I think most things begin to fracture without anyone realizing it’s even happening, a sort of splintered silence that gives way all at once under too much weight, and without warning.
Synopsis: Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first-generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, were killed by a deadly virus. Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this—struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food. When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. The disease was supposed to be over; the second generation was supposed to be immune. But as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality that either the virus has mutated or something worse is happening: one of their own is a killer.
To be published November 13, 2018 by HarperTeen
e-ARC provided by publisher on Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review
Genre: YA Sci-Fi, YA Action & Adventure
Themes: survival, friendships, relationships, growing up together, evolving bonds, science, technology, space station, leadership, stepping up, grief, trust, asking for help, virus, mutation, murder, contagion, space, stress, pressure
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Nothing quite like what I expected, This Splintered Silence is a surprising mix of familiar and well-loved genres: mostly scifi, somewhat dystopian, a little romance and a healthy amount of mystery, thriller, and suspense. If you liked Kayla’s debut novel, The Sandcastle Empire, this one will come as a pleasant surprise – it’s a sort of evolution, retaining all of the qualities I loved in TSE – strong character development, engaging plot, incredible prose, solid world-building – and then it ups it a few more notches!
I’ve been ruled by fear for far too long now. I refuse to bow down any longer.
Although the plot is certainly engaging, I would say that TSS is more character-driven than anything. Written in Lindley’s POV, the focus is on how she’s reacting more than what’s happening around her. It’s about how Lindley deals with leadership and the pressure and stress that comes with the role, but also with how she decides on what to trust, who to trust. It’s really quite astonishing to get into the mindset of such an intense character like Lindley!
Their words sounded like whispers pricked with a thousand splinters as they fought hard, just to be heard. Until the silence took over and, one by one, the stars went out.
I first fell in love with Kayla’s prose in The Sandcastle Empire, and this only rekindles my love for it. The words fall so naturally together on the page – it seems effortless. I’m not really sure how to describe it, but there’s a distinct trademark in it, quite inexplicable. Maybe it reminds me of a modern Tolstoy – Tolstoy can write countless scenes of groups of people merely sipping tea but never do they seem too dull, but also never overly elaborate. I say this because one of my favorite chapters in the book is just the main character eating chocolate – and it’s forever seared in my memory!
The stars flicker, a hundred thousand fireflies frozen in flight.
But my favorite parts are also the metaphors that aren’t far-fetched at all but are so unique and I’m all admiration! I wish I could come up with half the stuff that she comes up with!
I would have loved some more details about the world, but it’s solid enough to not leave you distracted about it. The entire mood of the novel kept me on my toes – and there was this point in the novel where you can feel the fraught nerves, the intensity of the situation – when things have reached the tipping point.
…we can’t afford to make assumptions. We make assumptions, we die.
For the few of us who appreciate a love triangle, there’s something to be excited about – it’s not at all the focus, but the few scenes dedicated to it are really good – the love interests are totally swoonworthy!
We’ve not done this before, and now that we have, how have we never?
Overall, if you couldn’t tell yet – this was everything I was hoping for and more! I tried to wait it out before I wrote this review to give myself some time to tone down my enthusiasm to a more reasonable proportion. Part of me is so happy I got to read this early, but part of me is regretful because that means I have to wait who-knows-how-long for Kayla’s next novel! I highly recommend it to those who like scifi / mystery / thriller / survival reads!
Thank you to HarperCollins for my review copy!
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Have you read The Sandcastle Empire? If you have, did you like it?
Do you think you’ll add This Splintered Silence to your TBR?