Synopsis: Mars Xi can kill you with her mind, but she’ll need more than psychic powers to save her in Killing Gravity, the thrilling science fiction space adventure debut by Corey J. White.
Before she escaped in a bloody coup, MEPHISTO transformed Mariam Xi into a deadly voidwitch. Their training left her with terrifying capabilities, a fierce sense of independence, a deficit of trust, and an experimental pet named Seven. She’s spent her life on the run, but the boogeymen from her past are catching up with her. An encounter with a bounty hunter has left her hanging helpless in a dying spaceship, dependent on the mercy of strangers.
Penned in on all sides, Mariam chases rumors to find the one who sold her out. To discover the truth and defeat her pursuers, she’ll have to stare into the abyss and find the secrets of her past, her future, and her terrifying potential.
Corey: The month of TOR.COM madness continues, this time with Corey J. White’s debut book. Killing Gravity was pretty fucking spectacular! Just a very solidly written, fast-paced sci-fi novella, with some pretty fresh ideas thrown into a somewhat familiar construct.
Mariam “Mars” Xi proves to be a pretty engaging protagonist, someone with a shit-ton of baggage & darkness in her past. And her powers as a voidwitch certainly feel unique in a sci-fi setting!
There’s kind of a mishmash of different subgenres of science fiction happening here…it’s a bit of a space opera, a teensy bit of military sci-fi, some cyberpunk thrown in for good measure…but it still feels very character driven, too. This is a really fucking cool book!
Holly: Fuck yes, Corey! This was violent & fun & surprisingly gory at times! Plus one of the best characters is a weirdly awesome alien cat-thing! YES PLEASE!!
This was almost like a Miriam Black in space book. HOLD UP. I’m not crazy.. I just mean.. Mariam/Miriam.. both are badass, have psychic abilities & are killing machines! THEY AREN’T THAT FAR OFF!!
Corey J. White was able to pack quite the punch in such a short story. This could have easily been fluffed up to a full-length novel & not have been nearly as captivating! The writing was great, the worldbuilding was intriguing & the pacing was fucking fantastic!
Corey: The pacing was almost frenetic! You just get thrown right into things without warning!
I didn’t get the Miriam Black vibe reading it initially, but now that you mention it, I can see the similarities! That same take-no-shit attitude! I also picked up a slight Dollhouse/Firefly influence, too.
Agreed, this is the perfect length for this story! It moves right along, with no filler. Killing Gravity features a great female protagonist with a badass set of powers, and a pretty diverse cast of characters overall. Mars is someone I’m really excited to learn more about in the next book!! Just a really quality debut, and another excellent novella from TOR.COM.
Holly: It’s inevitable that a space thriller with a diverse, snarky, wise-cracking crew would draw comparisons to Firefly. YOU KNOW MY LOVE FOR FIREFLY BURNS DEEP!!! There are for sure those type of vibes throughout & maybe Mass Effect/Halo undertones as well, but it definitely brings some new ideas to the already crowded sci-fi table!
This was a killer debut! You had previously mentioned how character driven this was. I really dug that it focused on Mars & how she has been on the run from the people that created her, rather than trying to tell the story of the whole fracking galaxy. Especially with the length that it is.
Mars is an excellent protagonist. SHE’S A SPACE WITCH FOR FUCK SAKES! How insane is that?! She is a hardened individual with a softer side that she doesn’t show often. Having that softer side – showing that she has layers, is what truly makes her a badass! I love her!
Killing Gravity is wicked fun, but it also deals with a lot of deep shit in just under 200 pages. War, misogyny, sense of self, politics, abuse, trust, survival. This is such a smartly written story & features a small cast of brilliant characters that you can’t help but grow attached to! Really looking forward to Void Black Shadow next month, Corey!
The Grimdragons Rating: 4 tiny cat-like alien creatures out of 5!!
(Thank you to Tor.com Publishing for providing us with copies in exchange for an honest review!)