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  • Writer's pictureJ.S. Dewes

Book Review: Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer -- before they kill again.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently... 


The set up for Six Wakes reminded me A LOT of the SyFy show Dark Matter: a crew of former criminals wakes up on a starship under mysterious circumstances, seemingly stranded in space, with no memory of what happened. But it only diverged from there, in a good way.

Where Dark Matter flailed for over a season (it gets much better after season 1) while trying to find is footing, struggling with shoddy character development and a meandering plot, Six Wakes shines. It knows what it wants to accomplish from page one, and every step is an effort in getting there.

There’s a bit of a worldbuilding information dump in the first few chapters that had my attention wandering, but once you push past it, it falls into a rhythm and you won’t want to put it down. Very little feels extraneous, which makes it a very fun, engaging read.

the Six Wakes crew – Maria, Hiro, Katrina, IAN, Wolfgang, Paul, Joanna

My only real complaints were that the conclusion was somewhat weak, in that there were a few too many plot holes that I felt weren’t adequately covered, and [spoilers about things I can’t tell you].

But ultimately it was a great read, full of questionable ethics, strong character development, and fun plot twists that despite being somewhat unsurprising (or even obvious at times), were still extremely entertaining to see play out.

I would highly recommend for both fans of science fiction and mystery. The science is light enough to not be alienating, but there’s plenty enough fun tech, cloning, spaceships, AI, etc, to keep science fiction fans happy!

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