An author known for his historical fiction (as Christian Cameron) and historically inspired epic fantasy goes and ventures into Science Fiction. What to expect from a book like that? Artifact Space is classic space opera as it should be, drawing from Cameron’s expertise in assorted genres when it comes to pacing and story structure, presenting a fun and gripping adventure.
Many thanks to Will O’Mullane and Gollancz for sending me a review copy. All opinions are my own.
RELEASE DATE: 24/06/2021
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SUMMARY: Out in the darkness of space, something is targeting the Greatships.
With their vast cargo holds and a crew that could fill a city, the Greatships are the lifeblood of human occupied space, transporting an unimaginable volume – and value – of goods from City, the greatest human orbital, all the way to Tradepoint at the other, to trade for xenoglas with an unknowable alien species.
It has always been Marca Nbaro’s dream to achieve the near-impossible: escape her upbringing and venture into space.
All it took, to make her way onto the crew of the Greatship Athens was thousands of hours in simulators, dedication, and pawning or selling every scrap of her old life in order to forge a new one. But though she’s made her way onboard with faked papers, leaving her old life – and scandals – behind isn’t so easy.
She may have just combined all the dangers of her former life, with all the perils of the new… (from Gollancz)
OPINIONS: This is a fun, fast-paced space opera. Ultimately, it follows the beats of the genre to deliver a satisfying read without reinventing the wheel. I enjoyed Marca Nbaro as a leading character, her rigidness combined with a heavy dash of naiveté in many regards and a sprinkle of curiosity worked very well for me. She is a strong character, but not a flawless one, and her story is intriguing. I found her a great vessel to tell this story of exploration and danger.
I did feel a bit uncomfortable reading a story with the only PoV character being a Black women in a book written by a middle-aged white man. While the character in herself was one that ended up working for me, I am no judge of the representation more generally – which means I want to note it but not discuss in detail.
In terms of plot, this isn’t anything too special. It’s interesting throughout and it’s a fast read, and it’s compelling. I found it entertaining and I’m curious to read on in the series. I think this is very much a book to pick up if you tend to like space opera, and are on the hunt for a good book to take on holiday with you or spend a lazy weekend reading – it’s perfect for that. It’s not a literary masterwork, but it delivers exactly what it says on the tin, and that is perfect for what I wanted it for.