I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on 1st October 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
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Alone was the note Cade knew best. It was the root of all her chords.
Seventeen-year-old Cade is a fierce survivor, solo in the universe with her cherry-red guitar. Or so she thought. Her world shakes apart when a hologram named Mr. Niven tells her she was created in a lab in the year 3112, then entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan.
Cade’s quest to locate Xan joins her with an array of outlaws—her first friends—on a galaxy-spanning adventure. And once Cade discovers the wild joy of real connection, there’s no turning back.
Jen said this was being touted as Star Wars meets Graceling. Entangled is a decent space opera (I’ll add more on the somewhat sexist connotation behind that term later), but I feel that’s like saying a hamster is a saber-tooth tiger meets Rainbow Dash. Hamsters are great. Even if they’re really cute but over-sized rodents who should be eaten by a more deserving predator. The point is, marketing people, don’t turn something good into something it’s not just to sell it.
Or at least tell the whole truth. It’s Star Wars I The Phantom Menace meets the Darkest Minds by Alexander Bracken.
There is nothing actually wrong with Entangled. It’s good, solid scifi. I liked Cade as a character, and her mission to save Xan was emotionally driven. This plot was driven by the main character, and she’s proactive, intelligent and capable. The writing is good, though I would have preferred a more descriptive flare. There were so many new and inventive elements, but I sometimes had trouble picturing them and the universe.
The biggest distraction for me, was that I felt that some of the science was off. And, understand, that if the author wants to come correct me on any of these details, she should please feel free! I don’t want to be wrong about sciencey stuff on the internet!
But I did contact two blogger friends of mine Shaheen and Tsana who are both very, very smart people with degrees in space sciencey things like astrophysics. I dunno. I’m not great at that stuff. Which annoyed me, because even I found myself thinking that some of the science seemed wrong.
And this is leaving behind the whole Entanglement concept and the spaceship that is a biological creature. Those are core fantasy elements, so I’ll leave them alone. But little things annoyed me, which seems ridiculous. But when you’re reading a science fiction novel, bad science can be frustrating.
Like when someone just accidentally runs into a blackhole, but manages to escape.
I’m just going to straight out quote Shaheen:
a) The blackhole can be isolated – there are no longer any objects near it that could fall into it. In this case, there would be no way to tell if the blackhole is there until you were well within its gravitational field (way, way past the point of no return) and getting spaghettified (an actual scientific term that describes the stretching of an object because the part closer to the blackhole feels a larger gravitational force and ‘falls’ faster towards the blackhole than the part further away — say, the head and feet of a person)b) The blackhole is close to some other material – for example a nebula, some interstellar material (remnants of old stars and what not). In this case, the edge of the blackhole would be very very bright, because infalling material would be accelerated and give off a lot of light energy through violent disintegration. It would, as you say, be impossible to not realise you were getting near it.
Or when she looks into the blackhole and sees, “The black in front of the ship was the darkest she’d ever seen. The darkest she could imagine. So much dark that light seemed like a lie someone had told her once.”
Once again, Shehan chimes in:
1B. The vacuum of space poses an interesting question of whether one could ‘see’ the absense of light that is a black-hole. My understanding is no — the human eye simply can’t process that lack of light and would essentially skip over the aberration — it’s well documented that the human eye (or rather, the brain) simply skips over things it can’t process.
After all, Eigengrau is the shade you see in complete darkness (the sky only looks blacker because of the contrast between it and the stars. I don’t know how dark your eye can really perceive when you’re in space looking into true black. But I’m going with no.)
Also, Cade mentions recovering from being under intense gravity. But the thing is, she’s snatched from the cusp of a spaghettification.
And after talking to Tsana:
“As for being sucked into a black hole, I’m pretty sure you’d die from your body stretching pretty quickly. I mean, if you were going in feet first you’d pass out from the blood pooling in your legs away from your head. Although you wouldn’t feel the gravity per se while you’re falling (as in, because you’d be in free-fall) once there’s a significant difference in gravity between one end of you and the other (or even one end of your spaceship and the other — that wouldn’t stretch elastically and you’d also die if the hull ruptured) you’re doomed. Humans can’t withstand particularly high gravitational forces even when they’re constant across their whole bodies, so I can’t see how varying forces would bode well.”
There was one other thing, but that’s a spoiler if I discuss it.
This seems petty, but these issues affected my enjoyment. So did my inability to connect with the characters over all. Other than Cade, I really didn’t feel that any character was fleshed out or tangible. I didn’t connect to them at all, because I felt like they were just window-dressing, often their motivations felt alien to me.
But this book, other wise, is fun and emotionally packed scifi. So, yeah, go forth and enjoy it.
Also, would a sabre-tooth Rainbow Dash be too much to ask, people?