It will not be a surprise to anyone that I love books set in space, and when I heard about this – a take on Othello by the amazing Malorie Blackman – I knew it would be fantastic. Othello is actually one of my favourite Shakespeare plays – it’s so complex, so rich and must have been so forward-thinking for its time. (I even got my one and only 100% for an essay on it when studying it at A-level, but that’s a different story).
V and her brother are alone on a spaceship, lone survivors of a virus which has wiped out the rest of the crew. Into this isolation comes Nathan and his fellow crewmembers, and he and V feel an immediate and powerful attraction to each other. But there is trouble ahead, as the varying motivations of those around them lead to manipulation, betrayal and secrets that threaten to tear them, and the wider situation, apart.
It’s an intriguing and eerie set-up, with Blackman creating a very dark and intensely lonely world for her protagonist. It initially stretches believability that two teenagers would be able to manage to survive in deep space alone on a huge spacecraft, but there is a good explanation for this that is later revealed (and I didn’t see it coming at all). Blackman is typically unflinching and honest in her realistic depiction of both sex and violence, which is something I really love about her writing. True to her well established form, she ratchets up an almost unbearable amount of tension in depicting the increasingly twisted loyalties between her cast of characters, leading to an exciting climax and an unexpected final twist, that definitely leaves you wanting more.
A dark, brutal, suspenseful space tale, with plenty of twists and a fearless but believable heroine, from a seasoned storyteller at the top of her game.