I got intrigued by the pitch of Wine Dark Deep: “Equal parts The Martian, Star Trek, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and The Expanse”. Of these four, I love 3, and I’m neutral about the fourth (I probably read it at some point, but I don’t remember anything about it). That, plus an intriguing title, made me ask for a review copy on NetGalley, and be happy when I got it.
In Wine Dark Deep, some parts of the solar system are somewhat settled; Ceres is used as a refueling base for ships that go for a longer journey. The Ulysses is such a ship – destination Jupiter, for a scientific mission, and gets quite annoyed when the Ceres base refuses their refueling, for reasons that are initially unclear. A tug of war ensues between the two factions and we follow in particular Cal Scott, the captain of the Ulysses, and Helen Donovan, who’s part of the Ceres colony.
I usually see myself as someone who loves all the “space details” that make me feel like a book is believable and well-researched – that go beyond the handwavy “yeah, we have cool engines and we can go to space today”. I will admit that the level of these details in Wine Dark Deep was too much for me, especially since it seemed to come at the detriment of character development. I had a very hard time caring for any of these characters and what they were doing, and no amount of nerdy details could compensate for that.
Wine Deep Dark is the first part of a three-part story, and it’s possible that the following parts alleviate the issues that I have with the first part, but I also regret to say that I will not try to find out by reading them.