Blue Shift. Book Review

Blue Shift by Jane O’Reilly
Piaktus, p/b, 336pp, £8.99
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming

Scientific developments to reverse global warming have worked too well and caused a split in humanity. The wealthy live with all the resources from their previous life under clear temperature regulated Domes. Everyone else scavenges a life in the sewers and tunnels underneath the major cities, striving for survival. But the Earth’s core is almost dead, and humans have identified a new planet to call home. To get there, they must pass through alien space, and not every other race is fond of humanity.

Jinnifer Blue comes from a Dome, born of privilege and comfort, but she runs away when she realises it is a gilded cage. She becomes a pilot, filled with implants which allow her to interface with ships that are killing her.

Caspian Dax fled the London Underworld, becoming a space pirate, captain of the Mutant, living life on the run.

Sent to the maximum-security prison A2, Blue and Dax discover the prison is a front for medical experiments being conducted on humans and the real price of humanity’s safe passage through space.

Normally a romance novelist, Blue Shift is Jane O’Reilly’s first sci-fi novel. It’s slick and stylish, and fast paced, guaranteed to keep you reading one more chapter until there’s no point going to bed. There isn’t any detailed description of how technology works, but that isn’t necessary. The names used for the futuristic technology makes perfect sense without having long descriptions. Chemicleanse and Autochef are enough for the reader to work out the functions they perform.

Because of O’Reilly’s novel pedigree, the dynamic between Jinn and Dax is multi-facetted and engaging. Their journey from enemies to one another’s only hope for survival is believable and amusing, an important personal preference in any story with a romance element. But even without that aspect, the pair work well together as a team despite their differences.

Blue Shift is the first book in the Second Species Trilogy and, without giving anything away, the trilogy title is explained by the end of the book. And it ends with a bang which immediately sent me searching the internet for the second book’s release date. This is a very enjoyable shift in genre from O’Reilly and I can’t wait for the next book.