Last year, I was blown away by Kayla Olson‘s debut novel, The Sandcastle Empire, after having a love-hate relationship with YA dystopian novels. I basically told myself I would read anything she publishes, and so when This Splintered Silence was released in November, I bought myself a copy and prepared to dive into a space station thriller.
After a deadly virus kills every first-generation crew member on space station, Lusca, Lindley Hamilton had to step up and become the new captain. And it’s been a struggle. But when a second-generation crew member dies and the symptoms appear to be from the virus, things go from bad to worse. As more people die and Lindley investigates the causes of death, she begins to wonder if it’s not a virus at all, but someone from the space station killing the others.
The aspect of this book I appreciate the most is how authentic Lindley’s voice is. Despite how crazy the situation is and how, at times, it may seem unbelievable that a group of teenagers could survive on a space station alone, Lindley’s perspective offers the honest truth to their survival. Her thought process on how to make sure everything is in working order helps smooth out any wrinkles one might have in trying to decipher whether the events of this book were plausible.
But since it’s a murder mystery/thriller, I’ll give it a pass because once you start the book you don’t have time to sit around and debate whether things are plausible because people are being murdered and chaos is ensuing.
The other great aspect is how suspenseful and gut-wrenching the book is. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I read it. There were a few moments I had to set the book aside just to allow myself a moment to breathe and step away from the narrative because of how intense it was. If you’re looking for a thrilling murder mystery set in space, this is your book.
The few aspects I wanted more of were the other characters. Now I know this is a murder mystery from a first person perspective, but I never felt like I really understood the other characters, even the ones Lindley interacts with the most. They were kind of breezed by because of the plot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While it would be silly to jump from head to head in a murder mystery story, I wish I could have seen the situation from someone else’s perspective.
I also could have done without a love triangle or any type of romance. I know this is YA and that’s usually to be expected in a story, but I thought it took away from the plot and made Lindley come across selfish and petty. Plus, the tension between the three is never resolved by the end of the book, and we don’t get to see if she ever chooses between the two.
Overall, This Splintered Silence is a suspenseful thriller set in outer space, reminiscent of Illuminae and Lost in Space. It’s intense and horrifying and pretty much what you would expect from a murder mystery set on a space station.