As the biggest mega fan of Lydia Kang, you know I would be all over Toxic. Lydia Kang + SF + meets conscious ships. I was sold before I even opened the book.
Cyclo, the first and largest biological ship of its kind, is dying. A small crew of mercenaries have handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship, but the abandoned ship is anything but abandoned—one girl has been left behind.
Hana has known nothing but the isolation of a single room and the secret that has kept her there for seventeen years. When she meets Fennec, the boy assigned to watch her, she realizes that there is a world she has yet to experience but she is doomed to never meet.
When crew members begin mysteriously dying, Hana and Fenn realize that they are racing against the death of the ship to find a way to survive—unless someone kills them even before Hana’s truly had a chance to live.
Purchase links available HERE!
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
It was pretty clear I was going to love Toxic. It has all the elements I love: Lydia Kang, science fiction, a diverse main character, aliens, thriller vibes, and conscious spaceships. What else could I really want? I actually don’t know how this book could have been any better. It is one of those perfect storms where the universe plucked elements from my head to make me the happiest person ever.
There were so many sentences I had to highlight. Kang’s writing has this un-explainable quality for me. It pulls me in, almost like gravity. There are sentences that just hit this emotional sweet spot, or are written to perfection. Or are just downright funny.
I adored Toxic for so many reasons but here are my top:
- Cyclo is a complex character of a ship and I would love like a whole series on this concept of a conscious ship.
- The thriller vibes here keep you reading. They subtly hook you in the beginning and when it goes full swing, you are biting your nails. The tension and fear! There’s not only this countdown in the book about how much longer the ship has, but a whole other twisted layer.
- The romance is super cute. It his this urgency to it, while still feeling genuine. You never get this feeling that the only thing holding them together is their mutual fear of death. There’s a real feeling of each seeing each other for the first time.
- Each of them, especially Fennec, has his own past, his own life. He doesn’t feel like a prop. He has secrets, family, and more that tie him to his life.
- I adored the main character, Hana. She is connected to her heritage, even though she isn’t a typical human. There’s all these gaps to her history, her culture. I feel like that all the time. Like I have stories, or even artifacts, but I feel disconnected, like they don’t feel like mine. As if I can’t own them. I can only touch them from the outside.
- I adore how they have this reverence and love for antique things. Like ticking watches. Maybe it’s because I have the soul of an old person, but I also love the idea of these things. The idea that there was a time when they only had these mechanical objects to measure time. When time was more tangible. And fallible.
- A theme in the book was if we have to prove to the world our right to exist. You can take this in the way the book presents it, as Hana’s desire to prove herself useful to the crew of the ship. But it’s an idea that I think about a lot. What rights, what are we deserving of in this world?
About the Author
Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.
A signed copy of TOXIC plus a swag bag, including enamel pin, signed print of a hand painted TOXIC artwork, bookmarks, and signed book plates. Open in US only (a $20 Amazon e-gift card will be substituted for an international winner)
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