by Mur Lafferty
4.0 / 5 stars
I was actually going to rate this lower, until quite recently, actually. I came into the last day waffling between a 3.0 and a 3.5, since I was having quite the time of working through it. Now that could be explained by a lot of different factors—but needless to say I wasn’t really in to it.
Then came the last 150-so pages.
I read these in a day, pretty much all at once. But lets’ not get ahead of ourselves… er, um… myselves.
SIX WAKES is a very intriguing novel by a first-time (published) author, Mur Lafferty. Needless to say, I’d never heard of her before this. I picked up SIX WAKES at the library and had to interrupt something else I was reading to finish it. Anyway, the entire premise is built around cloning. The first few pages lay out laws that govern cloning and clones, respectively. The story arc covers the crew of the ship Dormire as it paddles its way through space, en route to the mysterious planet Artemis, so the crew and their cargo of another 2,500 minds can begin a new life. A revolutionary new mission, each crew member is a former criminal, that is essentially completing community service—in the shape of piloting the ship for a hundred-plus year voyage—to commute their sentence. But there’s a twist. To a man (as in human; if you know me, I use ‘man’ to refer to ‘humankind’ and NO I’M NOT SEXIST I JUST DON’T LIKE THREE-SYLLABLE WORDS DAMNIT), the Dormire crew awakes to find the corpses of their former selves floating in the cargo bay: bloody, broken, and very, very much dead. At this point they must find their killer.
But there’s another twist. As they’re essentially running a skeleton crew, the Dormire has no one but the six crew members, and the ship’s AI, waking. Which means no one could have killed them, but them. This is coupled with the fact that they all have criminal pasts that they’ve been told won’t matter once they reach Artemis. As such, none of them wants to talk about their previous lives. As you can imagine, this makes solving the mystery of their murder, and who murdered them… well, just a bit of a challenge.
As the story goes along, we are introduced to the crew’s past, along with the crimes and actions that had led them to this point. Around this time, patterns begin to crop up. A couple in particular. But along with these patterns, more distrust is sown. So much so that I couldn’t help but wondering if the past would repeat itself? SIX WAKES may be a tale of humanity for all the parallels it draws, for all the lessons it imparts.
As I mentioned, it took some time for me to get into it. It’s that time of the year though, with Nanowrimo starting up and the cold and snows settling in. Plus I’ve got a touch of a cold and some lingering insomnia cutting in. The end almost made up for it, but well, not enough to work it into the best books of the year. It is a good read, though. Quite so, in fact, especially towards the end.
I’d recommend it, especially if you like Becky Chambers or Richard K. Morgan. Anyway, thumbs up and all—now back to writing.