- Author: Tade Thompson
- Series: Standalone
- Genre: Sci-Fi/Mystery
- No. of pages: 384
- Dates read: 12.11.21 – 15.11.21
- Star Rating: 3 stars
Plot: The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years to bring one thousand sleeping souls to a new home among the stars. But when first mate Michelle Campion rouses, she discovers some of the sleepers will never wake. Answering Campion’s distress call, investigator Rasheed Fin is tasked with finding out who is responsible for these deaths. Soon a sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel, one that will have repercussions for the entire system—from the scheming politicians of Lagos station, to the colony planet Bloodroot, to other far-flung systems, and indeed to Earth itself.
So, I originally saw this book promoted on Twitter and I was really intrigued by the premise. A murder mystery in space! As you know, I love a good murder mystery but I don’t read too much sci-fi. I wanted to try to read something that I don’t read too much of so I pre-ordered the book and cracked on.
The writing itself was good. I don’t have too many comments apart from the pacing was good, everything flowed really nicely. One thing I would personally highlight was that some of the space jargon was a bit too complicated for me. At the time I was confused about what the author was describing, I couldn’t visualise it in my head. This hindered my enjoyment a bit as I didn’t really know how certain things in the novel worked or functioned, such as; the aliens, the Lambers, and the set up of the ship, the Ragtime itself. To be honest, since I don’t read much sci-fi I think this is just a naivety on my part.
The plot itself was super interesting. I was hooked from the beginning. I liked the story as a whole and I enjoyed reading the multiple POVs I felt that really helped the plot and kept my engagement with the story as each chapter allowed to focus on a variety of different characters which was super exciting to explore. What I will say is, being the murder mystery fan that I am, I wish there was more focus on the mystery in particular. I felt that other elements of the story had a greater focus than the mystery itself and since it was promoted as a mystery I wish that was the main focus. The author does a great job of consistently raising the stakes so you’re more and more nervous but I just want more of an investigation and more set-up within the mystery as when the reveal happens I was a little bit confused. Not disappointed but it sort of came out of no-where which was a bit underwhelming for me.
In terms of characters I really enjoyed all the characters in the story. Shell, the main protagonist, is determined, intelligent, kind and hard working. I really enjoyed her POVs and watching her take charge during the course of the book. Fin was witty, to the point and mysterious. I loved uncovering the layers of his past and reading the banter between the two main characters. I felt the dynamics between all the characters in this novel was written really well. Thompson’s characterisation was really strong and the highlight of the novel for me.
In terms of world building, this wasn’t a novel that required a large amount of world-building as it was following a single event. What we did learn was super intriguing and also an element of the novel that I thought was a strong point. I love exploring Thompson’s idea of the future of the human race and space travel.
Overall, I thought this was a solid novel with great characters and interesting mystery but I just wish the mystery was more of the focus and I need to up my game when it comes to sci-fi jargon.