Pros: Wonderful characters
Cons: Could have been taken a bit further in some quarters
Rating: 4 out of 5
Girl From Above: Betrayal (The 1000 Revolution), by Pippa DaCosta, includes some fascinating ideas. There is a corporation that has figured out how to dump brains into synthetic bodies. They’re only allowed to make 1000 at a time, with years in between, and they’re auctioned off to the richest people as a way of continuing to live on after death. 1001 is an anomaly. There should be no number 1001, and instead of living some privileged life with her family, she’s been sent to kill a man. She stowes away in a ragged ship owned by smuggler Caleb Shepperd, and as she stays with him, her programming breaks down further and further. Who was she originally? Who or what is she now? And why is everyone tracking her down?
Cale (Caleb) is a great character. Sure, he’s got the rough edges of a smuggler, but he used to be something more. There’s a whole year that was expunged from his records, a time when he was an up-and-coming fleet captain, and he dated the daughter–Haley–of a famous businessman. Somehow in there Haley vanished, Cale was tossed out of the fleet, and he became a smuggler. Although he’ll take almost anything to sell, he cares most about delivering weapons caches to dissidents and revolutionaries. There are some details that come later in the book that really made me like Cale as a character, and that gave him a lot more depth. He’s more than the typical ragged smuggler with a heart of gold; he’s also been a selfish coward who has a lot to make up for. He’s imperfect in ways that really matter.
1001 is a surprisingly interesting character. She starts out rather robotic, and then as the faults and errors add up, she becomes something more than she was. She has orders to carry out, but you’ll have to read the story to find out what they are and whether she’ll do it.
The only character that didn’t really do it for me was Cale’s brother Brendan, who is still playing the part of the perfect fleet commander. Interesting things happened to him, but his effect on the plot was largely passive.
As Cale falls farther and farther down the rabbit-hole, losing one ally and bolthole at a time, things become very tense. He isn’t sure he can trust his brother, his fellow smuggler Fran, or, of course, 1001. Events got quite tense, I shed a tear or two (shh! Don’t tell), and I said “nooooooooo!” when I got to the end and realized I’d need to read the sequel to find out what happens next.
NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher