat. But near the end, it’s brought back, the Holy Hive Mind o looking for them, and they’re not safe.
- A major story arc seems to be for Niko to kill Tubal Last. But at the end, we find out he isn’t dead… and he’s still planning to capture her.
- We have a major plot arc with the story of Atlanta. A Paxian Heir, who is sent to Niko, for unknown reasons. Near the end, when they are returning Atlanta to Pax, the Empress promises she will tell them everything. But when we get there, we never find out why the Empress sent this girl to Niko. We are left with a nugget that the Empress has a personal interaction with Niko at one point in backstory, but why they bother telling us that? Unless there is another book in which it goes somewhere?
- Our ship, You Sexy Thing, is empirically tied to having to obey orders. But then it decides not to, and that’s the end of that. Seems… a bit of a stretch.
- Not once, but twice [maybe more!] we are meant to understand there is a mole in the crew; or a way that the Holy Hive Mind is learning all that Niko is up to. But nope, we get no clues or resolution on that plot detail.
Details that I have thoughts on:
- The ship seems a lot like the ‘alien’ tech ship from the Protectorate Series (by Megan O’Keefe). The Protectorate’s ship is built from nanobots. What we’re told about ‘You Sexy Thing’, is that the Bioships are grown, and living. Not much technical detail about that part of the process. In the story, the way the ship shifts spaces, build things, etc, from its material, is described much the same as Bero’s nanobot structure and shape changing.
- In the Transcendental Series (by James Gunn) there were Beings that were sentient plant life. I would almost bet he called them Florians.. Everything described here about the Florians, sounds like a carbon print from the other series.
- Also pretty sure there was a Pax (system) / Paxian being, in some book I recently read. (And of course there is K-Pax; and the Pax planet in Star Wars.)
- ‘Gates’ are used for travel, like in Protectorate series, and If I recall in this series, it’s mentioned that the gates were created by an ancient civilization… not unlike the science coming from an older ancient race in the Protectorate Series.
- Hive Mind is a thing from the borg from star trek.