*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Atlas Alone – Book 4 of the Planetfall series by Emma Newman #Brainfluffbookreview #AtlasAlonebookreview


I was thrilled to get the opportunity to read and review this one – After Atlas was my outstanding book of 2017. In order to get the best out of this book, you don’t have to have read all four books of this fabulous series, but my firm advice is to at least get hold of After Atlas, given that Atlas Alone takes up the story after that amazing ending and features at least a couple of the main characters who appear in After Atlas.

Six months after she left Earth, Dee is struggling to manage her rage toward the people who perpetrated a terrible crime on Earth as they were leaving. She’s trying to find those responsible, and to understand why the ship is keeping everyone divided into small groups, but she’s not getting very far alone. A dedicated gamer, she throws herself into mersives to escape and is approached by a designer who asks her to play test his new game. It isn’t like any game she’s played before. Then a character she kills in the climax of the game turns out to bear a striking resemblance to a man who dies suddenly in the real world at exactly the same time…

I have tweaked and truncated the rather chatty blurb, but you get the idea… This is one of those atmospheric, twitchy narratives where the main character in first person viewpoint is driven by a sense of wrongness after witnessing a terrible crime. Seeing such horror has taken its toll on her and her two closest friends – Travis and Carl. What now drives her is a desire to discover who was responsible, because she knows they are on the ship.

What Newman excels at is writing difficult characters who don’t immediately appeal. I am aware that if I encountered Dee in real life, I would be repelled by her formidable reserve and the social mask she hides behind. That said, it’s made very clear exactly why she is as she is – to her fury. Because while immersed in a game, she finds herself confronted with aspects of her terrible past – and a scarily powerful entity she calls ‘the beast’ is intent on getting her to come to terms with what happened to her. While Dee is equally determined that she’ll do no such thing – over the years as an indentured employee (more like a slave) she has managed to throw up mental defences which she is reluctant to drop. Particularly when feeling so threatened…

And with good reason. When a sudden death in a game is mirrored in real life and Carl’s remarkable investigative skills are let loose on the case, Dee realises she is at risk of being arrested for murder with only the beast’s assurance that she won’t be caught. I found Dee a compelling protagonist, who I loved. So that ending… well – I can’t say much about it – but I didn’t see THAT one coming!

Yet another amazing climactic cliffhanger that leaves me desperate for the next slice in this amazing adventure. This is one of my favourite series at present and Atlas Alone is every bit as good as I’d hoped it would be. Very highly recommended for fans of well-written, character-driven science fiction. The ebook arc copy of Atlas Alone was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.

22 responses »

  1. Wonderful review to wake up to on a Saturday morning😁 I’m just about finished with this myself and now I’m eager to read the ending. I agree, this series is one of my favorites!

  2. I resisted this when I saw it on NG because I’ve only read the first book and I’m determined to read them all. It’s great to see such a positive review though.
    Lynn 😀

    • While I loved it, I can easily see why Planetfall isn’t for everyone. However, both After Atlas and Atlas Alone are far more accessible and can be read as a duology.

  3. Dee sounds like such an interesting character. I love characters that seem unlikable at first until a few layers are peeled away so that you can get a better look at what they’re really like. Wonderful review, Sarah!

      • I always forget to report back! 🙂 A couple of weeks ago I bought two books you recommended, and they were so good! I read every night, cannot remember all the authors. I have four folders in my Kindle – ‘Good’, ‘OK’, ‘Delete’ and ‘Couldn’t finish” 🙂

      • That’s great to know – actually I’m thrilled!!! I love sharing books that have given me loads of pleasure. It seems such a miracle that we can now share and discuss books with like-minded people when most of my life, being a bookworm was a solitary affair…

  4. I remember your review of After Atlas and also remember the stunning cover. As this is review of a book 4 of a series I haven’t read, my thoughts go toward the cover first. Is it just me, or this one is more like a failed attempt in comparison to others? Too busy and less eye-catching.

    • Yes, I’ll agree that it is maybe just a bit too twinkly. But the book is fabulous – the whole series is fabulous. I love Emma Newman’s writing…

      • I think I started Between Two Thorns and didn’t really get into it. As I grow older, I’m becoming somewhat scarily picky about my reads.

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