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384 pages, Kindle Edition
First published September 12, 2017
“But they don’t tell you the pain comes with you. They don’t tell you that hurt travels at light-speed too.”
“It’s hard to tell the difference between rich and wrong.”
“The power of music and how it can heal your very soul”
"Why’d they choose us?"
"We’re all broken. They picked us because we’re broken."
When the Babel Corporation chooses Emmet to go to a new planet, he doesn’t think twice about accepting their offer. After all, the 50 000$ each month for the rest of his life isn’t something he can refuse, especially that he’s family is very poor. They have to get Nyxia, a very expensive substance not available on Earth, from Eden.
Emmet soon discovers that he’s competing with 9 other people and only 8 can go to the new planet. Thus, he’ll do everything in his power to win although he feels like Babel is hiding some dangerous secrets.
Let’s start by the few things I liked. The book is easy to read and keeping up with the new information doesn’t take any effort at all. It’s also entertaining. I liked that our 10 characters have to challenge each other, alone and in teams. I didn’t get bored while reading it and that’s something. I also like the diversity in this book. The contestants are from different countries from all around the Globe.
Babel Corporation is named as such because it removes the language barrier. People can have their own translators attached to their jaw. That’s my first problem. As someone who isn’t an English native speaker, I always struggle with translation. I’m fluent and all but when someone asks me what does this English sentence mean in Arabic? If it is a bit complicated, I have a hard translating it all without adding words and keeping loyal to the meaning and structure. Sure I can explain it in a long version but it would have a different structure which isn't right. Anyway, so yeah we also have these words that have many meanings. Let’s say spring. It can mean different things in different contexts. Moreover, one of the hardest things to do is translating a book. Many expressions will sound ridiculous. You can’t say "a piece of cake" in Arabic, you’ll sound silly. So it’ll need work on how to get your reader understand what the author meant without translating word for word. Which brings us to my problem in this book.
As creative as it sounds I refuse to believe that there’s something that easily translates everything without not changing any of the meaning... while still making mistakes. Yes, the author spoke about expressions relative to each language. But you know? It would’ve been fine if it wasn’t for the word “cool”. You see, the Nyxia translator got it wrong. It translated it ironically, to Arabic, as cold. However, if you GOOGLE TRANSLATE IT (worst translator ever), you’ll see that it can mean “very good” as well. Later, we have someone reading in Japanese, and Emmet understanding what she’s reading in English. Has any of you read manga? Do you notice the numerous mistakes that translators make? (I’m not criticizing them because God bless them for doing it for free) What I mean is that they’re translators and they can translate incorrectly only a few words from Jap to English (took this example because the Jap contestant reads to Emmet). Can you imagine the whole book? So after the word cool, do you want me to believe that a book can be translated correctly?
We know so little about Earth. Yes, it’s the future and we still have the same countries but surely not everything is still the same, yet we barely know anything about it. With all the advanced technology, can’t all the kids make a conversation in English? Not saying scientific and advanced things but maybe basic conversation? It's already very common nowadays so shouldn't be even more so in the future? What’s happening right now? Surely we don’t have the same political systems. Of course, many things changed. More developed technology and such but we don’t even know what the year is!! We only know that Babel is very advanced and that’s only because of the Nyxia substance! Lack of world-building? Oh yes, very much. Therefore, I didn’t see much sci-fi. No wowzy stuff men made or anything “science”. Believe me, I’d know because I’m not the biggest fan of this genre.
This book screams diversity. Different races, different languages, different cultures, different everything. Which is great.. in theory. So the population on Earth must be over 10 billion at the time. However, of course, 3 will be Americans. Sorry, 2 Americans and 1 from Detroit. Hey, are you from the States Emmet? I’m from Detroit. Seriously? Not even Michigan. Not even a State. But a damn city. No people don't talk well English but they know Detroit. Since we don’t know anything about school systems and programs, at least to know if they study about the United States cities and villages, it’s so absurd to say I’m from Detroit. Believe me, a foreigner might know many states. However, can you guarantee that the person you’re speaking to knows a city in your country? *sighs* Americans.
The other characters go something like this
Isabel: loves Roathy, always angry
Roathy: there’s something dark about him
Longwei: mean and wants to be on top
Katsu: big with a (ridiculous) sense of humor
Kaya: strategic and kind
Jamie: pretty boy (although he doesn’t act like it)
Bilal: too good
Azuma: strong and wants to marry
Yes, Emmet’s adjective vocabulary is only limited to this. Always repeating the same stuff about them. Always. I couldn’t relate to any of them and they all felt flat. Just nothing impressive at all. I also wasn’t impressed by Emmet. I mean yes, I didn’t hate him but he wasn’t the kind of character I’d root for. So yeah, the characters weren’t the best. You don’t even hate them. Only feel nothing. I had some problems with how some characters were portrayed.
Now to the ending. Or rather, the romance. IT WAS PLAIN BAD. Talk about insta-love!! I thought I’ve read bad romance in the past but this was something else. It was so anti-climactic, rushed, and out of nowhere. Since it happens at the end, I can’t say much without revealing any spoiler. It made me cringe. There was no chemistry, no attraction, it was just forced and unbelievable. I was honestly considering giving it 3 stars before the romance started.
I think that this book is good if you’re looking for a mindless read set in space. Don’t expect anything complicated, just a quick fun read.
arc provided by publishers via NetGalley
“When you look back, it won’t be mercy you regret.”