Length: 362 pages
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Chris was the first man to walk on Mars. After spending two and a half years away from home, Chris and his team of astronauts, Trisha, Terry and Owen are finally on the way back home. Sixty seven days away from touching Earth, they lose contact with NASA and every other ground control body. Sixty seven days later, they still have no contact. Fear and panic are kept at bay as the trained experts choose the backup landing procedure. Except, their landing goes nothing as planned and their shuttle crashes to Earth.
Surviving the crash was nothing short of a miracle. But within moments, the crew wishes the miracle had never happened as they find that every living thing on Earth has vanished. With little information to go on, the crew heads for Houston, the one place that seems to be at the core of whatever happened on Earth, whatever took away every man, woman, child and animal and what could bring them all back. But they meet a new problem at every step. And before long, Chris and his team are forced to accept the fact that they may not be as alone as they’d thought… and that that may not be a good thing.
Offworld is a fast paced, edgy novel that has you turning the pages long into the night. A book that mixes science fiction with thrill and faith, it takes you right into the crux of the story, wasting little time on niceties. Characters that have their own secrets and quirks add to the thrill. Hints of secrets and twists present themselves often and make you look at everything that happens with the aim to try and read between the lines, and find the hidden meaning behind words and the curtained emotions behind expressions. I found the characters quite interesting, their personality changes in the face of apparent apocalypse not seeming too out of line with their initial sketch. In fact, one of the things that I really liked about Offworld was that you learn about the characters without realizing that you’ve just got a lesson in each person’s history, a task that few authors manage to do so well.
Robin Parrish certainly knows how to create a tale that unfolds itself as it moves along. With each twist that is solved, you find yourself waiting for the next solution. The story hits the ground running and doesn’t slow down. An interesting concept, presented in a really good way that puts you right in the middle of the action and tension and that evokes the sense of urgency in the readers too.
While Offworld had many things going for it, the end was anticlimactically disappointing. It wasn’t the lack of action or tension; in fact, there was more than enough of that. It was just that the end was a little too convenient. Concepts and ideas were put forth, leaving the reader with little option but to accept them for what they are. While the events of the rest of the book were tied into a neat little bow, the end seemed to the hurried and a little like everything and everyone decided to be at the right place at the right time.
I had, in fact, seen some pretty damaging reviews and some really supportive ones before I picked up Offworld. Having read the book, I can say that in spite of the ending, which is just slightly disappointing, the book is still one that makes for a really good read. Robin Parrish is a really good author who can pull you in right from the get go and I would definitely read more of his books. So if you love science fiction and fast paced end-of-the-world-books or if you’re looking for an interesting and quick read, go for Offworld. It’s a stand alone novel, complete in itself and won’t disappoint!