Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: Toxic by Lydia Kang with Giveaway!

by Lydia Kang
Entangled Teen
YA Science Fiction
368 pages

Cyclo, the first and largest biological ship of its kind, is dying. A small crew of mercenaries have handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship, but the abandoned ship is anything but abandoned―one girl has been left behind.

Hana has known nothing but the isolation of a single room and the secret that has kept her there for seventeen years. When she meets Fennec, the boy assigned to watch her, she realizes that there is a world she has yet to experience but she is doomed to never meet.

When crew members begin mysteriously dying, Hana and Fenn realize that they are racing against the death of the ship to find a way to survive―unless someone kills them even before Hana’s truly had a chance to live.


Emotion packed these pages as various questions surrounding life and the selfishness/selflessness of relationships are explored—and all that in an adventure in outer space.

Hana has been hidden since the moment she was born. In her own tiny space inside Cyclo, a biological spaceship, her mother has kept her existence a secret because as a genetic manufactured human, Hana is not allowed to exist. When Cyclo's lifespan reaches its end, Hana's existence is supposed to be made known. But her mother doesn't come as promised. Instead, she has deserted Cyclo along with the rest of the crew, leaving Hana utterly alone.

Fenn is part of an investigation crew, whose sole duty is to record the data concerning Cyclo's last moments. It's a one-way mission, but a better death than he deserves thanks to his troubled past. At least, through his death, he will earn enough money to save the life of his sister—a person who truly deserves to live. But when he reaches Cyclo with the rest of his crew, they are in for more than just a few surprises. He begins to question everything he believed certain before.

This was not the read I was expecting. Although set in space and having moments of tension, action, chills and those which hold the reader on the edge of the seat, this book took a deeper, more emotional path. While it's a romance which explores Fenn's and Hana's relationship as they fight past suspicions and doubts to learn more about each other, it's also a tale of motherly love, regrets, misunderstandings and the search for a place in life and the universe. By creating a living and feeling ship, Cyclo, the author has added an extra level to the plot and opened up more than a can of questions. 

Fenn and Hana both have pasts which are full of scars, doubt and dilemmas...enough for a book on its own. Cyclo's existence and how its handled leave basic moral questions open and untouched as tiny morsels of thought which float on the side, while so many other basic questions surrounding the meaning of existence and love are more than touched upon. All of this is packed into a bit of a thriller as the crew and Hana fight for their lives as an unknown murder leaves behind a brutal trail. There's mystery, high-tech and moments which near a chilling horror scene. But it's not always a fast-paced read. There are moments in between, those which dive deeper into Hana and Fenn as well as Hana's relationship with Cyclo, which slow it down. For an action fan like me, these moments moved a bit slow. Also, the romance didn't completely pull me in, but with two very difficult characters like Hana and Fenn, it couldn't follow the normal flow. 

Fans of science fiction, romance, deep characters and the exploration of several basic questions of life are sure to get lost in the pages and enjoy an adventure into they won't easily forget.

And here she is...

Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.

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