The Tabit Genesis by Tony Gonzalez (Gollancz)

They left Sol in two great ships, carrying with them the last hope for humankind. Destined for different stars, their mission was to ensure the survival of our species. One ship was never heard from again. Decades later, the other arrived at a lifeless world, where the survivors learned that Earth was lost not to famine, but to an alien species determined to eradicate humans from existence.


Man is not alone in the universe, and the last of us are hunted. Driven by strong characters facing tremendous odds, Tony Gonzales delivers SF in the grandest tradition: an epic adventure full of colossal ships, vast battles and unimaginable challenges.

The Tabit Genesis was one of the Gollancz titles that was available as an ebook for £1.99 as a pre-order so I took a chance on it and snapped it up at a fairly cheap price and when it was released I’m really glad that I gave it a shot, because Tony Gonzalez’s space opera novel was a really solid read, offering a welcome surprise from the author’s first non tie-in book, with Gonzalez having a couple of EVE novels available to buy now.  This book though, I had lots of fun with it, with echoes of James SA Corey’s Expanse series (soon to be adapted for a SyFy show) and what Battlestar Galactica might have looked like with aliens involved. There’s lots of good stuff going on here set against an intruging backdrop and a fascinating universe to explore.

Two great ships departed the solar system in the future in search of a new home. One of these ships was called the Tabit Genesis, hence the novel’s title, but also, Tau Ceti, the other. Whilst Tau Ceti was never heard of again, the other, decades later, arrived at a bleak world only to learn that Earth was destroyed not, as they previously thought, by famine, but by aliens, species that are determined to wipe out humanity from existence. Is there any hope for mankind in a universe when they are now the hunted? Just because they may have spread out through the universe again, does not mean that the aliens have not gone away quietly, and they still happen to be out there in the darkness.

The book itself is a riveting read, full of multiple characters that work together well and we follow their journeys through multiple POVs, with unique enough voices to make them feel like distinctively different characters. Whilst it’s a struggle to get a hold on who everybody is at first as there’s quite a lot of cast members introduced, Gonzalez handles their development mostly well even if we do not perhaps spend enough time with them as I would have liked. Take Jake and Adam for example, the former an undercover agent who has experienced past traumas when he was younger, and the latter a miner on the planet Zeus. They’re interesting enough characters and there’s enough development there to make them different from the others, but I would have liked a bit more focus on them to flesh out their stories a bit more. It’s just a minor compliant but it almost feels like Gonzalez is trying to do too much, too quickly in places.

Another issue that I had with The Tabit Genesis s that it relies on exposition a fair amount, which can decrease the flow of the book a bit. But despite that, it mostly remains a fairly solid read, with some good development of the world and the story is a solid one as well, making good use of flashbacks to explore the novel’s antagonists well. The key highlight of the book is the carefully planned and well executed worldbuilding, which keeps the novel interesting with the fresh setting of The Tabit Genesis being a very interesting one indeed. This is one that space opera fans will certainly enjoy, and it turns out to be one of the more interesting science fiction reads of the year.

VERDICT: 8.5/10

 

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