NB: I received this book via NetGalley, which doesn’t impact my review.
Every once in a while I find a paranormal series that I actually really like. It’s rare, and it’s kind of a weird thing because it doesn’t seem like a genre I should enjoy at all, but here we are. Last summer I thoroughly enjoyed Aileen Erin’s Alpha Girl series and signed up for her newsletter, which is what led me to the ARC of her newest book, Off Planet, the first in a new series, due to be published later this month.
Overall, I enjoyed this read and definitely am looking forward to the next in the series. It’s an interesting concept, decent world building, and a mostly likable main character. I liked that friendships were an important part of this story, and there was enough sass between the characters to keep me reading.
The pacing was good for the most part, but did somewhat drag in the middle where it felt like the torturing of Maite went on and on and on and ON. Consequently, the ending seemed more rushed to me as Erin wrapped up some loose ends, leaving a complete story that still has plenty of lead-ins for the sequel. I felt like more story could have taken place after Maite escaped, rather than literal chapters of her struggling to survive in a never-ending sequence of performing the same task repeatedly.
Throughout the majority of the book I admired Maite for her strength, stubbornness, loyalty, and determination to do the right thing. That’s why her sudden character change at the end of the book felt out of place. Trying to avoid spoilers here, but it’s not exactly a surprise to find out that Maite has A Destiny, and the way she wigs out about it honestly aggravated me. Like, you’ve spent the whole book being willing to do whatever it takes to protect the people you love, but suddenly your life is all about you and what you want and how hard your life is why does everyone always want you to do stuff blah blah blah. It really felt like the Maite at the end of the book was completely different from the Maite I’d read about for previous 90% of the story, and that frustrated me. I think the book may have flowed more smoothly if Maite had been less perfect throughout the beginning of the book – then her flipping out over her Destiny wouldn’t have felt as jarring.
A personal drawback to this story was the frequent swearing. I find swearing, especially f-ing things, to be 100% unnecessary, and it’s something that really brings down a book’s overall enjoyment for me. Erin’s characters had some of their own slang/swearing, and I would much preferred that to be developed and used as a way to express outrage and frustration, rather than just falling back on boring f*s. Obviously swearing doesn’t bother lots of people (maybe even most people), so that’s a personal thing. Otherwise, the book was pretty clean – no explicit sex scenes or anything like that.
I feel like I always spend more time on the negatives than the positives when I’m reviewing the book. Despite my griping, I really did thoroughly enjoy this story. I loved the creative setting, and I’m rarely against the trope of Evil Corporations Stealing Your Soul! – and it’s done well here. The alien aspect really fit well into the overall sci-fi vibe, and I personally love sci-fi that doesn’t spend too much time explaining the specifics of the sci bits haha Except for the slightly-repetitive middle (which, I’ll admit, does serve the purpose of showing Maite’s strength of character), the pacing was good, and it was definitely a book I wanted to come back to when I wasn’t reading it. While I’m little scared of the developing love triangle (please, let’s just NOT develop the love triangle, seriously), I’m overall super intrigued to read the next installment. The bummer about reviewing ARCs is you have to wait such a long time for sequels…
All in all, Off Planet was an easy 3.5* teetering towards a full 4*, and if you like your sci-fi on the lite side, this may be the read for you.
PS Have to say that this cover is SO much better than the original cover that I see floating around.