I’ll admit straight away 2 things: Opals are my favourite gemstone ever, so I was kinda already swayed when I found out that the MC of Chasing Solace was called Opal. And secondly, I’ve been really trying to get into sci-fi a bit more because I love it in film and TV (brought up on Red Dwarf) so when the opportunity to review Chasing Solace came up I jumped at the chance.
Ok, so first thing that I found out was that Chasing Solace was the second in a series, bummer. But the publisher was willing to send me the first book in the series too! Absolute winner!
I’m so glad that they did because I really enjoyed both books, but as this is a review for Chasing Solace I’m going to try to stick to mostly that but with hints of Lost Solace thrown in there for flavour.
I have to mention one thing that probably (actually) REALLY isn’t relevant to the review, but it irks me so I’m gonna have to come out and say it. Hey, my review, my rules.
Here are the two covers for the two books, Lost Solace and Chasing Solace. Notice anything different?
Yeah, me neither. Ok, yes, the colour has changed from blue to purple and the background has gone from ‘starry space’ to ‘planetary space’ but this is just so lazy to me. I get that a big publisher didn’t take these books on, and that the author/illustrator is probably trying to get the most out of the stock photo they bought, but I just can’t really get over this. I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover…but…urgh. This just irks me.
Luckily though, the story inside is way better than the cover and Chasing Solace is not an imitation of Lost Solace.
In Lost Solace Opal went through a shit load of awful stuff on a space ship in search for her sister Clarissa. In Chasing Solace Opal returns to a new ship with the help of an evolved AI called Athene to do much of the same. But please don’t let my awful summing up skills put you off, because although that is basically what it going on in Chasing Solace this is well and truly a book driven by action.
Of course there’s still all the usual sci-fi language because, well, this is a sci-fi book. But it’s not off-putting, so don’t worry about that! It’s a very character driven novel because Opal is pretty much our only human character, but her voice never really gets boring.
Chasing Solace has grit and determination, sci-fi, armoured suits, aliens, family ties, horror elements and so much more. It’s a real tour-de-force in a fun sci-fi romp. It’s gruesome in places (which is great) and it’s a hell of a lot of immersive, entertaining fun.
Chasing Solace can of course be read as a standalone, but you’ll probably be missing out on a few good bits from the first story. Especially as Chasing Solace picks up pretty much where Lost Solace left off.
Are there some pacing issues? Sure. Chasing Solace is nearly double the size of Lost Solace and it’s pretty much the same story, so…yeah, there’s a bit of a pacing issue every now and then, and perhaps the story could have been edited down a bit more. Especially as the plots are nearly identical.
But ultimately Chasing Solace is a great sci-fi experience full of fun and fear in equal measures.
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