Toxic, by Lydia Kang
Publish Date: November 6, 2018
Published by: Entangled Teen/Tantor Audio
Narrated by: Vikas Adam, Amanda Ronconi
Length: approx. 11 hours
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)
Hana isn’t supposed to exist. She’s grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simple gone – along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she’s certain her mother wouldn’t leave her there to die. And Hana isn’t ready to die yet. She’s never really had a chance to live.
Fenn is supposed to die. He and a crew of hired mercenaries are there to monitor Cyclo as she expires, and the payment for the suicide mission will mean Fenn’s sister is able to live. But when he meets Hana, he’s not sure how to save them both.
As Cyclo grows sicker by the day, they unearth more secrets about the ship and the crew. But the more time they spend together, the more Hana and Fenn realize that falling for each other is what could ultimately kill them both.
I listened to this book as an audiobook, and while it was interesting in some places, I didn’t quite connect with it all the time. The characters are certainly interesting and diverse, and the setting definitely unique, but there were just so many moments when I felt like it would never end. Even some of the high-action and tense scenes had me kind of wishing it would move a little faster.
Hana was a character that I half-empathized with and half-couldn’t stand. She could just be so annoyingly naive sometimes and yes, I get that she spent 17 years of her life alone in a single room with only her mother and a sentient ship for company, but considering how much access to videos and such she had, I think she could still have had a little better concept of human interaction. And Fenn, while his voice was wonderfully “teenage boy” at times, was also the self-hating type that I kind of dislike.
I think the plot was interesting and fascinating at times, but the intrigue that was promised in the plot wasn’t as…intriguing as I felt it could have been. I think part of it was that I figured things out so early on that I was just annoyed that even when they had the answers in front of their faces these characters were interpreting things wrong. And the writing gets bogged down with a lot of scientific technical terms at times, which left me sort of losing interest at high-stakes moments.
I think that overall it was an okay listen, but there was so much going on – between Fenn’s crisis with his own character and Hana’s with her own existence, plus Cyclo’s dying and everything in between – that it kind of got to be too much at times and I lost interest in places. Towards the end I very much just wanted it to be done and over with, and it leaves me feeling sadly unenthused towards the book as a whole.