Author: Kristi Helvig
Series: Burn Out #1
Rating: 1.5 / 5 stars
“A futuristic blend of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans’s Level 2, Burn Out will satisfy the growing desire for science fiction with a thrilling story of survival, intrigue, and adventure.”
This synopsis probably should have clued me in that this book wasn’t going to be all that great. Though I have not read Across the Universe yet, I did read Level 2 and wasn’t all that impressed. But come on, we all know I am a sucker for YA sci-fi, especially BSG/Firefly ones that do not include aliens but focus on the human expansion into space and the difficulties that arise.
So right off the bat I am already rooting for this story. Unfortunately, Helvig gives me almost nothing to work with. Though she has a PhD and credits the astrophysics department at some university for helping her with the science behind the plot, I am not buying it. This story is set only 300 years into the future, and yet Earth is completely kaput? The explanation? Oh, we diverted an asteroid from hitting us and it instead ending up on a direct collision course with the sun. And when this dark matter filled asteroid hit the sun, it heated its core so hot that now the sun is evaporating all the water on Earth and frying the ozone?
For one thing, if that were to happen, I highly doubt the mere development of metal shelters is going to shield you and save you. If anything, the metal shelter is going to turn you into a heat sink since metal is a conductor and not an insulator. Ditto for the “warp drive” spaceships that travel to the other Earth like planet they have discovered. Also, the likelihood of an asteroid that is large enough to cause that type of destruction to the sun that is MASSIVE? Chances are if it can do that to the sun, than the parts of the asteroid that broke off when we diverted it and sent it away and burned up in the atmosphere would have had enough dark matter to mess us up and cause mass extinctions here and the damage to the sun would be a moot point. Also, if we have the technology for warp drive ships, why did we let the asteroid get so close to our solar system to become a threat in the first place? Why wouldn’t we have taken the plot from Deep Impact and done that way out before the asteroid even became a danger to us?
But let’s forget about the flimsy plot (although, I can’t, because that is just how my mind works!!!!). Even without that unpleasing excuse for the way things are, it’s not like the actual plot or characters are even better. Tora is kind of annoying. I realize a lot of her characteristics are the way they are to help the plot develop, but that just makes her almost insufferable to deal with. And the romance in this story? Why, why, why, why, WHY? Couldn’t we have taken all the effort thrown into that disaster and used it to try to come up with a better plot?
I managed to make it through the story, because I kept hoping Tora would get bashed over the head with something (she does) and it would knock some sense into her (it doesn’t). And I kept hoping that Helvig would divert away from these sad characters and at least give me a little bit of juicy sci-fi to work with. But she doesn’t, so don’t bother with this one.