“Look, there is a very good chance that this is going to end badly, okay? You can’t come with me. You’re not an Expendable.”
“Neither are you,” she says. “Remember?”
SERIES: Mickey7 (Book #2)
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRES: Science Fiction, Fiction
PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Press
RELEASE DATE: 14 March 2023
Edward Ashton’s Antimatter Blues is the thrilling follow up to Mickey7 in which an expendable heads out to explore new terrain for human habitation.
Summer has come to Niflheim. The lichens are growing, the six-winged bat-things are chirping, and much to his own surprise, Mickey Barnes is still alive—that last part thanks almost entirely to the fact that Commander Marshall believes that the colony’s creeper neighbors are holding an antimatter bomb, and that Mickey is the only one who’s keeping them from using it. Mickey’s just another colonist now. Instead of cleaning out the reactor core, he spends his time these days cleaning out the rabbit hutches. It’s not a bad life.
It’s not going to last.
It may be sunny now, but winter is coming. The antimatter that fuels the colony is running low, and Marshall wants his bomb back. If Mickey agrees to retrieve it, he’ll be giving up the only thing that’s kept his head off of the chopping block. If he refuses, he might doom the entire colony. Meanwhile, the creepers have their own worries, and they’re not going to surrender the bomb without getting something in return. Once again, Mickey finds the fate of two species resting in his hands. If something goes wrong this time, though, he won’t be coming back.
“You’re not an Expendable, babe. You’re just Mickey Barnes now. That means you don’t have to die for me anymore.” She puts one hand behind my neck and pulls me to her until our foreheads touch. “That means you don’t get to die for me anymore.”
So, even though I didn’t find it as good as the first book, I still really liked Antimatter Blues. It was still sassy, and it still had the characters I loved from Mickey7 (for the most part – we’ll get to that).
This book begins two years after the first one ends. And it immediately starts off with a banger line that you’d expect out of our MC, Mickey Barnes.
Mickey is just as sassy as he was in book one, and I loved that. But his character doesn’t really change in this book. Like, it seemed like he went and finished his entire character arc in the last novel.
In AB, Mickey honestly seems to regress a little bit as a character and redoes part of his arc from Mickey7 a second time. The sequel even goes out of its way to discuss the Ship of Theseus again.
“Oh no,” he says. “Don’t start with that shit. I gave you up for dead once, remember? It didn’t work out. This time, I’m assuming you’re gonna find a way to weasel out of this right up until I actually see your mangled corpse-and even then, I’m checking for a pulse.”
Berto is definitely someone who’s grown as a character here though. He’s changed from someone who’d abandon his friends during the very rare times that he feels fear, into someone who’d always return for them. With more firepower.
Nasha, one of the best characters of the first book, however, is one of the worst characters here. Mostly because for most of the novel she kept complaining about how they were all going to die, and it became incredibly annoying very quickly. It also seems quite out of character for her, being the independent, badass woman she was.
“Greetings,” it says when it reaches me. “What is pervert? We do not have this word.”
That surprises me a little, considering that they’ve been monitoring my conversations with Berto for two years, but okay.
“It’s a term of affection,” I say. “Have you reached a decision about our request?”
I rather liked Speaker though – the liaison sent by the worm aliens to help Mickey retrieve the antimatter bomb from his “friends in the south.” He was strangely endearing, and I honestly cared more about him over most of the human characters.
Concerning Marshall, our resident a-hole from the first book, I liked him less here. Mostly because he didn’t get as much page time as before, but also because his interactions with Mickey, one of the highlights of book one, were cut down in Antimatter Blues. There’s also the matter of the thing that happens at the end – there wasn’t enough buildup to it, and I felt that it cheapened it significantly.
Speaking of that thing.
Marshall sacrificing himself was nice and all, and was an okay end to his character, but it bothers me that he didn’t interact with Mickey a final time before it happened. We, the reader, find out about it after he does it, and through an exposition dump he left behind. Ugh. I absolutely hated that.
And then the book just kinda ends. Right there. Sure there’s a little epilogue after it, but it’s literally like two pages. And then it ends. It just felt very abrupt and I didn’t like that.
SPOILER RANT END
Aside from the thing, and Nasha suddenly acting out of character, the rest of the novel was pretty much fine. All the plot threads were tied up, but it was left slightly open-ended in case Ashton would want to return to this universe someday.
And the hell of it is, I actually hadn’t remembered, not until she said it. I haven’t uploaded in over two years now. Even if Marshall winds up pulling another Mickey Barnes out of the tank when I’m dead, it won’t be me.
All in all, I really liked Antimatter Blues. Though not as good as its predecessor, I thought it was a good follow-up.
I definitely recommend this to fans of Mickey7, but also others who like sci-fi in space. People who enjoy The Murderbot Diaries would also probably like this duology.
Anyway, thanks as always for reading, and have a fabulous day/night!
See ya ~Mar