Review: Passing Shadows by Anna Butler

Li Liang has found a berth to suit her: chief pilot and first officer of the all-female crew of an old space freighter, the Sappho. Then one ordinary, unremarkable morning, Liang retunes the Sappho’s communications systems just in time to catch the breathless, terrible accounts from Mars of the total destruction of Earth.
Earth’s a cinder. The unknown alien race that destroyed it has left Mars, too, in flames and is ravening outward from the solar system, devouring every human colony on the way.

Liang’s one of the few survivors, racing ahead of the Devourers, rescuing as many frightened, shocked people as she can. Will Liang and the pitiful remnants of humanity find a new haven, somewhere to start again? Or will she, too, echo the dreadful last message coming out of their dead home?

They’re coming. Oh God, they’re coming.

Li Liang is a shuttle pilot for the Sappho when Earth goes dark and the universe becomes a place to run and hide for those who survived the destruction of humanity.

This is a complex piece of writing, by a new to me author, following Li on a three part, 5 year journey through space, to find a place for the surviving humans to settle.

I was completely enthralled by this story. It has amazing world building, exceptional character development, and enough action to keep the story moving at a comfortable pace. There is a depth of feeling that places the reader in Li’s shoes as she experiences fears, heartache, and a few smiles along the way.

While not depressing, there is a gritty reality to feelings this story evokes. I sat with the disbelief that Earth, Mars, and the surrounding colonies had been destroyed, and the grim hope of survival beyond the first hours, weeks, months, and years. There is the almost-hope of finding somewhere to settle in, that kept the story from becoming too dark.

Told in three parts, each part brings something special in the descriptive scenery, and emotional challenges that all the characters in this story face. Not quite a love story, there is the relationship element as the story goes through each part of this journey.

Some readers may be challenged by the year jump, but I didn’t have any great difficulty with it. I thought it showcased the writer’s talent, and brought something new to the overall world building. Sure, I’d have loved this to be a full length novel. I loved the characters, the plot, and the writing style. I can see this being a beloved series, and will hold out hope that there will be more from Li and her band of merry misfits.

I’ve looked at the author’s catalogue of work and it appears this is the first FF pairing, with the other work being MM. I hope the author continues to write more with strong female leads, as Li is great character. I will definitely be checking out this author’s other work. It was a joy to read this story, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys space opera and sci-fi.

I received a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion

Find on Goodreads!

No comments:

Post a Comment