Review: Syzygy by J.K. Ullrich

SyzygyDisclaimer: I received an electronic version of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Even though the majority of the characters, including the two point of view characters, in this book are teenagers, this never feels like a young adult novel. Instead, it’s an intriguing look at two opposed post-apocalyptic societies on Earth’s moon, with interesting world-building details that show how both factions view their place in humanity’s future. 

The fast-paced plot has lots of twists and turns that surprised and occasionally shocked me. Ullrich has a good grasp on both the science presented in the book and how wacky small communities can become in isolation.

At a few moments, there was so much going on that I couldn’t quite remember whose point of view I was supposed to be in. My only significant complaint is how Ullrich appears to use a tired writing trope to further the arc of a male character, but I ended up pleased by how the trope was subverted to move the main plot along. The ending was exciting but felt a bit rushed, with characters making big dramatic decisions that aren’t necessarily thought out. The final moments were poignant, but I felt cheated by the lack of a solid decision, even as I recognize that the author wants the reader to imagine the characters on the path they would have personally chosen.

This story boils down to the age-old conflicts of power and how it stratifies a society, and how people think that they’re building toward something new but instead just repeating the past. It was an exciting ride that readers looking for hopeful post-apocalyptic fiction should not miss.

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter), and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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