Title: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow
Author: Mary Weber
Blurb: Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet. Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.
For Miguel, Earth’s charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.
This book is a call out to gamers, dystopian and sci-fi fans, alien-lovers, inter-galactic politics junkies, trafficking-fighters, dreamers, family, love, and cliff hangers.
First of all, I’m not a gamer–but I do adore all of those other things. That said, the gaming beginning of the book started off with me trying to figure everything out. But, fear not, if you are not a gamer, Mary Weber is awesome, so continue. (Check out our interview with her here.)
Here are the things I liked:
Once the story got more relational and personal (meaning: more backstory), I was caught up in it. Mary has a unique artistic storytelling style and overall did a great job creating tension between Sofi and her mom; the protective sibling relationship between Sofi and her missing brother, Shilo; the fine line of love and hate raging between the Miguel and Sofi, and the mystery & whodunit questions — Aliens? Those in earthly power? Friends? All of the above?
Being the international buff that I am, the intergalactic cultural aspects of the aliens thrilled me (total culture nerd!) Ha! Loved the exchanges, their skills and strengths, and that wonder behind them. As a self-proclaimed ambassador of sorts (tck/I travel frequently) I longed for good relations between the aliens and humans. I even hoped for things between them that sadly didn’t happen. Alas, it could not happen in this story. But maybe in the sequel????
On voice: Miguel’s and Sofi’s voice were fun to listen to, both had agency, and I liked them both. They both had a slightly older feeling, but it worked–its the future and they both had really hard lives that made them grow up and act older.
On pace: The first 25% was an even pace, but after that it was downhill and fun.
On themes: I love seeing the heart behind an author. Weber does a great job reaching into bigger issues. She hits on moral character either eroding or transforming, saving or destroying. (Miguel’s character development/backstory was my fav!!!!) She approaches the issue of trafficking, raising questions and demands. She vulnerably goes into family dynamics and how it effects everything– past, present, future. There is redemption, power, conviction, and hope all weaved into some crazy teens who are willing to take a risk.
On the ending: It’s a cliffhanger. But the only way I can describe it is that it felt artsy… Anyway, it set up a good story and I loved having a different kind of book to read. It is very atypical. I’m excited to see where the next book goes!!
So I have hit one of the books on the SP Summer Reading Challenge List. Check the others out here. Happy reading!!!
Nova, signing off.