The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older is a sci-fi novella that will be the first of a series. It’s marketed as a “cozy gaslamp mystery and sapphic romance set on Jupiter” and while this sounds awesome, this was not a win for me.
On a remote, gas-wreathed outpost of a human colony on Jupiter, a man goes missing. The enigmatic Investigator Mossa follows his trail to Valdegeld, home to the colony’s erudite university—and Mossa’s former girlfriend, a scholar of Earth’s pre-collapse ecosystems.
Pleiti has dedicated her research and her career to aiding the larger effort towards a possible return to Earth. When Mossa unexpectedly arrives and requests Pleiti’s assistance in her latest investigation, the two of them embark on a twisting path in which the future of life on Earth is at stake—and, perhaps, their futures, together.
That was boring which is really quite an accomplishment in a book this short. The world seemed like it was built quite nicely in the author’s head but I felt like I was reading fan fiction where I was supposed to understand the world. I didn’t care about the characters at all, they were indistinguishable and rather boring. A few chapters in the middle there had my attention for a while but it was quickly lost to this mystery that I could follow because the world was poorly explained. I liked that it was short and the author had an obvious vision but it was not communicated well and it felt like a triumph to finish these 166 pages, that’s just sad.
I don’t really have much else to say, I’m already forgetting what happened. This book has left zero impression on me and now it’s done.
I rate my books using the CAWPILE system creating by Book Roast but with a few tweaks of my own. Here’s the breakdown:
- Characters – 3: I didn’t dislike them but I didn’t like them either.
- Atmosphere – 1.5: I think the author had an atmosphere in mind but it was so poorly explained. Rings and coldness and a train, that’s all I got. Heck, if it isn’t for the dust jacket, I wouldn’t know they were on Jupiter, it could have been another planet.
- Writing – 2.5: The writing wasn’t horrible but someone needed to tell this author that things were not explained at all.
- Plot – 3.5: There was a mystery and a hint of romance that captured my attention for a few chapters. I soon got bored but there was a tiny plot that was ok.
- Intrigue – 1: Never has a 166 page book felt quite this long.
- Logic – 3: What was explained made sense but very little of the world was explained.
- Enjoyment – 2.5: I didn’t hate it but definitely glad it’s over.
Weighted Average CAWPILE – 2.63
Star Rating – 2 stars (just barely)
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