Review: Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson

station fosaan by dee garretson book review blog header

Published: February 14th, 2017 by Month9Books | Series: Torch World #1 | Length: 300 pages | Genre: YA sci-fi | Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for a review. | Content Warning: racism, colonialism

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Summary from Goodreads:

Earth scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly three-hundred years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain. 

Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the small population of reclusive Fosaanians, descendants of the survivors. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Neen plans to do both of those things.

When Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit, he soon learns Earth’s government may not be telling the whole truth about Fosaan and the cause of the past disaster. 

There are some who to restore the planet to its former glory by any means necessary. Quinn finds himself caught between his loyalty to his own people and what is right for Mira and her people. 

Before he can decide what to do, the scientists are taken captive, stranding the young Earthers on Fosaan. 

Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of those both on Fosaan and at home.

I’ve been waiting to write this review because I’m having a bit of a hard time piecing together my thoughts. Overall, I didn’t think this was a bad story, but I also wasn’t in love with it.

I’m having a big problem trying to figure out whether or not the book handled colonialism sensitively. I think this is something that readers won’t really be able to decide upon until the whole series has been wrapped up. There are some conversations about how Earthers have negatively impacted Fosaanian society, seemingly exposing colonialism as a negative thing. However, the overall plot of this book on its own seems to reinforce a colonialist mindset, showing Fosaanian leaders as the “bad guys” and Earthers as people who are there to intervene and save the citizens. But while there were times that colonialism seemed to be justified, you definitely get the idea that there’s more to the story than the Earthers are told. If I’m correct, the story has potential to show the ways in which people are kind of brainwashed into thinking their society is colonizing others for the sake of the greater good while being kept in the dark as to their leaders’ real motivations and the actual impact they’re having on these societies they’re supposedly helping. Depending on how the topic is approached in subsequent books, this could either end up going very well or it could fall flat. Unfortunately, I think readers will just have to wait and see.

Aside from that, I have no major complaints or hesitations. The pacing could’ve been improved a little bit as there were some sections of the book that seemed to drag on while the ending was packed full of action, but there was still enough going on throughout the book that kept me interested.

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One of the book’s strongest parts was the cast of characters. There are essentially 4 main characters. There are three Earthers, Quinn, Decker, and Lainie; and one Fosaanian, Mira. Quinn is the character most focused on, as the story is told from his point of view, but the other three have prominent roles. There was a lot to like about them. On their own, I don’t think any of the characters were that remarkable, but as a group, they were incredibly entertaining. The group dynamics between them made for some amusing banter as well as some more emotional scenes. It was pretty easy for me to become a bit attached to them and find myself rooting for them to succeed. None of them are perfect either; they all have their moments of being shown that they’re maybe being a bit unfair or ignorant and need to consider other perspectives before jumping to conclusions.

The world-building was a little underwhelming, but I did really like what we see of it. While I would’ve liked to get the chance to understand a bit more of the history between Fosaan and Earth, I suspect the rest of the series will flesh that out a bit more. I thought Garretson did a great job of including technology into this sci-fi world of hers because although it’s obviously more advanced than the technology we have in our modern world, it didn’t seem too far-fetched or impossible based on technology we have now (well, maybe except for travelling to other planets/galaxies). I love when sci-fi novels do that because it makes it a bit more believable and realistic to me (and yes, I understand that it’s a bit weird to be praising sci-fi for being realistic and believable…).

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Like I said at the start of this review, I have some mixed thoughts on Station Fosaan. The best part of the book, at least for me, was reading the interactions between the different characters and seeing their relationships evolve. I think I’ll have to read more of the series to really solidify my thoughts on the first installment, though it’s managed to capture my interest and make me want to read more, so Garretson definitely deserves some credit for that. If you like sci-fi and/or character-driven novels, Station Fosaan might be worth taking a look at.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


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