The first opportunity we get to meet our main protagonist, Martin, is during a practice mission using the new Valkyrie machine, built specifically for this mission. Martin works for NASA and is comfortable with his desk job and not at all envious of those who will be going into space on the Enceladus Mission. Well, fate comes into play and one of the pilots of the machine, Valkyrie, gets injured, leaving only one person who knows the systems and the machines inside out, Martin Neumaier.
Martin is taken down to Texas to complete a fast track training program to get him ready for the mission to Enceladus. Here he endures gruelling training that most astronauts complete over years. Before he knows it, Martin is buckling up and ready to take off. Deep down, Martin knows this could be a suicide mission.
I have massive respect for Brandon Q. Morris and his knowledge when it comes to technology and science. Early on you can see that the author has done a ton of research in preparation for this book. Although I enjoyed reading about all the future technology, I did have an issue with the amount of information dumping. The first half of the book (and this is a mountain of a book) is just information, most of the time repeating itself. For me, this slowed the story down. I found that as soon as the story got really good, the author tended to go off on another 5/6 chapters of nothing but information which becomes a bit frustrating.
The actual story itself is good. Really good in fact. The characters were all interesting people with completely different backgrounds, ranging from a tough Italian pilot to a funny Russian doctor. My favourite character was definitely Marchenko, he's funny but also quite strict, I found myself having a huge amount of respect for him. He also reminded me of my favourite school teacher.
Now, there's a plot twist in this book that I can only describe as being marmite. You're either going to love it and think it's brilliant or you're going to hate it. For me it was a bit random and kind of threw me off.
The reason I've given this book 3 stars is because although it was frustrating at times, I did enjoy the last 20% of the book, specifically the last part of the mission.
Although this wasn't my cup of tea, I can see it being a hit with those who love hard science fiction with solid facts and a ton of information added to the story.
I would like to thank Brandon Q. Morris, Hard-ST.com and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.