In Titanborn by Brian Schutter, Torvram has gone missing and the colony’s AI is acting strangely. Plus, win a signed copy of the book!

Thank you to Shannon of R&R Book Tours for sending me a digital Advanced Review Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Titanborn are a colony of genetically-engineered humans living on Saturn’s moon, Titan. Their mission is to prove that they can survive in isolation without contact from Earth or other colonies. Shangri-La is run by an AI called AVA, who controls everyone’s schedules and rotas – and a recent patch seems to have caused strange bugs in AVA’s system. We follow Meera, a neuro-engineer who is struggling with her own mental health. When her friend Torvram goes missing, she is part of the search party looking for him, alongside Matyom, Chase, Fei and her boss, Lakshmi.

Titanborn was originally funded through Indiegogo! You can now find it on Goodreads and buy a copy from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback — or scroll down to the bottom of this review for your chance to win a signed copy!

My review

I loved Titanborn! It is really immersive and I didn’t want to put it down. My mind continued racing about the plotline and what might be causing the strange malfunctions. The pace and suspense continued to the very end.

The world that Brian has created is so immersive. I really liked the telepathic messages that the genetically enhanced characters send to each other. They each have their own personal flourishes and touches. For example, Torvram’s messages are accented with his capital Ts and :3, while Lakshmi has lots of emotes in hers like D: and :). The artificial eyes of many of the characters also play an important part, with everyone’s eye colours individual and described throughout the story.

Titanborn talks a lot about mental illness and the importance of mental health, which is really refreshing. Despite the story being set on one of Saturn’s moons, their struggles all felt very relatable. There is also an acknowledgement that it is hard to look after someone with depression — even if you love them very much, it can be exhausting and very hard work. There are lots of positive messages of hope from several of the characters which I really appreciated.

In addition, there is a mix of same-sex and opposite-sex relationships and there are characters who use ‘they/them’ pronouns. I really appreciated this diversity.

I would have liked to have more descriptions about what the characters were seeing. Some areas of Shangri-La and the outside world had no real visual descriptions so I had to imagine it without any cues. Timescales are also not immediately obvious! It feels like the journey from Shangri-La to the Aztlan Waystation takes just a few hours, so I was surprised when later it’s mentioned that actually it was four days!

Again, I really loved this book. The story carries through the personal relationships of each of the characters and the wonderfully written conversations between them. It moves along at a perfect speed and I felt totally lost in this world. I loved all of the characters (even the less likeable ones!) and enjoyed seeing their personal growth throughout the story. The ending left me wanting more, and I look forward to reading more about the Titanborn colony in future instalments!

The blurb for Titanborn

“No more death.”

In Titanborn, Schutter weaves the vivid world of Shangri-La — a colony living in isolation on Saturn’s moon, Titan — and the genetically-engineered humans known as Titanborn, whose task is simply to prove they can survive.

Meera is just one cog in the wheel of Shangri-La. Assigned to fulfill a role, Meera struggles to find a place for herself and overcome the trauma of loss as Titan casually takes the lives of her fellow colonists.

When a friend goes missing, Meera must choose to face her fears to save not just him, but all of the Titanborn, as the colony begins to unravel.

Can Meera and her people overcome the dangers of the inhospitable moon, or will the Titanborn fall to an enemy closer to home?

A picture of the author of TItanborn, Brian SchutterAbout the author, Brian Schutter

Brian Schutter’s fascination with the future began at a young age. He studied materials science at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, California & Cornell University in Ithaca, New York to pursue his interest in research. Schutter found himself drawn to the amazing possibilities that the technology around him offered, and wrote extensively after hours about speculative applications of machine learning, quantum computing, and bioengineering.

After graduating with his master’s degree from Cornell in May of 2018, he completed his debut novel, Titanborn. Schutter writes stories that combine the big struggles of colonizing distant worlds with the little struggles of finding the strength to be yourself. His tales are about taking ownership of our choices and writing our own stories.

You can find out more about Brian on his website, or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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