The Evaporation of Sofi Snow
by Mary Weber
Publication Date: June 2017
Goodreads: See here
Plot at a Glance:
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been plagued with dark visions she can’t make sense of. In a future vision of Earth, where corporations have taken control of the planet, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. Online gamers, she and her brother have seen great success and are to compete in the Fan Fighting arena. When a terrorist attack takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi is the only one who believes her brother is still alive, and the evidence she’s found points to the Delonese planet hanging in the sky. With the help of Miguel, ambassador to the Delonese race, Sofi sets aside virtual reality to take control of her own life, and get her brother back.
I admire Mary Weber for her creativity and all she set out to do with the story here, but unfortunately a messy execution meant that I was lost for a majority of it.
The setting and the way it factors into the plot is certainly ambitious. A futuristic Earth-society, in which government control has broken down and been assimilated by 30 separate corporations is both a disturbing and intriguing idea. Also, it’s one I could totally see happening in a dystopian future, so I enjoyed that aspect of it. But so many things are left totally unexplained. In particular: information about these corporations, and what made them so special that they became the majority power-holders in this society.
Every time you think something’s about to be explained, the story shifts gears again in order to focus on something else that is similarly under described. Take for example, the gaming that Sofi and her brother participate in.
From what I could tell, it was part virtual reality, real people and computer hacking that went on behind the scenes while spectators watched. It made very little sense and as exciting as I’m sure it was intended to be, I wasn’t entirely bought in because I had no idea what was going on.
Also, as much as I love the YA genre, I hate it when teenage characters are given jobs beyond their years. It’s a pet peeve of mine to see central teenage characters in YA taking on the role of adults. Miguel – the male main character opposite Sofi – is a rainbow-haired playboy, and ambassador for his corporation to the alien race, and has been since he was 16 years old. As such, he’s privy to all these political meetings and governmental machinations.
What happened to average teenagers getting caught up in events beyond their control? Do they all have to be ambassadors, royalty, assassins and otherwise overly-powered characters living beyond their means?
We can’t talk about Miguel and Sofi and not talk about the romance. Weber skillfully avoids the instalove trope by making them old acquaintances with a history. The only problem is, their history is so dramatic, it moved from compelling to soap-opera. They dated once, but Miguel thought Sofi was too good for him, so he breaks up with her and Sofi believes it’s because he didn’t want to sleep with her and so the two orbit each other and hate, (but secretly love) each other all along.
“You were so much more than good enough – so much better than what I’d known – that it broke something in me I have never recovered from.”
Lastly, the prose left a lot to be desired. The places the characters visited were often barely-described beyond white-walls and large windows, and certain narrative choices drove me mental. You can’t use a close 3rd person omniscient narrator and then purposefully choose to have that narrator gloss over certain things that are incredibly important to the plot, like a set of photos that keep getting brought up but not described until 84% into the story.
Also, specific descriptors left a lot to be desired:
“She frowned. And then her lungs imploded.”
“Sofi’s ribs cracked wide open twenty times in a row to match each new voice – each tearstained cheek.”
“Her limbs had turned to gummy worms.”
I still don’t really understand how or in what way Sofi really evaporated by the end of the story. I think it’s clear from the way this ends that there are some big plans for the remainder of the series, but I don’t think I feel invested enough in the story or the characters to see it through.
🌟🌟✩✩✩ = 2 stars out of 5!
Thanks Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for an ARC of this!
Can you recommend any good YA Sci-fi to me? This one didn’t hit the spot for me personally, but I know there’s got to be some great ones out there!