67 points, 3 ½ stars

Blurb:

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

Available from Amazon and other major outlets September 17th, 2019. Preorder Now!

Quote:

{{You are very cynical.}}
Eat a turd, she thought.
{{You are also very rude.}}
“And you’re a parasite attached to my skull who can’t seem to understand the meaning of the phrase ‘Jódete, coño!'”

Review:

Chilling Effect is a weird book for me. In the beginning I was determined to love it, and then the honeymoon period wore off fast. By the midway point, I was certain I hated the book.  In the end, I loved the ending. And as much as I loved that ending and that it made me want to continue on with the series, I just don’t know if I will yet.

I also had to spend an unreal amount of time on Google Translate, and Urban Dictionary, and just plain googling around to figure out what, exactly, people were saying. There is so much Spanish sprinkled in throughout the book, at times I didn’t even understand what was going on without looking things up. Hell, half the chapter titles are in Spanish! And it wasn’t just words. No, it was phrases like “live by the sword, die by the sword.” It was actually pretty frustrating because I had to stick to my computer to read this. (I’m still completely and totally lost at “Me Sube la Bilirrubina”…)

Once Chilling Effect started it didn’t really stop. It opens with a bunch of psychic kitties causing the main character, Captain Eva Innocente, and her crew a lot of trouble. Then drops into a kidnapping exploitation plot before swinging wildly into an attempted sexual slavery that is somehow not being vilified by everyone. The entire book, the characters are swinging from one task that goes wrong to the next task that goes wrong. Not exactly my favourite type of story.

Then, within all those tasks that go wrong, there are a bunch of plotlines that are just there to make the readers go “hey I recognise that!”. A LOT of pop culture, and some not, as well. There is an entire chapter of Pride and Prejudice in here, in the chapter titled “El Orgullo y el Prejuicio” (guess what that translates as?). Chilling Effect just liked to pull from popular things for inspiration and then recreate them in space for fun. I’m sure there were more in here that I missed than I got.

Captain Eva Innocente, our main character, gets into a lot of trouble. She isn’t the most competent person. She seems to be chronically incapable of controlling herself, her emotions, and most spectacularly her anger. Which gets her into more trouble than any other outside force. She also isn’t really able to control her crew, either, which is a bad trait in a Captain, in my opinion. Eva is also in a really weird romance that I actually found really cute. And the romance was kind of the saving grace of the book in the end.

As I already complained, I really didn’t like the start of the book. It just wasn’t for me. Once Chilling Effect got down to the point, in about the last 20% of the book, I actually really, really enjoyed it. And that is the worst thing about it. Because it was really good when it stopped playing around. I loved it in the end. And now I want to read the next book in the series, even though I wasn’t going to bother before I got to the end.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Valerie Valdes, Harper Voyager, and Netgalley for providing the opportunity to review this copy!