Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Review: Song and Signal by M.E. Patterson

Song and Signal book cover
Image from M.E. Patterson; used by permission

Title: Song and Signal

Author: M.E. Patterson

Genre: Science Fiction

Seventeen-year-old genius Zakiri Sharp lives on a corporate-owned mining station at the edge of the solar system with a mute alien for a guardian and brainwashed ex-convicts for company. The day his father vanished was so long ago that Zak thought he would never hear from him again. He was wrong. Chased off-station by near-mythical assassins, Zak and his best friend Elizabet embark on a journey across the galaxy to find his father’s hiding place and the universe-shaking secret he hides with him. But their enemies will stop at nothing to have that secret for themselves.

I’m not sure exactly what appealed to me about this book. Maybe it was the genius part, or maybe it was the near-mythical assassins. Whatever it was, Song and Signal sounded interesting enough.

Zak didn’t seem very genius-y to me. Maybe he was a technological genius – he was certainly good at hacking and other tech stuff – but he didn’t seem super smart in other areas. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like him, because I did. He just wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Liz, on the other hand, had the attributes I would have expected from the main character in a story involving assassins – strong, brave, stubborn, and not all that shabby at fighting. She fit better in a supporting role, though, because there was something I didn’t quite like about her.

The assassins were not as important as I thought. Song and Signal is less about the action, running-from-bad-guys stuff and more of a mystery, trying to put pieces together and figure out what the heck Zak’s dad wants and where he’s hiding. And there’s also a lot about various alien races and a slight anti-big-business message. I enjoyed it, for the most part, it just wasn’t quite what I’d expected. There wasn’t as much action as I expected (or hacking as I wanted).

I did like Song and Signal. My expectations were way off, and sometimes I wanted more action and less deductive stuff, but I did enjoy the story and I loved the awesome deep-space world. Not my favorite book ever, but worth the read.

I received a free review copy of Song and Signal from the author. His generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.


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