Source: NetGalley, thank you to the publisher!
TL; DR : No. Don’t do it.
It’s not very often I read a book and immediately go lower my rating on the first one because the second one really just beat home the flaws and issues of the first one.
Antimatter Blues takes place – supposedly 2 years after the events of the first Mickey7 book. Mickey is still alive and he’s been puttering around the colony, seemingly fine and unbothered by everyone. Now – I say supposedly because several pages just past the opening we have a scene with Berto and Mickey in which Mickey brings up Berto’s abandonment of Mickey in the beginning of the first book. Almost as if they hadn’t spoken in two years. That strange exchange of telling us one thing but the characters definitely not acting appropriately set the tone for the entirety of this book.
Mickey is no longer an Expendable at the time of this book. Instead he’s a rabbit feeder/tomato tender/useless bum but somehow – based entirely on his fictional ‘ambassador’ status to the Creeper colony outside their Dome. As you can expect this unravels very quickly (especially since it doesn’t seem to make any sense in the first place). The bomb that Mickey hid is missing and he in fact DOES become an ambassador to the Creepers to try to locate and return it.
My list of problems with this books is long and frustrating. We’ll make it short. I’ll focus on the characters – starting with Mickey himself who is the ultimate Mary Sue. Bad things happen – but not to Mickey. He is never really held accountable for his actions, he doesn’t truly actually have any trauma from his time as an Expendable (besides a vague feeling of ‘I don’t want to do that’ when things seem familiar), and ultimately he’s just fine. The secondary characters are simply devices to prop up Mickey. Nasha is a glorified sex pillow with a sad family backstory to give her the façade of a personality (she never actually changes, just develops a dangerous brain tumor that fuels Mickey – which is a WHOLE other can of worms). Speaker is the ‘cute animal companion’ we didn’t need. Berto is still a unnecessary asshole whose only contribution or change is his fancy new glider. No one else mattered – except the Marshall who heroically sacrifices himself. A fact of which Mickey gets jealous.
It’s really easy to ignore the plot because ultimately isn’t important. Mickey fixes everything. As mentioned above, he’s right all the time. Things might surprise him but ultimately it all works out. The people who end up hurt are the people who doubted him so we clearly aren’t meant to care about them anyway. And honestly, they are the ones who carry the consequences of all of Mickey’s actions. So no need to beat those two poor dead shells of characters.
It’s not often a book reminds me of Ready Player One. But this one did. And it’s not a good reminder. I don’t recommend this one. I barely recommend the first one.
One Star. I can’t even make a fun rating out of this one. One Star – do not recommend.
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