Beyond Forsaken Worlds by J.P. McDonald

Beyond Forsaken Worlds

Beyond Forsaken Worlds is a fresh intergalactic romp dappled with action, multi-faceted creatures, and desire.

Going in, I had no idea what I was signing up for... but that only elevated my enjoyment. McDonald's prose is beautiful, weaving vibrant descriptions with satisfying world building. The characters are unique, and I found something to love about each and every one of them.

Also, that cliffhanger! I'm so glad I don't have to wait for the answers like everyone else (the perks of being a beta reader).

My only criticism pertains to the intimate scenes and sexual tension throughout the novel. It isn't the main focus, but it might put off readers who aren't looking for sexy sci-fi. As a reader who generally strays away from books with a fair amount of sex, I found the scenes surprisingly interesting and in aid of the group's dynamic.

If you dig foul-mouthed heroines, conservationist plot lines, dystopian themes, or space travel, this one's for you.

The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown

The Scourge Between Stars

*Thank you to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for the ARC.*

If you're looking for a novella that feels like Alien, look no further than The Scourge Between Stars. Set on a generational ship doomed from its departure, it will grip fans of space travel and sci-fi survival stories. The book is brimming with atmospheric horror, futuristic tech, and a droid (Watson) with a unique and lovable personality.

While I enjoyed the bulk of this story, and found Jacklyn a compelling protagonist, some plot beats went by too quickly and could have benefitted from a longer format. The terror would have felt more palpable as well, if I had gotten to know the characters better before the intruders showed up. Nevertheless, Ness Brown's prose is inviting and accessible, and I loved how she described the horrors without being too gruesome. I would definitely pick up her future works.