Review: “After Atlas,” Emma Newman

Pros: Fascinating detail
Rating: 5 out of 5

Emma Newman’s After Atlas (Planetfall Novel, A) is a follow-on to a previous novel I haven’t read, but I didn’t find that made this hard to follow at all.

When Carl was a child, his mother left Earth on a religious cult’s spaceship, leaving Carl and his father behind. Carl couldn’t stand the starkly boring life of the cult (no technologies) and left. However, he was picked up and enslaved. He learned fast, so he become a rising star in the Justice department that bought his contract. And one of the rules is that he is not to tell people he is enslaved, so he has no chance of making it out of his contract–until one day, he catches the attention of exactly the wrong man.

Meanwhile, Carl’s past is catching up to him, and he’s thrust into the middle of an investigation of the cult leader’s death–suicide, or homicide?


Carl has a remarkable skill for puzzling out fact and putting pieces of seemingly unrelated information together. Perfect for working with the justice department–not entirely relevant for his new owner. Luckily his new owner underestimates him.

I very much enjoyed watching Carl work the case, seeing the ways in which he could approach it that the police could not. The characters were interesting, and I loved seeing the difference in how Carl is treated by those who know he’s a slave and those who don’t. The ways in which the Circle cult has changed also bring to light some fascinating plot points.

I’m trying to find ways to describe this book to you without spoilers, and it’s difficult. It’s heavy on plot, even though most of it takes place in Carl’s head. I love his addiction to ‘real’ food, one of the first real stories I’ve seen where we see the difference between ‘real’ food and 3D-printed food. We get to watch as the world expands and grows, and new technologies grab hold. It’s sleek and fascinating and scary.

I think it’s a wonderful book for SF/mystery lovers, or SF/where do we go next-lovers. Absolutely enjoy it.


NOTE: book provided free by publisher for review

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