I saw someone on Twitter review this and it caught my attention, and I’m really glad it did. I loved reading this unique concept and the audiobook was an excellent experience. Apparently it’s also going to be a movie featuring Robert Pattinson and that is absolutely the perfect casting. I can’t wait to see his take on the very chaotic Mickey.
About the book:
Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there’s a mission that’s too dangerous—even suicidal—the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact. After six deaths, Mickey7 understands the terms of his deal…and why it was the only colonial position unfilled when he took it.
On a fairly routine scouting mission, Mickey7 goes missing and is presumed dead. By the time he returns to the colony base, surprisingly helped back by native life, Mickey7’s fate has been sealed. There’s a new clone, Mickey8, reporting for Expendable duties. The idea of duplicate Expendables is universally loathed, and if caught, they will likely be thrown into the recycler for protein.
Mickey7 must keep his double a secret from the rest of the colony. Meanwhile, life on Niflheim is getting worse. The atmosphere is unsuitable for humans, food is in short supply, and terraforming is going poorly. The native species are growing curious about their new neighbors, and that curiosity has Commander Marshall very afraid. Ultimately, the survival of both lifeforms will come down to Mickey7.
That is, if he can just keep from dying for good.
What did I think?
I liked this a lot, though it wasn’t even a little bit what I expected. Mickey7 was an engaging main character and loving him made me a lot more engaged in the story than I might have been if I didn’t like him so much. Equally, the audiobook was a fantastic performance and really added to the atmosphere of the novel. I highly recommend it as a good way to read this book.
The premise of the novel kind of implies that the book will focus entirely on the conflict that arises from Mickey7 and Mickey8 existing at the same time. But in reality, Mickey8 doesn’t feature much in the story at all, with the whole novel driven far more by Mickey7 and his history. I actually liked this better, but it was strange to realise that you could take Mickey8 out entirely and have a very similar and equally strong story.
The book was interspersed with Mickey7’s experiences as an expendable, and with history of humanity’s expansion through the stars, and as an avid sci-fi reader I really liked seeing this interpretation of humanity. I loved the insight we saw into people’s attitudes towards the expendables, with their vital role being weighed against humankind’s inherent fear of death, with an added note of religious fear on top.
Kind of as an aside, I do wish this book had found a better way to hammer home the idea of resource scarcity and 7 and 8 having to pretend to be one person because honestly? If I read them discussing how many calories they were each allowed one more time, I was going to scream. I understand its narrative purpose but it made my skin crawl.
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Release Date: February 15th 2022