Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Offworld

Title: Offworld

Series: None

Author: Robin Parrish

Genre: Adult supernatural suspense/sci-fi

Excerpt from “This Thing of Darkness,” Chapter 1 of Offworld:

Right foot.

Left foot.

Right foot.

Left foot.

Stumble.

Red dirt filled Burke’s field of view. Not that it was much of a change. Red dirt had been all he could see for hours. Even the bright pinkish tan of the planet’s sky was washed away by the windstorm.

“Beech!” he called out, hoisting himself back to his feet as the wind spun him about. He carried a small black pack with a few meager supplies and some mission equipment inside. “I’ve got zero visibility! No orientation! I can’t see anything!”

He stopped.


Burke’s training fought against the fear creeping into his mind, against the rising panic as the wind fed more soil and dust into the crevices of his space suit.

Got to find my way…dirt’s building up…soon I won’t be able to move.

“Habitat, this is Burke!” he yelled over the storm. “I can’t see anything, and I’ve lost contact with Beechum!”

No answer.

Four astronauts return from Mars to find Earth’s population gone.

The Craft: Offworld is a book I came to a little gun-shy. I have read two books from Parrish’s Dominion Trilogy, which contained more graphic violence than I care for. And then there is Offworld’s premise (the disappearance of earth’s population except for a handful of people)—a premise eerily similar to Tom Pawlik’s darker novel, Vanish. Truthfully, if it hadn’t been for the blog tour, I’m not sure I would have had the nerve to pick this book up on my own.

So to my relief, my fears were unfounded and Offworld turned out to be a thrilling ride, even if a bit sad and chilling at times. The intricate plot that left me guessing nearly to the end prevailed over my reluctance, and Mr. Parrish strings the reader along with twist after twist, both in action and in characters, until you feel like you ride a corkscrew.

My one “major” complaint in the craft lies with point-of-view. It was not as consistent as I believe it could have been. Sometimes, especially at the beginning, the characters felt emotionally distant. Occasionally, descriptions that could only come from an outside POV were inserted, and every so often, I was completely disoriented, not sure whose POV I was in. While the plotting overcame these problems, it would have been easier to latch onto and identify with characters if the points-of-view would have been constant.

But in light of the overall craft, that is a very small complaint indeed.

The Content: There is little for me to comment on here. Offworld has moderate violence, but probably has less than expected for a novel like this. There’s a vision of someone who has died, but the context is well handled.

As far as themes I go, I didn’t find much to sink my teeth into. A couple discussions about whether God exists. The clear sovereignty of God orchestrates the events, protecting and guiding. The importance of friendships and family is covered, along with a couple other such things. In short, many things touched on but never developed all that much.

Is this a flaw? Yes, no, maybe. I don’t know. It is something I’m chewing on, and it will probably will have no easy answer.

Summary: Offworld is a thrilling, corkscrew adventure, and with only moderate violence, it is easily accessible to teens and adults alike.

Rating: Content—3, Craft—4, Overall—4.1 out of 5 stars
Find Offworld at Words of Whimsy!

3 comments:

Rachel Starr Thomson said...

You said: "Mr. Parrish strings the reader along with twist after twist, both in action and in characters, until you feel like you ride a corkscrew." Yup ... "ride" is a good word. I thought this book was a lot of fun, and I didn't realize until after I'd finished it how un-gory it had all been. Adds to the feeling of good clean enjoyment, not that I object too much to gore when it's necessary.

Brandon said...

Good review Chawna :)

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I thought the "ungoriness" came because of a lack of realism. I mean, there was little physical repercussion for all trauma they endured.

Glad you liked it, Chawna.

Becky