Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication date: 7 March 2019
Genre: Science fiction
Page count: 528 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This is a spoiler-free review.
As soon as I heard about Do You Dream of Terra-Two? I knew it would be the exact kind of book I love. I went into this debut sci-fi novel with high expectations and they were surpassed. A beautiful, thought-provoking story of mankind’s first manned interstellar mission, Do You Dream of Terra-Two? will haunt you long after the last page.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet meets The 100 in this unforgettable debut by a brilliant new voice.
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.
This book is essentially an examination of what life on Earth might be like if we never lost our interest in space exploration from the 60’s or the 80’s. Terra-Two, an Earth-like planet orbiting a binary star outside our solar system, has captured the imagination of every human since its discover in the early 20th century. The depiction of Oh’s version of 2012, to me, shows the kind of future that I wish we had. Despite the setting feeling very familiar, it is different enough to really spark a sense of wonder in the reader — what would life have been like if humans were still funding space programs and sending astronauts into the skies? I found myself completely swept away by the setting, both on Earth and in space, which is difficult for me when reading a contemporary-set book!
There is no doubt that Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is a character-driven book. Sure, it has action, however the focus is more on the crew as they prepare to leave everything behind and watch their home planet behind. Terra-Two gives a realistic depiction fo what it would be like to actually leave Earth, never to return. As someone who is completely obsessed with the idea of going to space, reading it was the first time I ever paused and thought about how awful and wonderful it would be.
This book features multiple points of view — three main POVs and a few others sprinkled in — and unlike many books with multiple viewpoints, I didn’t find that one was less interesting than others. At no point did I find myself wishing we could go back to another character who’s story I was enjoying more — a rarity for me — because each character was just as fascinating as the others. Despite the fact that they’re sharing the same experience, each character shows a very different aspect of life before and after the launch. I admit that I am partial to Astrid because of her attitude toward going to space and her strange dreams of Terra-Two — she’s definitely the dreamer amongst the crew and I loved that. Although I also loved Juno and Jesse, I found Astrid to be the character I related to most.
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is a stunning debut from an incredible new voice in the genre. Temi Oh is one to look out for as one of the best new authors in science fiction — she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with. I couldn’t recommend this gorgeous, beautifully written sci-fi novel more highly, regardless of whether you’re a science fiction reader or not. If you like introspective books that focuses on a rich cast of characters, such as Becky Chambers’ Wayfarer series, you should absolutely give Do You Dream of Terra-Two? a try. It may only be April, but I know that this book is going to be one of my best of 2019, as well as an all-time favourite novel.
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Have you read Do You Dream of Terra-Two? What did you think? Is it in your TBR? Let me know!