|Book Review: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow|
|Book title||The Evaporation of Sofi Snow|
|Series/standalone||The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1|
|Category | Genre||Young Adult | Fantasy | Dystopia | Alien| Sci-Fi|
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet.
Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.
For Miguel, Earth’s charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.
I received an electronic galley from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.
In A Nutshell
A political alien dystopian story exploring human relationship and social issues.
- The first part of the book was about the game (aka the part that caught my attention). The protagonist of this series, Sofi Snow, was a gamer/hacker, and her brother, Shilo, acted as her avatar in the arena. You might think that you have read way too many dystopian-influenced competition (The Hunger Games being the most famous example), but Weber – for once – took us to the backstage and not to the bright light of the arena and it was a welcomed change. Sofi’s job, alongside her team, the triplets called the three Ns, and Heller, was to send codes to program her brother’s armor, weapons, and tools. It was a fun take as we were shown the team’s banter and strategy.
- Diverse cast of characters. The protagonist, Sofi, is Native American, the the other lead, Miguel, is Hispanic. Now, the only time Weber touched on Sofi’s cultural background was when describing her owl necklace and her appearance. As this book is not an ownvoice, I respect Weber’s decision to not getting too deep into the Native American belief and culture. As for Miguel, he did talk in Spanish quite frequently, but his background was not described in details.
- Political and social issues. There were some social issues explored in ‘Sofi Snow’, the most prominent one were human trafficking and technology advancement at the expense of human right. I won’t get into details here as I’m trying to avoid giving out major spoilers. Politics also played a big part in this book since Miguel, the lead, worked as an ambassador.
Things I Wish Were Different
- Is there such thing as too many plots? Because this book sure has a lot of it. One minute, it was about curing diseases, the next it tried to be all political, and then it went all alien sci-fi on me. Considering how short it was, there were just not enough space to explore each in sufficient depth. The results is a jumbled mess of plots, none of which got adequately explored.
- The character arc. It shouldn’t be difficult to sell me on Sofi. Seriously. A gamer? Check. Hacker? Check. Sassy? Check. She loved her brother and knew what she want. All of these should make me like her a lot. The problem is I don’t find anything in her personality to make me want to root for her. She is okay, but she didn’t make me fully invested in her cause. On top of that, I don’t see a lot of character growth throughout the book. There were some revelations, yes, but not a lot of growth.
- Speaking of Sofi, is there anything she cannot do? I understand the need to give your lead at least a sprinkle of special snowflake syndrome. However, in the evaporation of Sofi Snow, everything came to easy for Sofi and Miguel. *MINOR SPOILER WARNING* “Oh, you need a top-secret chip that is nearly impossible to get? Here you go!” “Need a living and talking alien to help you crack a code? What a coincidence, we have one just in tow.” *END OF SPOILER* Furthermore, I like to see my protagonists fight their way instead of being handed solutions in silver platter.
- The ending. There’s cliff-hanger, then there’s the ending of ‘Sofi Snow’. That may be too harsh, but when I read a book I expected some sort of resolutions of at least a couple of major plots. After that, feel free to drop a plot twist on me and throw me a cliffhanger. I don’t mind (okay, maybe a bit). Everything about the ‘ending’ of Sofi Snow screams sequel and it definitely cannot be read as a stand-alone. I was reading this book on my Kindle when the pages just suddenly ended. I even had to double check whether my e-ARC has missing pages or did they just send me 90% of the book.
2.5 stars (out of 5 stars)
I have mixed feelings about this book. At one end, it certainly has the potential with its concept, political and social themes, and cast of characters. On the other end, it tried to be so many things that it ultimately failed to deliver a single coherent story. There is also the factor that it’s set as a duology and cannot be read as a stand-alone, which means if you read the evaporation of Sofi Snow, you’d need to be ready to invest your resources on two books, instead of just one.