Passages by Lauren Wanrow [Review]

33805801Title: Passages by Lauren Wanrow
Published: January 31st 2017 by Sprouting Star Press
Page Count: 483
Where’d I Get It: Netgalley (eARC)
Rating: 2 stars

“Find someone you can trust.”

For decades, Eve and her fellow electorgs—part human, part machine—have worked on the quiet planet of Aarde, beating back toxic spores that threaten to poison the native people. When the new commander halts work right before a deadly spore release, Eve frantically plots to protect the villagers she considers friends and family.

On the run after an ambush, Quinn holds a secret that nearly got him killed. If only he knew what it was. Though the attack scrambled his memories, Quinn is sure of one thing—he can’t trust the electorgs. But they know information he desperately needs to puzzle out who wants him dead, and why.

With the fate of life on Aarde in the balance, the logic of joining forces with Eve overrides Quinn’s fears…and erupts into an attraction that could prove fatal for both of them.

Because the planet’s commander might just be Quinn himself.

At almost 500 pages, it’s a shame that a lot of the verbiage and words didn’t create a functioning plot tapestry. I will admit. I was confused for whole chunks of this book, literally entire swaths of pages where I had no idea what was happening. I feel like I’m a bright person. I feel like I can grasp a concept and not need it spelled out, but something about the author’s way with words and prose made following parts of the story  near impossible.

There are so many moving parts to this book, I barely know where to start. Sentient dogs have created a race of androids that they use to colonize planets and do science? Did I get that right? All of the main characters fall into this category. They’re all varying ‘runs’ of androids, in hieratical order, with the ones created with all the whizz bangs being the ones that are in charge of all the rest. They seem to be the youngest too, as that would make the most sense, considering they’re the best the sentient dogs have to offer right now.

All right. I guess we’ll start with Quinn. He’s looking for his brother Quill with his grandma. They can travel distances through space by turning to particles and reassembling at the destination. He thinks it’s a magic trick initially, but eventually finds out that he and the electorg posing as his grandma are both mechanically inclined. I mean, it makes sense if we were to discover the entirety of the plot through Quinn’s eyes that it would be so disjointed and confusing, but we’ve also  got an experienced electorg who makes up the other half of the narration.

Eve lives on a small island, on the planet that the electorgs are currently occupying. She helps the community, is a pillar in their society, runs a bookshop with her fellow electorgs Evard and Evangeline. They’re a weird little android family, in a small town that is basically extended family, considering how long they’ve lived there. Nope, clearly no answers were really all that forthcoming in Eve’s narration either.

I finally grasped the threads of what was happening maybe about 100 pages in. Besides the electorgs, there’s a mass of fungi growing that could obliterate the planet if not maintained, as well as an extra, immortality granting element that pretty much has a mind of its own. It says when the people are part of the community, it dictates who gets to have babies, but despite its overhanging suggestions, it does protect the wearer in a myriad of ways. It’s basically the Mary Sue of amorphous 90s Capri Sun blobs.

Anyway, I guess Quinn is secretly the minister but there’s someone who’s pretending to be him and he’s got to go regain his seat before literally everything awful happens. It’s all convoluted but somehow connects together. Also, Eve and Quinn spend a lot of the book (most of the book, at least 75% of the book) just pining about the other’s hot body. It gets really annoying. They almost get to the bone zone a few times, but then Eve yells and stomps off or something equally ridiculous. They only finally do it because they might not see each other again. I repeat, they might not see each other again. Not that they were ready for a commitment or anything, that they might not see each other again. I guess people have done it for worse reasons, but usually the romantic subplot isn’t so flimsy.

I’d say it connects neatly, but it felt more like someone smashed it until it fit. Like I said, I spent most of this book really befuddled, never quite getting a hang for any of it. I didn’t even skim. Probably should have, I’d have known just as much if I had. That being said, I didn’t hate the parts I could understand, except maybe the romance, so, honestly, it could have been worse.

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