Song of Song, by L.J. LaBarthe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 18, 2016)
Genre: Science Fiction, Gay (M/M)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
It is the year 2275, and though some consider Earth a paradise, for most people on the planet or her outer-world colonies, it’s anything but.
Dex is a Boxie—a genetically engineered human created for the sole purpose of caring for wealthy bio-humans. His best and only friend is an AI cat named Manx, a secret Dex keeps from all around him. While he knows little about his sexuality, he’s attracted to Song.
Song designs ships that traverse deep space and has created the first fully sentient vessel called Fa’a. When he hears of a plot to capture Fa’a for nefarious purposes, Song flees Earth with a small band of misfits. Meanwhile, Dex’s fear of losing Manx drives him to take the cat and escape on a transport.
Song and Dex are brought together by chance. Just as their relationship blossoms from cautious and shy to romantic and erotic, new dangers threaten to destroy not only their love but also Fa’a, their friends, Manx, and all they care about.
A slave. A genius. A crew of misfits. A sentient spaceship. A power-hungry villain.
L.J. sets the stage for a terrifying future, where people are genetically engineered as slaves, where the wealthy live on a restored Earth, and where anyone who doesn’t fit the mold is forced off-planet, to jail, or worse: wiped of all personality, left a husk of their former self.
I really enjoyed elements of this novel. There were a few areas where I really struggled, but on the whole I thought that Dex and his journey was very interesting!
I think what I loved most was how Dex never loses hope. He escapes the system to save his only friend, and he faces life with the endless optimism of someone who has never encountered true freedom until now.
Song was a daydream, a fantasy.
Most of the novel is excellent, with creative world-building and interesting characters. But I also felt like the novel suffered from Lazy Writing Syndrome… in other words, the author threw in a deus ex machina rather than write the characters getting out of trouble on their own.
I also felt like we missed large gaps at times; characters who were written out for no apparent reason, titles that made no sense, diabolical plots that didn’t work logically.
Suspend belief, though. This is a fun science fiction novel, and Dex is a fascinating character. I could have done without his relationship with Song (it did nothing for me, to be honest), but Dex as a character was definitely enough to keep me turning pages.