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This Splintered Silence: The Edwardian Cricketer Book Review

This Splintered Silence: The Edwardian Cricketer Book Review

Author: EdwardianCricketer/Saturday, July 20, 2019/Categories: Blog, Book Review

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This Splintered Silence, by Kayla Olson. New York. HarperTeen, 2018. 357 pages, hardback. ISBN: 978-0-06-248490-1. $17.99.

SPOILER WARNING

This review contains spoilers, including revealing the end of the book.

REVIEW

This started as the interesting mystery of a virus that killed all of the adult crew of the space station Lusca, leaving the teenage survivors to try run the station. Led by Lindley Hamilton, whose mother had been the station commander, they had been told the virus had run its course when the last of the first generation crew died. Then one the second-generation crew, a sixteen-year-old girl, is found dead and all appearances point to the virus. Has it mutated? Or is something else going on?

Told from Lindley’s point of view, she and her friends Leo, Heath, Zesi, Natalin, and Haven fight to maintain as much a sense of normality as they can, given their situation and the fact that they are hiding it from the rest of the station. Lindley finds herself caught between the attention of both Leo and Heath as she tries to single-handedly find a cure for the virus before another person dies and the rest of the station inhabitants find out what’s going on.

Radio contact with Earth reveals that Earth control in Nashville has also been hit and can’t reach the Nautilus, another space station farther out. Nashville suspects covert operatives and sabotage. Rations on the Lusca are getting low but Nashville can’t send any supplies. Help may have to come from Sergeant Vonn, a vicious rival of Lindley’s mother, who would probably break up their little family unit.

The possibility of water contamination sends Heath of Zesi to the Nautilus for supplies as Vonn’s fleet launches toward the Lusca. Lindley makes a discovery that changes her theory from one of a mutated virus to murder. The tone of the book, which so far has been somber and desperate, changes to one of suspicion as the tension increases.

Heath and Zesi return and reveal that the crew of the Nautilus is all dead. Vonn’s fleet gets closer and Lindley has to tell Nashville the truth about what’s been going on. Heath and Leo take a ship out to meet Vonn’s fleet in hopes of talking them out of destroying the station. Tensions rise as Lindley realizes the killer is one of the six leaders.

The book ends with Lindley figuring out the murderer was Haven. After an intense chase and fight, Haven confesses to committing the murders so she could be the one to solve them, gaining praise from everyone. She was jealous of Lindley. Nashville begins sending people for transitioning but the remaining friends will be allowed to stay on the station. The healing can begin.

Admittedly I am not familiar with murder mysteries and it’s not a genre I typically read. Olson writes a well-constructed story. It has a real claustrophobic feel and you can feel Lindley’s desperation and tiredness. Olson’s characters, while coming across as individual, might have felt a little more unique had they each been given their own point of view. Instead, Olson writes from Lindley’s point of view in the first person so you only get her perspective of the other characters.

Though well constructed, I had issues with the pacing. It felt slow. The reader discovers things as the characters do but they seem to take a while to get there. And for all that you feel the desperation and tension, I never really felt any sense of danger or threat. The revelation of Haven as the culprit did come as a surprise but I wasn’t convinced of her motives. The chase at the end was exciting but the resolution felt somewhat deflated. It came quickly and quietly and had none of the tension or drama Olson had worked so hard to achieve.

Maybe someone more familiar with murder mystery will find This Splintered Silence more appealing and be able to point out the nuances I missed. Let me know what you think. Happy reading.

 

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