Disclaimer – I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The plot of No Direction Home is a fairly familiar science fiction trope – a ‘ark’ ship is sent off a dying Earth to populate the planets of some far-off star system, complete with thousands of people in cryostasis. What could possibly go wrong, right?
The main character – Christopher Vinter – is awakened from the cryosleep and given little to no information before he is tasked with investigating the possibility that there is a spy on the ship.
Okay, back up a bit…
Back on the earth there was a civil war between some group named New Dawn and some other group named Earthcorp, the motivations of both groups are pretty poorly defined, other than they are “Bad Guy group 1” and “Bad Guy group 2”. (the BGGs) The ark ship (the Terra Nova) that Vinter and the others are on is sent off the planet to escape the war between the two BGGs – although why they would need to pre-emptively do that is unclear to me.
Fortunately for humanity they did though, because one nuke led to another, and the BGGs wiped each other, and everyone else, off the planet.
So now we have the ark ship – the last hope of humanity – flying through space. And it is being chased by another ship of unknown origin and intent, which just happens to be communicating with other people of unknown origin on the Terra Nova.
I would prefer to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but the author reveals something about the main character pretty early on which meant I ceased actually giving a shit about anything that happened to him thereafter.
At the end of the day I felt like I had read this story all before, and it involved people I was actually able to care about. It’s a solid novel, but I just didn’t feel like the motivations of the characters – particularly the BGGs were fleshed out well enough. There are a few action scenes, which are generally speaking, well-written, and are probably the most interesting parts of the novel. I just didn’t buy the stakes. For all I cared, the BGGs and everyone could sail off into the sunset, never to be seen again.