Assassin’s Orbit by: John Appel

The premise of this book was exciting. I love sci-fi, the comps were right up my alley. Golden Girls, Babylon 5? The Expanse? Sign me up!
All with a diverse cast of characters? I couldn’t believe how amazing it sounded.

And, for me, it turned out to be too good to be true. The cast of characters are all different races, ethnicities and religious affiliations and it turned out not to be done well.

My first issue with the book came before I was even 5% into it. A Black woman who was wearing, what I figured out were twists. He described her twists as “twist-outs”. A twist-out is the style you get after taking down the twists. And that instantly pulled me from the story. I looked it up and the author is an older white man.

Nothing against him, I appreciate an effort made to bring in diversity. Please, write these characters but do your work.

After the “twist-outs” issue, I was taken out more and more from the story. Typos, words being used incorrectly and even moments of significance to religions being used wrong. The world building was solid but fell apart whenever one of these issues cropped up.

Plus the characters were flat. I wish he’d put more effort into them the way he had the worldbuilding. And the worldbuilding and idea are what I’m giving this book two stars on. I just couldn’t get into it.

With the problems it has in regards to misused words and things that a Black editor would have caught or someone who was affiliated with the groups he wrote about, it highlighted some issues. The publishing world is not as diverse as it needs to be for the amount of people telling stories.

Stories get white washed by virtue of having eyes on them that aren’t part of those groups. People who don’t live those lives and don’t understand so the stories end up weaker for it.

It’s the simple things that make a story. Those need to be tight. And the way it was going, the little things were wrong so often that I stopped caring.

These things may seem simple or unimportant to a lot of people but they matter. And they need to be treated like they matter.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ability to read this ARC

There’s a conversation that needs to be had about why these things are so important and I’m tired and frustrated with them just being glazed over.


Author. Reader. Reviewer. Interested in Sci-fi, Fantasy, and everything in between. Ya, and Adult. Looking for representaion where it matters! BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, everything! We all deserve stories!

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