Interesting, but could have been so much more

Written by
C. A. Higgins in 2015

I’ve given up reading a book’s blurb. Because the blurb is like a real estate agent’s pitch during an auction, all blowhard hot air, and no substance. For instance, the blurb of Lightless compares the book to Alien and Gravity. I’m sorry, but whoever wrote the blurb really needs to go and watch these movies, because Lightless is nothing at all like Alien or Gravity.

The Ananke is an experimental ship powered by a black hole. And because black holes are dangerous, the ship only has three crew: Domitian the commander, Althea the ship’s mechanic/technician and Gagnon, who is the lead mission scientist. These guys all work for The System, which sounds like a really bad nightclub name, but is in fact a futuristic dystopian solar system government that makes the NSA’s privacy breaches look like a friendly handshake.

At some point during their secret squirrel mission, the Ananke is boarded by Matthew Gale and Leontios Ivanov, master thieves and fugitives. They’re captured by the crew (though Gale manages to escape) and Ivanov is put through interrogation by Ida Stays, one of The System’s top agents, who’s always right.

At the same time, due to some mysterious intervention by Matthew Gale, the Anake starts to randomly malfunction, which causes the crew headaches and its fugitive guests no end of amusement.

Now, if you want to compare Lightless to the very awesome movies Gravity and Alien, then the unfortunate thing is that the book doesn’t stand up to either. First, there are no awesomely designed aliens that burst out of victim’s stomachs. Two, there is no impending disaster from a bunch of destroyed satellites in a realistic setting. This book is basically a battle of wits with a splash of mystery set in space.

Which is not to say that Lightless is a crap book. It’s not crap. It’s just not very good. At its heart, it means well, but the mystery about why the Ananke malfunctions is not all that interesting. The System are a bunch of jerks, so you don’t really care about them either. There are also no good or bad guys to cheer for, apart from Althea, and she’s not the most fantastic character going around either. You sort of read this book with a disinterested ambivalence, just waiting for the penny to drop and the book to end.

Lightless is the kind of book that you’d want to read if you had insomnia. Its slow burn, uninteresting characters and mystery plot are guaranteed to put you to sleep. This might actually be the first book in a while that made me feel like I had to push through some bits of boring-ness to finish. Even the ending was anticlimatic, and that’s saying something.


Surprisingly tiresome.

Read this if you…

Enjoy slow burning mystery books.

Skip this if you…

Want interesting characters. Or perhaps some interesting action.


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