Review: Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes. Book # 1 in the Chilling Effect series. Narrated by Almarie Guerra. Audiobook published by Harper Audio, 2019. Run time of 14 hours and 15 minutes. 434 pages.

Not going to lie. I picked Chilling Effect up because of the epic cover and, well, SPACE CATS!! How could I pass on that?! 😀 Especially the cats. Did I mention they are psychic space cats? The cover art promised a fun time for sure.

And really, that’s exactly what you get with this book. It is a space opera, but it also never takes itself too serious. There is a little bit of camp. a little bit of romance, and plenty of laughs. Oh, and did i mention the SPACE CATS yet? The first chapter alone is hilarious and sets the tone for the whole book. Even when the plot deals with deeper and or darker themes- like guilt, loss, kidnapping, family drama, ect.- it is done in a very tongue and cheek sort of way.

I’ve seen some reviewers complain about the way the characters are written, that they are too one dimensional. :/ I don’t feel that way at all! This is just book 1, and we are just getting to know this group. It is a decent amount of characters to get to know all at once and it felt like a good balance between everyone’s backstory. We are given hints at their stories and background, there is just enough meat on their bones to satisfy you, but also leaves you wanting more! I look forward to seeing where the author takes these characters in future adventures. 🙂

Another complaint I saw multiple people make is that there is not a lot of world building. Hmmm… It felt fine when it comes to locations. We get enough detail to visualize the place or the ship, but the author never details us to death. I really enjoyed the middle of the road approach to location details.

BUT! I will admit that the writing was a little lacking when it came to descriptions of some of the aliens. Some had good enough details to get by, but other aliens are name dropped with no physical details mentioned, or the details felt a little muddled? I do wish we had more to work with in this area. Not a huge complaint, but more of an observation.

The narrator is fine. She is great with all the spanish phrases throughout the story. Does a decent job with male voices too. She did a great job of nailing each characters personality. It really felt like the perfect casting for theses characters

My only real problem is with the ending. :/ It felt a little abrupt and kind of…. confusing? Yes, some things get worked out for the characters, but for the over all plot/ conflict…? Well, it just kinda….. ends. I mean, stuff happens and then….. nothing happens…? It was a little odd. What about the Fridge? What about this mystery alien tech? 😦 We don’t really get any confusion and it is not even like it was a hug cliffhanger ending setting up book 2. It just… ended. It was odd. Did I miss something? Was it just me? Huh. *shrug*

Also, not enough of the space cats! WE WANT MORE SPACE CATS PLEASE! Thank you.


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