woke up hungry Rating: 3.75 stars
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Length: Novel

It was supposed to be a simple, slightly longer than normal nap. Margot and her twin, like so many other colonists, would go to sleep on one planet and wake up on another. Instead, Margot’s waking up to the sound of an urgent but controlled  voice telling her to be calm, to keep breathing, and not to panic. Disoriented and confused, Margot puts her trust in the strange voice, because if she doesn’t, if her heart rate spikes, if the computer registers her distress, the sleeping pod will automatically open, and waiting outside the pod isn’t a group of medics or even ship’s crew. Instead it’s death.

A virus has somehow gotten into the computer, waking some colonists early, and damaging their minds in the process. These colonists are no longer human; instead, they’ve become murderous, cannibalistic ghouls. Margot has to calm herself and wait for rescue, or she will die, torn apart and eaten alive.

Leading the rescue is Izzy, the ship’s Chief Operations Officer, who has made it her mission to save the ‘normals,’ the colonists whose minds have not been damaged, and to do so before they can be killed by the victims of this horrible virus. A virus that wasn’t unleashed by accident. Someone did this to them; someone turned the innocent colonists into monsters, and Margot and Izzy are going to find out who.

This novella is tightly focused, well-plotted, and very character driven. Margot isn’t a fighter, isn’t a brilliant scientist, isn’t anything special. What she is is a chemistry teacher whose heart aches for all of those who have been lost, and with a desire to help those she can. Margot joins the rescue team with Izzy, determined to save as many people as she is able, and to impress Izzy, on whom she has a not-so-subtle crush. Not that Izzy will encourage the romance to be anything but mutual regard, at the moment. For one, the disparity of rank — Izzy is an officer, Margot is working in her team — and for the other, the situation at hand needs all their attention.

Izzy and Margot both get along with one another so easily. They’re both caring, compassionate, and hard-working. Neither of them scorn doing basic grunt work, such as stacking boxes and counting containers, any more than they look away from the harsh realities of the ghoul infestation. Because this is such a bite-sized adventure, there isn’t much time spent on building up the world, but what few glimpses there are of corporate politics, warfare, and the camaraderie of the crew, along with the author’s writing skill, make this an engaging little book. I would definitely have enjoyed seeing more of this story.

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