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REVIEW: Entity – Toshi Drake

Entity - Toshi Drake

Genre: Sci-Fi, Space Opera

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Scott

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About The Book

Lieutenant Michael Collins’s week just went to hell. The suspicious actions of his captain escalates as he orders Michael to investigate a dead ship’s heart—the cephalopods that pilot the star drive system. The mission forces Michael from the safety of his ship and his lover, Commander Eizen Sartris, while straining the bond with his own ship’s heart, Padua.

Attacked by Siwu pirates, Michael finds refuge on a damaged alien vessel, where he waits for Eizen to rescue him. But in the dark cold wreckage, he discovers a thriving garden tended by a strange young boy on behalf of his enigmatic “Mama.”

Fear dominates Michael’s thoughts as he struggles not to succumb to the darkness and terror of abandonment. To survive he must rely on his wits and hold fast to his faith that Eizen will find him before the pirates—or before the mysterious entity on board decides to destroy him.

The Review

I’ve been meaning to read Toshi Drake’s Entity for a while. The cover and title spoke to me, so it went into the TBR pile. I finally finished it, and really enjoyed this space opera.

Think Star Trek meets Aliens meets queer sci-fi. Michael Collins is the mechanique aboard the Padua – a human who bonds with the ship’s heart, also named Padua – a cephalopod that flies the ship. Collins is gay, and in love with Eizen Sartris, one of the bridge crew on the ship.

Collins is a bit of a mess, and needs to grow a spine. He lets the ship’s captain bully him and force him to abandon the ship to go recover a dead ship’s heart that the ship’s sensors have discovered, so its spirit can be properly released to the cosmos.

When his shuttle is attacked by pirates, Collin takes refuge on an abandoned ship… only to find out it’s not as empty as it seems.

I’m a big fan of multiple POVs – give me an epic fantasy with 40 characters and I’m in heaven. So being forced into a single first person POV in Entity was a bit claustrophobic for me. But Drake turns this to the story’s advantage, building upon it as the loneliness and fear weighs on Collins in isolation on the cold, dark ship. By the end of his ordeal, he’s a simpering wreck, and we are too.

We only get hints of what’s going on back on the Padua in the meantime, but don’t worry, Drake will fill us in on more of that in book two, Sanctity (Trest’s story – review tomorrow) and if I read things right, in book three too, which follows Gratch and is due out in 2022.

There’s some fascinating world building here too, with some interesting alien races that have a lot of potential. I would love to know more about the ship hearts and how they fly the ships – It’s kind of hand-waved away in the first two books. And I was happy to see the addition of a limited second POV in the next book, Sanctity.

Entity is a wild ride that takes us into some dark places before finally reaching the light, a great start to a new queer sci-fi series that promises to boldly go where no man (or LGBTQ+ person) has gone before. I am so here for it!

The Reviewer

Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi and Liminal Fiction, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies. 

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