REVIEW | Judgement Dave | S.I. Clarke | Starship Teapot #2

I read and reviewed THE LEFT HAND OF DOG when it came out, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I was offered a chance to review JUDGEMENT DAVE, I jumped at it. These are strange little favourites of mine, perfect to curl up with and lose myself in for a few hours of sci-fi escapism.

Thanks to S.I. Clarke for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.

Character - 9 Atmosphere - 8 Writing - 8 Plot - 8 Intrigue - 8 Logic - 8 Enjoyment - 9 Rating: 8.29 / 4 stars
Rating: 8.29 / 4 stars

About the book:

This time, the universe puts the cat in catastrophe.

Plucked from her home on Earth and ending up aboard a strange spaceship in an even stranger universe, Lem and the misfit crew of the Teapot have more than enough trouble on their hands… and then they receive an urgent last-minute call to save a race of cat-people from certain destruction.

Stuck with a disaster-platypus of a project manager and an entire race of people seemingly determined to thwart their own rescue, the Teapot’s crew face the impossible job of herding cats and helping evacuate the planet before it’s blown to smithereens.

Can Lem and the gang avert disaster and save this race of infuriating cat-people?

What did I think?

I actually think I enjoyed JUDGEMENT DAVE even more than I liked THE LEFT HAND OF DOG. We have established characters now and lots of delightfully queer found family, and they warmed my gay little heart. On top of that, while JUDGEMENT DAVE managed to uphold the comedy and pop culture references of the first book, we also got to see a much deeper and complicated conflict in this one. I ended up reading the whole thing in two sittings, getting through half of the book on each of my lunch breaks because I couldn’t put it down.

It’s not easy to balance humour in a book with heavy topics like slavery and genocide, and I felt like SI Clarke did an impressive job with this one. Particularly I loved Lem’s feelings of helplessness in the face of a huge problem that seemed too big for them to handle. It resonated with me very heavily as someone who often looks at the state of the world and struggles with knowing how to even start helping. Even if it did ache to read about people just denying and ignoring a crisis (a bit too real, ouch). I also really liked that we got to see Lem realising and acknowledging their biases. There’s very little I love more than a character with human flaws learning to do better.

We got to see more creatures from across the galaxy in this book, as well as exploring more of the relationships between Teapot crew members, and I love the sheer breadth of characters and how different they all are – though I can’t help but find it hilarious that the cat-like creatures are the ones who are disorganised, elitist and oppressive. I love cats, but that? That’s pretty accurate.

I maintain that SI’s books are perfect for anyone who loves Becky Chambers or SJ Whitby and wants to read something fun, a little wacky and ultimately emotional and moving. I can’t wait to read more about my favourite rag tag crew of warm-hearted space travellers.

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Release Date: 25th January 2022

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