The Ghost Line

July 6, 2017 Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

The Ghost Line three-half-stars
Author(s): Andrew Neil Gray, J.S. Herbison
Published by Tor on 7/11/2017
ISBN: 0765394979
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 144
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley

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The Martian Queen was the Titanic of the stars before it was decommissioned, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga’s mother’s life.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider’s web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Ghost Line falls in a unique subset of sci-fi that is near and dear to my heart, sci-fi suspense that border on horror. It’s a genre that I love in books, movies and TV (although it is massively underrepresented on television), so I was really looking forward to reading this book.

I will start off by saying I generally liked most of what this book did.  The characters are interesting, if not exactly unique to the genre, and I liked the fact that the main character was from Iceland.  It added a bit extra to her characterization, especially when it casually dropped some lesser known Icelandic folklore into a random conversation. The authors also did a solid job of getting across the emotions of their characters, and from the outset, I felt the almost crazy sneakiness of Wei and the real affection Saga and Michel had for each other. Often in Sci-Fi books, characters are paired off but then don’t actually feel like a real couple, so the fact that the emotions of these two were so well written really worked for me.

This book hit it’s genre dead on, but unfortunately, a little too dead-on.  If you’ve seen movies like Event Horizon, Ghost Ship, or The Haunting of Hill House, then you will be incredibly familiar with what is going to happen in this book.  While different in the specifics, it follows the formula of the genre to such a degree that it is entirely predictable.  Thankfully, while the book is a little derivative, it is written well enough to preserve the suspense it goes for despite seeing the twists coming a mile ahead of time.

The writing is good enough, in fact, that the predictability wasn’t sufficient to hurt my review of The Ghost Line.  That is, right up until I got to the end.

The final decision that Saga makes at the end of the book feels so out of place with the character at that moment that it totally threw me out of the book.  The authors did an excellent job making that work in the structure of the story, and the recovered somewhat in the final pages as Michel struggles against Saga’s decision, but I still felt the whole time like they should never have ended up where they did in the first place.

It didn’t ruin the book, mind you, and it’s still a relatively good read, but I was sad that my enjoyment of the title got hamstrung in its last lap.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.6

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