Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first-generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, was killed by a deadly virus.
Becoming captain, and far sooner than she thought, involves struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, and making sure they don’t run out of food.
But when a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, Lindley has a lot more heaping on her plate. But as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality that either the virus has mutated or something worse is happening: one of their own is a killer.
🌸 14+ can read it, but I feel like 15+ will relate to some of the ~stressed out look there’s a murder~ vibes!
The Sandcastle Empire was one of my favorite reads from last year–an action-packed read full of deadly situations in a unique setting.
And This Splintered Silence did not disappoint, with its cast of characters who you doubt every step of the way and a main character struggling to maintain captainship of the spaceship, you’re definitely invested in what’s going on with these teens in space.
I mean, they’re going through a whole lot with all of their parents dying and having to control 80 teens on a ship as their food supply dwindles and people appear to be dying from a mutation of the virus that killed their parents.
Or, well, they appear to be. But as the main character, Lindley, soon finds out, this is no virus. There’s a murderer on board, and This Splintered Silence is a murder mystery full of twists that will leave you guessing as to who the culprit–or culprits–are.
I loved the murder mystery portion of this novel, and that’s definitely my favorite part of this book! Reading Lindley go around trying to figure out the murderer–who might be among her friends–was definitely suspenseful and kept me on edge and guessing.
I had a guess, but then I scrapped it because it was too obvious, and in the end I didn’t really end up getting the right person as the murderer as I had chucked my guess (which was incorrect, so). Definitely twisty and makes you doubt a lot of people, everyone is under suspicion except Lindley.
One of the things I love about Olson’s books is just her writing style–a lot of her chapters are a little shorter, but it’s still enjoyable with how she writes the book and pushes the plot along.
Where the star came off was honestly because I found it to be less–deadly feeling as The Sandcastle Empire, which is largely why I ended up liking this less. A lot of the boo is a mystery, and there’s not a lot of threats that you can see, which was more present in The Sandcastle Empire. Like, the threats are largely hidden and a big part of the story is finding out who the threat is, not necessarily encountering that action.
So although This Splintered Silence wasn’t as action packed, I love the mystery behind it. It’s just a different vibe, and I like how flexible Olson is with her writing.
Similarly, Olson writes really good premises without a lot of infodumps, and you understand the situation that led these teens to live on this spaceship with their (now dead) parents.
And, I really enjoyed the character dynamics with the romance. I liked how Olson portrayed the main character under a lot of stress and not necessarily knowing what she wants, and I like how it wasn’t really resolved by the end. The romance dynamics were very different, and I got the vibe that it’s okay to not know what you want, which I really enjoyed!
Overall, This Splintered Silence was a great sci-fi murder mystery read that I definitely recommend to fans of The 100 and One of Us Is Lying, as well as anyone who has enjoyed Olson’s work in the past. And if you haven’t read any of these, well, you know you want a space book anyways!
Thank you so much to Kayla Olson for the ARC and Edelweiss + Harper Collins for the digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!