A Book I Won’t Soon Forget
4.25 out of 5 stars
First things first – there will be a few spoiler elements in this review. I can’t not talk about some of the main features (that you don’t see in the first part of the book). This review would be weird and completely unreadable if I don’t talk about it. Just know that the things that I talk about all but one are in the description (and the other is in/on the cover). So, I’m trying really hard, but it’s not easy.
Before I get into the spoilerish part of my review. Know that the main character, Rachel is gay. She’s a gay Martian who I thought Peak did a phenomenal job writing. She was strong, determined, but also full of self-doubt. She understood that those around here looked at her because she was different. The irony was that the world that Peak created in Signal didn’t seem to mind the fact that she was gay more than they minded that she was born on Mars. One can only hope that we as a society will move past being scared/angry at someone because of who they love. Now, I am an ally and I believe that love is love – so the main character being gay really resonated with me. She was different from any other main character I’ve ever read.
She was thrown into an absolute dumpster fire from the very beginning of this and fought through self-doubt, others doubts, and insane things going on around here to try and keep the mission and even more the people together.
I tried to figure out how to write about and describe why I liked her so much, but I think it was because the choice that Peak made to focus on her difference being where she was born over who she loved. It resonated with me because of all the friends I have who don’t get that luxury. On top of that, she was a great choice for the main character.
Now that I spent two large paragraphs on explaining Rachel – I realize quickly that this review is going to get long, fast. So, know that I enjoyed the book, there is just a lot of things I want to type out because Signal was a book that had so many layers and things that touch on a lot of subjects.
So, into the spoilerish part of the review. There appeared to be three main antagonists at play in this book all coming from one main area. There was the azure ocean-like substance that appeared, the vivid nightmares, and the vines (the only thing not specifically mentioned in his synopsis). Each one of these had their own place and each one was a fascinating glimpse into each character as they dealt with seeing/hearing/feeling each thing. The nightmares were easily the most interesting part because it gave you a glimpse into the character without needing full back stories for each.
There was a part that really bugged me about this book since it’s mentioned numerous times that each character underwent a strict psychological review. Each character had a major flaw that you would think would have come out in a simple review of them. Being second (or at least thrust into first) in command, Rachel’s self-doubt and overall imposter syndrome probably would have discounted her. Kovak (I believe that was his name) and his “mission over everyone and everything else” is probably some mental health issue that would have been caught too. Each person had something like this that was obvious, but I think that there could be two explanations for it. One being that the moon brought it out of them – the nightmares, seeing things, etc, would really bring out the worst in someone. Two is that the company knew this and either wiped major issues from their files or something so that they were able to achieve their goals in the end (trying not to over-spoil anything).
The book was a marathon to the end and the ending felt a little rushed – Peak spent so much time getting us to understand what was going on and there was a major climax at the end where things kind of neatly tie themselves up. I liked the ending, I just felt like the pacing of it differed from the rest of the book. Thankfully, the characters and issues that they faced throughout made this a blast to read. A few times I thought “okay, this is how it ends” and there were more than 2 hours left.
I’m sure that Peak had an overarching theme of this book and I have a guess at what I think it is, but I don’t want to ruin the experience for others either. It’s like listening to lyrics of your favorite song – you get what you get out of it. And it probably differs from what I got out of it.
(I’m sorry, I know this is a long review). The audio quality of this was awesome. I was pleased to hear Amanda Rose Smith produced it. It sounded like some of the audio dramas and other books I’ve listened to where she produced them (especially the “cut-scene” parts of it where they were in the ship and acting vs narrating). There was only one character that was grating on my ears and I think it was done on purpose. There was one person who was meant to be annoying and they definitely pulled that off. I thought that Allyson Johnson did a fantastic job narrating the story and I’m glad that Audible Studios also went with the audio drama feel for the cut-scene parts featuring a few other voice actors.
Overall, a fantastic book that I obviously had lots to say about. Signal by Tony Peak is definitely a book I won’t forget for a long time.
Signal by Tony Peak
Narrator: Allyson Johnson, Fred Berman, Natasha Soudek, Raphael Corkhill
Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
Published by Audible Studios on November 16th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction
They were sent to investigate the first extraterrestrial signal. What they found was beyond anything they could have imagined - or feared.
On a voyage to a mysterious moon in the Alpha Centauri system, the UEA Centaurus meets with disaster. Only the quick thinking of the flight engineer, Rachel Terman, saves some of the crew. Crash-landing on the moon, trillions of kilometers from Earth, they struggle to carry out their mission and try to survive.
But nothing has prepared them for what they will face. False readings on sensors. Bizarre nightmares. Crew members vanishing.
Then, Rachel discovers a blue, glassy lake.
And everything changes. If the signal abides - will humankind fall?
Signal is the latest gripping science-fiction thriller from rising star Tony Peak.
I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.