From the first sentence, Killing Gravity slams out of the gate, pitching readers into a constant stream of action and startling violence.
The book is centered on a woman coming to terms with the horrors of her past and the vengeance that consumes her. With witty and effortless narrative, White brings us a feminist vision of a woman with ultimate mental powers who will stop at nothing to overcome her oppressors.
THE MAIN CHARACTER
There’s such a backstory here, and I’m amazed at the author’s ability to fully introduce us to a larger-than-life character in under 200 pages. I don’t want to give away too much of her story. The gist: she has powers, she planet hops stealing ships as she goes, she doesn’t have any friends besides a strange pet, and she doesn’t take shit from Anyone. With a capital A. It’s wonderful to see such a powerful female sci-fi protagonist.
PROFOUND MENTAL ABILITIES
The main character’s mental powers are equal parts mesmerizing and horrifying. Her god-like abilities allow her to overcome any enemy in her way – from a backwoods bounty hunter to fleets of enormous ships that she crumples like aluminum cans. The violence in the book is startling and unabashed – think of a Quentin Tarantino movie with magic. It fits with the character’s personality. She’s been a weapon her whole life and doesn’t care to restrain her abilities when they’re needed. She admits to feeling guilt, but rarely in the moment. It makes her a truly ruthless killer, and the ease of the powers is fascinating to read.
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THE BODY-MOD CULTURE
This little culture of body modification makes for some interesting rabble at her destinations. You’ve got people modifying their heads in the hopes of living on as a machine after their deaths. You’ve got people willingly cutting off their limbs to get modified prosthetics, making them super jacked. You’ve got people experimenting with altering their genes in the hopes of increasing their evolutionary standing. There are of course the glowing tattoos that seem to be pretty common in sci-fi, but those pale in comparison to the cultural norm of replacing parts of your body for something better. They don’t seem to care what their modified bodies look like, as long as it gives them a step up. Very grungy and cool.
THE FAST PACE
There is so much going on in this novel. White is able to fully present a main character with an interesting backstory, multiple scenes of conflict, a chase scene, and a boss battle, all while occasionally introducing supporting characters and making us care about them. It’s an impressive feat not to be taken lightly and he has definitely mastered the novella form. There’s also an interesting aside about black holes – I’m not positive how scientific it is, but it was a thought-provoking description of the main character’s experience of traveling through one and the absence of space and time.
This little friend was hilarious. A genetically modified cat whose features I still can’t describe, constantly on the main character’s shoulder and helping her fight along the way. I love adding in a pet fuzzball as her only companion. It adds this extra layer to her personality, beyond the tragedy and the stark violence.
By Corey J. White
Published by Tor.com
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