Thursday 5 October 2017

Satellite, Nick Lake

spinning around the earth, endlessly. an orbit of devotion. nothing in the universe loves like the moon loves the earth.

Born and raised on Moon 2, Leo and the twins, Orion and Libra, are finally old enough and strong enough to endure the dangerous trip to Earth. They’ve been “parented” by teams of astronauts since birth and have run countless drills to ready themselves for every conceivable difficulty they might face on the flight.

But has anything really prepared them for life on terra firma? Because while the planet may be home to billions of people, living there is more treacherous than Leo and his friends could ever have imagined, and their very survival will mean defying impossible odds

* * * * *
5 / 5 

I don't really watch space films and I don't really read space books. But something about Satellite just said read me, read me and so, naturally, I obliged and I'm so glad that I did. This book was so raw and emotional and sort of made me want to go into space (although I'm sure it would make me puke my guts up, so maybe just one of those 0g chambers...), and Leo was just such a perfect character.

space is the wrong word, because this is something that goes on forever & is full of worlds, billions of them, pinpricks sparkling in the endless darkness. 

Leo and Orion and Libra were born in space. More specifically, aboard Moon 2, a space station owned and maintained by the vaguely and a little ominously named corporation, The Company. Space is all these three children have ever known, but now it's almost time for them to voyage to earth. The scientists that monitor them reckon that sixteen is old enough for the force of re-entry not to harm Leo and the twins, for their delicate space-born bones not to shatter on impact, and these children cannot wait to finally walk, to sleep without being strapped down, but they are also a little wary of leaving the only place they have ever known: the infinite, cold, dark entity that is space.

The plot is unlike anything I have ever read but what really makes this novel is the characters. Our three central characters are all distinct: Orion is a music-lover, a devourer of poetry; Libra is green-fingered, an aspiring botanist and a thoughtful girl; Leo is a dreamer, a thinker, a boy whose mother, an astronaut, barely speaks to him, and who wants nothing more than to go and live on the ranch of his grandfather, an ex-astronaut and a wonderful character in his own right. Leo is our sole narrator, concerned with mathematics and engineering and all things to do with space, he's got an unvoiced crush on Orion and a desire to see mountains and to breathe fresh air and to know what it is like to live with gravity weighing you down.

flight: the noun for flying & the noun for fleeing
we flee the earth & my heart pounds with the joy of it. what's wrong with me? all i ever wanted was this place. the ranch. the feeling of the ground beneath my feet.
but when we take off, into the sky, my body sings with it  

This story in uniquely Leo's, the world and it's conspiracies seen only through his eyes (perhaps sometimes to the frustration of the reader who might like to know more about what dwells in the shadows of The Company), so it makes sense that the style of the book is different. It's all in text speak. This surprised me and was a bit offputting when I first started reading Satellite; I don't think there's a single capitalised "i", and it's always "c" instead of "see" and "u" for "you". It was a touch odd and I suppose it was meant to reflect the modernity, the youth of the narrator, his strangeness from Earth and yet his connection to it. But once I got into the book, I felt that what the writing really did was ground you in Leo's experience, immerse you in his world. But if you well and truly hate text-speak, I would probably recommend that you avoid this particular book!

I adored Satellite. I thought the writing itself was beautiful, philosophical, and deliciously quotable, the main characters and particularly Leo were delightful and felt like real people, and that the plot had the right mix of action, space-related things, wonder, suspense, conspiracies, and drama. All in all, an excellent novel.

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of Satellite. 

No comments:

Post a Comment