Title: The Ghost Line
Author: Andrew Neil Gray and J.S. Herbison
Genre: Space Opera
In general, I have no issues reading novellas, novelettes, or short stories—except when I find that the length inhibits the storytelling. Unfortunately, I felt that was the case with this book.
The story has a fairly abrupt start, as the main characters are approaching the titular ghost line, an abandoned luxury space cruise ship, and from that point on, it never quite gives us the full scope of the story’s universe. We don’t learn what Earth is like to any real degree in this spacefaring future—beyond a few mentions of advanced technology—and our interactions with its inhabitants are limited to the four-person crew on the mission.
The characters themselves aren’t poorly written, per se, but they could have been executed better. One of them bordered on a cliche, another acted so aberrantly throughout the story that it made a few of the plot twists a little too obvious. The main character was a little to woe-is-me as well, dwelling on her personal problems so often that it distracted from the main storyline.
The plot itself was interesting, but I didn’t find the twists all that original or shocking. I think the length really stunted the story’s ability to build suspense, as it kept throwing out answers immediately after the questions were asked. My biggest letdown, honestly, was that the tone wasn’t nearly as “horror-tinged” as I was hoping it’d be. I wanted a slow, atmospheric, creepy buildup, but the pace got so fast around the one-third mark that such a tone became impossible to hold.
Overall, this was an okay read, but nothing to write home about.