Off Planet (Aunare Chronicles #1) by Aileen Erin (2019)
YA/NA Fiction | Sci-Fi | Space Opera
“In an all-too-plausible future where corporate conglomerates have left the world’s governments in shambles, anyone with means has left the polluted Earth for the promise of a better life on a SpaceTech owned colony among the stars.
Maité Martinez is the daughter of an Earther Latina and a powerful Aunare man, an alien race that SpaceTech sees as a threat to their dominion. When tensions turn violent, Maité finds herself trapped on Earth and forced into hiding.
For over ten years, Maité has stayed hidden, but every minute Maité stays on Earth is one closer to getting caught.
She’s lived on the streets. Gone hungry. And found a way to fight through it all. But one night, while waitressing in a greasy diner, a customer gets handsy with her. She reacts without thinking.
Covered in blood, Maité runs, but it’s not long before SpaceTech finds her…
Arrested and forced into dangerous work detail on a volcano planet, Maité waits for SpaceTech to make their move against the Aunare. She knows that if she can’t somehow find a way to stop them, there will be an interstellar war big enough to end all life in the universe.
There’s only one question: Can Maité prevent the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?”
pooled ink Review:
I won a copy of this book in a giveaway and I am SO glad I did! Everything about it had me intrigued and putting it straight onto my TBR list, however many of us readers know just how impossible it is to read everything on our TBR. But when I won a copy I decided to crack it open right away and I never regretted a single moment!
It didn’t matter how long life forced me to put down this book day to day, the moment I picked it back up I was sucked right back into the story. Every. Time. So right away I knew this was a winner. It’s kind of a space opera but not quite, not that it really matters because whatever “exact” genre this book is I love it.
We start off on Earth, although it’s a grungy futuristic world run by an evil corporation called SpaceTech, but it isn’t long before we begin following Maité across the universe with a hotbed of action biting at her heels. The world-building was a big part of what I loved about this book, it was just so cool. And whether it was a retro diner, a warehouse on a lava planet, or a fancy Aunare spaceship, I could picture it all easily. Bits and pieces had me thinking of the Syfy TV show Dark Matter, where it dances the line of “far out” and vaguely familiar hitting a sweet spot of epic sci-fi that doesn’t go too far and become silly or stay too reserved and, well, dull.
The plot was fast-paced and yet it allowed time to really bond with the characters. There was never a dull moment, everyone was always constantly working towards something, obstacles rose in a natural way, and even with the many setbacks thrown into Maité’s path I never wanted to groan with an eye roll but rather would grip the book tighter eager to see what move she’d make next. The combination of character, plot, and world struck that magic chord in me that put this right up there on my favorites list.
Maité Martinez (whose Aunare birth name is Amihanna di Aetes) is the main character and we follow her journey as she hides on Earth as a halfer (half-human half-Aunare) which is dangerous as humans decided to break peace with the Aunare and execute any and all Aunare on the planet. But on top of that her father is the Aunare king’s right-hand man and general of his army so the price on Maité’s head is hefty to be sure. But her and her human mother have lasted for about 13 years undetected and carving out a difficult life while hoping that someday Maité’s dad will be able to rescue them. So yeah, Maité’s tough and kickass and a 100% favorite of mine. To sum her up in one word, she’s a survivor.
For almost as long as she’s lived in Albuquerque she’s had her best friend Roan by her side. He knows she’s half-Aunare but he’d carry that secret to his grave. Roan was a fantastic best friend character, plenty of loyalty and humor with no risk of creating a love-triangle (I hate love-triangles haha so I was glad that him and Maité are more like family). But of course if Maité remained hidden forever this would be a boring story although to her infinite surprise it isn’t the government that finds her but Declan, a human whose father runs the evil corporation, SpaceTech, but who is every bit an ally of her father’s. After 13 years of searching Declan is ready with a plan for escape. Now Declan does potentially pose a threat of a love-triangle but I really really hope not. I like him a lot but as Maité’s friend. Lol.
Here’s a quick bit on some other key characters:
Jason is Declan’s older brother and he’s the worst. It won’t take you long to really hate him. UGH.
Ahiga works for SpaceTech, he’s a big scary guy, but he knows Declan and he’s the freaking best. When Maité’s life heats up she’ll find a ring of support from the most unlikely of sources including Santiago, an old friend from the ABQ crew/gang that helped relocate Maité and her mom, Tyler, a prisoner with a heart of gold and eyes only for Audrey, and Audrey, a nurse/doctor who hides a secret of her own.
And then there’s Lorne. From the first moment Lorne appeared on the page I had a feeling I knew exactly who he was and I was all about it. This Aunare prince has been hunting for Maité as fervently as her father and he will do anything to save her, even ignite war.
THAT ALMOST-ENDING!! AND THAT ENDING!! So much is set up and literally with every chapter the emotions, the intensity, and the intrigue grows until you find yourself out of pages and desperate to know what will happen next. Oh my gosh, just writing this review has my brain lighting up with favorite moments with all of these characters in this wicked cool world of sci-fi and I could honestly do a re-read right now. It’s an understatement to say that I am eagerly awaiting book two!
Off Planet is but the beginning in a truly spectacular science fiction drama. With a kickass heroine who bears the future on her shoulders, a plot that melts down reality and time until you’re lost to all but the story flashing before you, characters that will win your heart and have you pledge loyalty, and a world that is wicked cool…beware, for this is a recipe for addiction. An absolute recommend for both sci-fi fans and newbies alike!
Purchase Here: Off Planet
Similar Recommended Reads: Artemis by Andy Weir, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Quanta by Lola Dodge, Angelfall by Susan Ee, Alarum by Talis Jones, Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Railhead by Philip Reeve, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Meet Aileen Erin!
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.