Off Rock

December 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

rockOff Rock by Kierna Shea

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Jimmy Vik works for an outer space mining company, drilling what needs drilling out of asteroids and such. His ex-girlfriend is his boss, which complicates things when he finds a vein of gold in his mining shaft, and comes up with the grand idea to smuggle it off the rock to live high on the hog. The problem is, smuggling something off the rock is a lot more complicated than it looks, and as every potential smuggler already knows, it never goes as planned.

Off Rock is a heist novel, and pretty much nothing else. Shea tells an engaging, ripping tale, but he sacrifices characterization and theme for his plot. Near the end of the book, he tries to give the story a point, but it feels clumsy and forced, and it’s ultimately unnecessary, since the story doesn’t require one. We’re simply along for the ride, and aren’t looking for anything deeper than “Will he pull this off?”

Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend, Leela, is a bit troublesome, not because she’s his boss, but because her character takes an about-face near the end of the story. There’s a reason for it, but it doesn’t feel true, and it feels like Shea forced it in there because he needed it, to give the story a (kind of) happy ending. The other secondary characters also serve their purpose, but feel inserted into the events, again because Shea needed it, not because the characters were significant enough on their own.

The beginning of the book has a lot of info-dumps through dialogue, making the characters sound unnatural. I work in IT, so I get that some conversations require passing along a lot of technical information, but somehow these didn’t feel realistic. Beyond that, the dialogue focuses on the heist, and is less necessary to relay a lot of information to the reader (or I just stopped noticing it), but it was tough getting into the book at the start.

Regardless, Off Rock is a romp of a read. It doesn’t try to be anything else than fun, and even if Shea gets a little bogged down in the snarkiness and irreverence of his characters, he still succeeds. I’m not sure if it’s the kind of book that encourages me to read everything else he’s read, but if you’re looking for the science fiction equivalent of a beach read, Off Rock is it.

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