Mercury’s Shadow, by PJ Garcin, was over on Sadie’s Spotlight a while back, and the author was kind enough to send me a copy of the book. And since I’m between semesters, I finally had a chance to read it.
One man’s lust for power threatens the future of humanity—can a young girl from the outer system stop it all?
Imogen “Chim” Esper is thrust into the center of an interplanetary conflict when her family is torn apart by the cruel and indifferent Kardashev Corporation. Forced to run, along with her robotic best friend, Chim struggles to find her place in a society that is poised for revolutionary transformation.
The Kardashev Corporation dominates all commerce and politics in the solar system. Its megalomaniac CEO, Alton Neal, is hell-bent on transforming society by capturing the full energy output of the sun through the creation of a Dyson Swarm.
Citizens of Earth and the stations throughout the system must band together to protect access to the lifeblood of the system or risk becoming permanently enslaved to the Kardashev Corporation.
Honestly, this was fine, if just not my jam. For one, Chim is a lot younger than I had expected. Her exact age isn’t given (why isn’t her exact age given), but it says she left Earth as a toddler and had been on the space station for about 15 years. So, I’m guessing she’s 16-18 years old. So, this book was a lot more young adult than I was hoping for. Of course, that’s no condemnation. It just means I was less of the intended audience than I realized going into it.
Second, the whole plot-line hinges on a super advanced community of scientists coming to a single teenage, self-taught hacker that one of them stumbled across to save the galaxy. And it just didn’t fly. What’s more, there were a lot of similarly incredulous events. (To list them would be spoilery, though.) I acknowledge that a younger reader might have been more willing to accept them without critique. But that doesn’t make them less true.
The villain is a cliched, single megalomaniac with galaxy-spanning power. Most of the characters were either good or bad, with no shades of grey or nuance. The plot was very linear. There were no twists or turns or red herrings. And the dialogue clunked at times.
However, despite my criticisms, the book isn’t bad. It holds together. It has some memorable characters (Quinn is my favorite), and it has a great cover. I think it’s just a matter of getting it into the hands of the right reader.