Mariam Xi can kill you with her mind. She escaped the MEPHISTO lab where she was raised as a psychic supersoldier, which left her with terrifying capabilities, a fierce sense of independence, a deficit of trust and an experimental pet named Seven. She’s spent her life on the run, but the boogeymen from her past are catching up with her. An encounter with a bounty hunter has left her hanging helpless in a dying spaceship, dependent on the mercy of strangers.
Penned in on all sides, Mariam chases rumors to find the one who sold her out. To discover the truth and defeat her pursuers, she’ll have to stare into the abyss and find the secrets of her past, her future, and her terrifying potential.
In a very weird way, reading Killing Gravity felt like coming home. Nope, I’m not in any way that kind of tortured soul, it’s the universe, spaceships, galactic witches raised in a gruesome programme, begrudging allies turned family, a cute sidekick pet – you know, just my kind of jam! And hold on tight, this novella reads like a full-blown novel. For something that’s not even 200 pages long, it has a hell of a lot going on. Neither the characters nor the reader has much time to catch their breath between epic fight scenes, beautiful character moments, and stunning world building.
This universe is a wonderful place. Nah, it’s really not, but it is a place of wonders. There are spaceships with fun personalities (I’m suuuuch a sucker for quirky AIs), space stations that look put together on the surface but house a whole subcultural movement in their bellies, and planets so drab no one wants to live there. Oh, and have I mentioned the space witches yet? I love people with mental powers especially but not exclusively in a scifi setting. It didn’t take me long to fall for Mars and her darling sidekick Seven. In general, the characters were pretty great, though I felt like the secondary characters stayed a little one-dimensional or were rather used as devices – especially Trix, Mookie, and Mars’s sister. But considering how much is crammed into this novella, I guess there’s something that has to suffer a bit, so I’m not too salty about it.
The one thing I am salty about, though, and the reason why I had to deduct a star from the rating, is the middle part that was veeeery exposition-y and felt so inorganic and out of place. It pretty much cut the novella into two parts. The first half, we’re racing through space to find out what exactly happened at a breakneck speed. Then we suddenly hit the brakes screeching to a stop to be told what exactly is going on to actually trigger the plot of the second half, having us take a U-turn and crank up the speed to head right into battle. And that battle … oh boy! This is definitely not for the faint of heart and I’m glad I “only” had to read it and not, say, watch it. It’s incredibly gory and has some stomach turning revelations up its sleeve. This conflict is pretty interesting and I’m very much looking forward to finding out where the characters will end up.