Saturday, May 7, 2022

Review: Mickey7 by Edward Ashton

Mickey7 (Mickey7, Book #1)
by Edward Ashton
Release Date: February 15, 2022
2022 St. Martin's Press
Kindle Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250275035
ASIN: B092T7R689
Audiobook: B094DTWPNV
Genre: Fiction / Science-Fiction
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there’s a mission that’s too dangerous—even suicidal—the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact.

On a fairly routine scouting mission, Mickey7 goes missing and is presumed dead. By the time he returns to the colony base, there’s a new clone, Mickey8, reporting for Expendable duties. 
Life on Niflheim is getting worse. The atmosphere is unsuitable for humans, food is in short supply, and terraforming is going poorly. And the native species are growing curious about their new neighbors. 
My Thoughts
Mickey7 had a very interesting premise, and when I first started reading this I had pretty high hopes for a unique and interesting read.  We have this man who decides to become an Expendable, something I don't think has been explored very much in the sci-fi world, at least not to my knowledge, so I thought the author could have a lot of fun with this concept.  The first few chapters were intriguing, with fast-paced action and some interesting character interactions, but then, all of a sudden, it just ...stopped.  
I actually liked the characters and thought Mickey7 was interesting. But even though I liked them, there wasn't a lot of depth or development to them and I was wishing for more emotion, even some conflict. I understand the crew were having difficulty with food and were rationing, but a lot of Mickey7's inner dialogue seemed to center around his stomach and his lack of food. There were also a lot of flashbacks to the difficulties other colonies had during settlement and other issues, and while they were intriguing, it didn't really have anything to do with what was happening in the actual story.  Some of the flashbacks as to how Mickey7 chose this job were a bit more relevant, but when we returned to the story, it didn't really add anything other than to give more information about Mickey7.  
The plot had a pretty interesting concept and I did enjoy the first few chapters of the book. But after the first few chapters, the conflict just seems to be about what to do with Mickey8 and the fact that Mickey7 is no longer willing to be used so callously, even though it is his job.  The intention was to make the character sound cheeky and sarcastic, but the flippancy kind of wore on my nerves after a while as it just didn't work the way I think the author intended.  Don't get me wrong, the story was okay, and it moved along quickly and easily with good transitions between the flashbacks and the current time period, but there was little conflict and the story just plodded along with very little happening.  I was quite intrigued by the sentient life that was discovered as well as the difficulties the colonists were having with their food supply and other issues, but the author just glossed over a lot of that to focus on Mickey7 and Mickey8 and their empty stomachs as well as a commanding officer who always seems to make poor decisions.  

Mickey7 had so many concepts that could have been explored and developed, ones in which I was extremely disappointed were overlooked in this book: the lack of food and the problems the colonists were having with cultivation; the sentient beings, known as the 'creepers', who were an intelligent race; Mickey7 retiring as an Expendible now that Mickey8 was here; and, the ethics behind the 'Expendible' program.  While the author chose to focus on the conflict between having a Mickey7 and a Mickey8, he did overlook some necessary character and plot development to do so.  However, I did think the overall book was decent, so I do recommend it to anyone looking for something a bit different. 


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