TITLE: Vessel | AUTHOR: Lisa A. Nichols | PUBLISHER: Atria | PUBLISHED ON: May 21, 2019 | PAGES: 304 | RATING: 4 hooks out of 5 | SOURCE: Netgalley
I don’t know that I’ve ever really read a sci-fi thriller before, but this was definitely a solid entry point into the genre. I tore through this book in only a couple of sittings because I absolutely needed to know what would happen next, and that’s always the mark of a good book for me.
The novel follows Catherine Wells, an astronaut presumed dead in space after six years of no contact with Earth. Once safely back on Earth, she must adapt to life where her family (including her now-teenaged daughter) has moved on without her, while also facing questions from NASA about exactly what happened to the rest of her crew.
The ideas here felt fresh and not like a rehashing of the same themes I’ve seen over and over. It definitely gave me some X-Files, government cover-up, type vibes, but in a good way, without feeling like it was pulling too much from outside sources. This novel is very much its own unique story, and while the thriller element is front and centre, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is, ultimately, a sci-fi novel.
I loved the two timelines, having flashbacks to Catherine’s time in space interspersed with the mystery of what REALLY happened to her crew now that she’s back on Earth. It added a lot to the tension of the novel, and kept me reading as I looked for the links between past and present. The characters and plot were, for the most part, both written in a way that was incredibly engaging, so I found myself immersed in the story very quickly and invested in the outcome of Cath and Cal’s search for the truth.
This would have been a 5-star read for me if not for two things: one, it features yet another useless romance subplot that adds absolutely nothing of value to the plot, and two, the ending was way too neat and tidy (and ridiculous) for me to buy it, especially given some of the shady shit that takes place over the course of the novel. But overall, this was a really entertaining read, filled with suspense and unique ideas. Definitely worth picking up even if you aren’t typically a sci-fi fan. There’s more than enough mystery here to grip most readers!