Book Review: Do You Dream of Terra-Two?


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Temi Oh
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Page Count: 532
  • Date Started: February 9th
  • Date Finished: February 15th
  • Spoilers? Yes.
  • Content Warnings: Depression, Suicide, Mental Illness, Panic/Anxiety Attacks, Moments of casual racism (but they are called out)

A Brief Description

A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.

It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.

Goodreads || Amazon


There is no easy way from Earth to the stars.

Temi Oh Pg 186

My Review

Spoilers ahead!

Plot

Do You Dream of Terra Two? is a novel that follows 6 members of the crew Damocles who are headed to Terra-Two, an Earth-like planet that is a 23-year voyage from Earth. The United Kingdom Space Agency recruits teenagers at the age of 12/13 to train for six years before they begin the long voyage to “New Earth”

I had a few thoughts on this book. Overall, I thought it was okay. I felt like the book could have been significantly shorter, at just over 500 pages, it dragged at some points.

I also found it to be a little unbelievable? You’re telling me that a space agency is going to send 6 teenagers into space with such little adult supervision? I just found it a little bit unlikely all things considered. Also, they were sent into space directly after one of their crew members, someone that they lived with and that they were expecting to spend 23 years with, (spoiler ahead) committed suicide and they just moved on? They went ahead with the launch anyway, with just some minor psychological testing. I found this unlikely, especially if they were being sent on a voyage that would last 23 years.

In addition, some of the astronauts were sick, some with mental illnesses and another with cancer (!!) I just find it odd that any space agency would let someone who is dying go on a voyage of this sort, and it was explained away and shrugged off. Now mental illnesses are a different story because many can be managed with medication and therapy, but there was nothing of the sort taking place in this book until much later. Not only that, but due to the nature of the voyage I figured that some of these illnesses would have been caught in the rigorous psychological testing that would take place before the voyage. Another seems to be suffering depression that had an onset during the voyage, but it was not really addressed in a healthy manner. I go into this a little more in the character section.

Writing

There were also some misspellings and grammar issues? For example, there was a missing question marks and things that should have been caught by an editor. This is a really small thing to be nit-picky about, and it’s not a huge deal.

Otherwise, I found the writing very beautiful. It was easy to read and follow.

Characters

One of the characters, Harry, oh… Harry. Harry is the Pilot and Commander in Training for the Damocles ship. At the very beginning of the book I really, really disliked his character. He is the type of person who walks the Earth expecting the world to hand him everything. He has his hand outstretched, expecting to be handed something from everyone he meets. He’s an asshole, pure and simple. I felt nothing for him but disgust and hatred. He’s literally everything I hate in a person. That being said, his character was well written, and very easy to hate.

Poppy, is the Head of Communications and the In-Flight Correspondent. She is also a hyper-polyglot who speaks a multitude of languages. I liked her point of view. She grew up in a very tenuous and unsteady home life. She was raised in a small town where she didn’t feel like she had any aspirations. Here is the thing though, (another spoiler here) after spending a few months on the ship, it appears that she is suffering from a very serious mental health condition and I find it hard to believe that something like this was not caught before, or better, that the doctor on board didn’t catch this after Poppy had spent the first week straight in bed and didn’t try to do anything to help her. I felt for her character. As someone who has dealt with depression and has dealt with periods of time where the only thing I feel like doing is laying in bed, I truly felt for her and related to this.

Astrid, is the astrobiologist on board. She is the twin sister of Juno (see below). I liked Astrid’s character. I felt like she was rather hopeful about getting to Terra-Two. She was a dreamer, and had many dreams about landing on this far-flung world. She became entranced by the “New Creationists” who are a cult that sprang up after Tessa Dalton, the woman who first discovered Terra-Two, was martyred.

Juno, who is Astrid’s twin sister, is the trainee medical officer on board. She doesn’t really understand Poppy’s struggles and doesn’t really do anything that is productive or healthy to help her. She just assumes that Poppy is doing this out of her own desire, and uses some pretty harmful logic to try to get Poppy out of the “rut” she is in. This is also incredibly dangerous logic for the Medical Officer in training to have, as mental illness is just as real and valid as physical illness.

Eliot, is the communications specialist and the junior flight engineer on board. This is a character that we did not get a lot of information about and we very rarely saw his point of view. In addition, he was the significant other of the astronaut that committed suicide at the beginning of the book. They were basically “connected at the hip” and were incredibly close. Eliot was very shaken by Ara’s death and when he finally got into space he was hallucinating that he saw Ara’s ghost inside and on the outside of the ship. This is a valid reaction to grief, but I’m surprised that the space agency did not postpone the flight or prevent Eliot from going on the mission that was so important to the future of humanity.

Jesse, is the backup astronaut who took the place of Ara Shah, who was supposed to be the junior botanist on board. Since he was a last minute add on to the crew he feels incredibly out of place with the rest of the team. He feels left out and lonely at first, but as time passes he gets closer to some of the members. All of this being said, I liked his character. He feels like he doesn’t really belong and has some serious impostor’s syndrome, which I can certainly relate to.

Last thoughts

All of that being said, I enjoyed the book. I thought that it was interesting to see the reactions to things that happened to the crew and a lot of the things that went wrong are things that very well could likely go wrong in space. Space is hard, and getting there is half the work. I am interested to read anything else that this author writes.


Have you read this? Did you like it?

Have a wonderful day, and as always, keep reading!

~Cam

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