Flashfall by Jenny Moyer
Flashfall, book 1
Published November 15, 2016 by Henry Holt & Co. (BRY)
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.
But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♪
This was a surprising book for me! I went into it mostly blind, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Despite that, Flashfall deemed itself to be an engaging and action-packed sci-fi novel.
Flashfall takes place in a dystopian society where residents in the Outposts have to mine cirium. By mining 400 grams, the Subpars--who are the people that can stand the radiation of the flash curtains in the mines--will have earned their way into the protected city. Orion believed this to be true for most of her life, but when she finds out that it's been a lie, and that she's never getting out, seeds of rebellion start with her. Despite the consequences her actions bring, Orion and Dram, her mining partner, fight for their freedom and to see the sky she's always dreamed of.
It's been a while since I've read a dystopian novel, but Flashfall is different entirely than those others I've read. It doesn't take place in space, but rather in a bleak future where radiation affects its citizens and most of it takes place underground. I really enjoyed this aspect because Moyer definitely created a good atmosphere for the story within those mines.
Flashfall has non-stop action throughout. I don't think there was ever a moment where Orion could just relax, not one small moment of relief. Time and time again, she and Dram were tested, both by officials and by the dangerous mines they had to make their way into to mine cirium. Things are constantly happening and there are definitely a lot of near death experiences for both Orion and Dram--so if you're looking for action, I would recommend this book.
I really liked the characters, especially Orion! She was such a fighter, such a selfless and strong person. She always fought for what was right and for the people she cared about, even when it was a risk to herself. Orion put herself on the line countless of times, sometimes barely scraping out of the situation alive.
Which brings me to Dram. Dram is Orion's mining partner and the guy she happens to like. Buuuut, before I talk about their romance, I need to emphasise how amazing they work together. Dram always has her back. Always. He's there whenever she needs him just as she's there for him. They know how to work together so well that they've created an amazing bond with one another and I loved that Moyer included that before a real romantic relationship. But that isn't to say I didn't like them together-together--I did! The two were a force to be reckoned and I'm really glad they manage to stay with each other.
My only complaint would be the writing. While I loved how the author built her world and her characters, the word building sometimes kept me from being fully invested in the story. It was that the prose was too flowery or too vague... it was that, sometimes, there was a certain flatness to it. When something huge was happening, the writing didn't really create as much tension or emotion as I would've hoped--if that makes sense. I also found myself reading several passages over and over to make sense of what was happening.
Despite that, though, Jenny Moyer wrote a really great debut full of action and science fiction. It definitely warrants a read! Overall, 3.5 stars!