I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber
Published by Thomas Nelson on 2017-06-06
Length: 352 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, 2017 Dystopia Reading Challenge, 2017 New Release Challenge
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.
Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.
For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.
I feel as if I’ve been tricked….no that’s not right. Manipulated? No….Deceived? That’s not right either. I honestly am not sure if there is a word for how I feel about The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. I was expecting dystopia mixed with a heavy dose of science fiction. I got that, but I also got a gaming type environment which I wasn’t expecting, like at all.
The book begins right in the middle of the action and as the reader you are dropped in without any explanation as to what is happening. I was completely lost. I thought maybe I had missed a prologue or something. It’s fast-paced too so there wasn’t a whole lot of time to catch up to what was happening to the characters. I felt lost for at least the first third of the book which doesn’t happen to me often. I like to know what’s going on and a little world-building in the beginning goes a long way…just saying 😉
And then there’s Sofi. Sofi is a 17 year old, rebellious, gamer chick. Seriously I pictured some goth going on with multiple piercings and a total detachment from real life because the game was more important, right?! This is the vibe I get from her right from the start, yet she does it all to protect her brother (more on that in a moment). I had a hard time connecting and empathizing with her when she could be an abrasive character and naive all at the same time.
In addition to Sofi’s POV, we get Miguel’s. Miguel is a human ambassador to the Delon colony. He also happens to only be 19. I get that this is a dystopian world and the rules are way different but 19 is awfully young to be entrusted with keeping the peace with the aliens hovering over your planet, don’t you think? Miguel is the more interesting of the two characters though. Obviously Sofi and he have a shared past but not much is alluded to until much later in the story. Miguel however is the consummate playboy in front of the cameras and someone entirely different off them.
So the whole plot revolves around what happens in the first few chapters and is stated in the blurb so I feel I can discuss it without any major spoilers….the FanFight (short for Fantasy Fight). The FanFight is an annual gaming competition that combines virtual reality with actual reality. Think Hunger Games style arenas with live audience there to watch and a whole team behind the player helping them through. In the final match, a bomb explodes taking out half the arena and killing most of the players and teams. Sofi is told that Shilo is killed but she saw him whisked away by a Delon medic. Why would an alien have him? So begins the adventure as Sofi talks Miguel into taking her to the planet to find her brother.
I actually liked the FanFight aspect even if it felt too much like The Hunger Games in my opinion. It was a cool addition to the story and could have been played up more. I also like what is known about the dystopian world. Corporations rule instead of governments and each Corp is responsible for certain aspects of society. For example Corp 30 where Sofi is from is in charge of medical advances and health care. It was an interesting twist on society, but not entirely unique. Continuum anyone?
Overall, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow was just ok for me. The lack of world-building on the front end left me lost and disconnected from the characters. Sofi herself is a hard pill to swallow and I didn’t buy into her and Miguel’s fledgling romance (if you can call it that). If you enjoy dystopia and don’t mind a sci-fi twist. this book may be for you. It wasn’t my cup of tea though. However, I have to give the author props for that ending. It wasn’t very original AND it was predictable, but it has me intrigued enough that I’ll be watching for the sequel.