They say never to judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, I highly did with this novel. From the alluring book cover and catchy tagline, my expectations were too high.
The Disasters follow the story of Nax and three other ‘burnouts’ who got kicked off the Academy. Only to collide with a life or death situation that so far, they only know. Landing on Al-Rihla only causes more havoc when they try to clear their name. Suddenly they bump into Asra, whose mission is to escape the planet and needs a ship to do so. With Nax’s crew and Asra fighting for the truth to come out and getting back to the Academy on time, who knows what will happen?
Sounds epic, right? Well, it was for a moment… Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher who accepted my request to review this novel. I saw it all over my Instagram in December and had to know, what the hype was about. Besides, the colors of the cover drew me in instantly!
The conflict was hard to understand at first, since it’s thrown at you in the second—third chapter. I had to get used to the characters being kicked out of the Academy and wanted more or less to know what they did. It came out vague to be honest, so don’t expect a whole backstory, apart from the main character. The story was funny but I think M.K England focused too much on the humor and action (chasing) to navigate the plot. It dragged often to a point where it didn‘t surprise me they got caught again or held up.
The characters are a diverse butch, must I say. Our main character, Nax is a queer pilot, and Muslim, I think? It wasn’t clear but Asra was Muslim, and it always gives me the chills (the good kind) to see more Muslim characters being experimented on in novels/movies/tv shows. Case is an engineer and known perfectionist but still shows her flaws. Rion, our political queer who I loved because he made Nax blush! Then, there’s Zee who’s cool as hell. Russian medic who kicks ass, literally! With such amazing characters, you think ‘What could they have done to get kicked out of the Academy?’ or ‘Are they really misfits/outcasts?’ — the title was misleading for the characters.
They got boring. Nax’s monologue was repetitive, all Rion did was smirk at Nax (okay, we get it hot shot), all Zee did was kick and Asra tapping on her pad. Apart from their actual character, I couldn’t connect with any of them. That’s one of the reasons I wasn’t hooked onto the story.
I’d recommend this to anyone who wants a quick action packed Sci-Fi read but prepare for some repeats. The names and places in the story was unique, and I liked how the author included and did her research on Islam. It’s rare to see it mixed in with Science Fiction.
However, for the misleading cover, two-dimensional characters, dragging story and bland plot, I’d have to rate this two stars.