December 10, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Giveaway Deadline Is Tonight! Diverse, Developed Characters And Worlds With Depictions Of PTSD And Grief Sets Caryn Lix's Containment Apart From Its Sci-Fi Counterparts

GIVEAWAY!!!! Don’t Forget: Today is your last day to enter for a chance to win an ARC of Containment, which is released on August 6th. Please see details: Caryn Lix Q and A and Giveaway.



Spoiler Alert

Containment, the second installment of the Sanctuary Series takes the characters and worlds that were introduced and richly fills in their history, their secrets and their personalities. We get to know everyone as well as we got to know Kenzie in Sanctuary.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster/Simon Pulse for my copay of Containment, as well as the giveaway!

That isn’t to say the secondary characters weren’t developed in Sanctuary, but you always knew there Lix could go deeper. Her depiction of PTSD through Kenzie is very well thought-out. It isn’t just mentioned and dropped. Throughout the book you see examples of how PTSD impacts her processing of what is happening around her due to flashbacks, emotions or not having properly processed what has happened.

The station bore only a superficial resemblance to Sanctuary, but my last moments on the orbital prison refused to leave me. Facing the aliens there had been bad… I choked on my own fear… Bile touched the back of my throat, and I stared at my shoes until the sensation subsided. Every time I thought of the aliens, it left me hallowed inside.

Meanwhile, grief plagued most characters. Imani had lost her sister, everyone was reeling from the deaths of Tyler and Matt. Kenzie continued doubting Cage’s decision to lie about how Matt died, not at the hands of the Aliens but Kenzie’s attempt to save him only to misfire and shoot him, instead.
Everyone was grieving something, and this wasn’t just left behind. The emotional pain ricocheted throughout the book, cascading into a chain of events and consequences.  Self-defense mechanisms were explored as masks.

For me it was strength. For Mia it was aggression. For Cage, authority.

Peel that layer away and Lix pushed Containment forward by filling in the past. Utilizing the characters pasts as plot devices that didn’t just give them history but also filled in the universe.
As current characters start to reveal their stories and secrets, new characters are introduced (pay really close attention to the interview linked at the beginning of the review- Lix is sneaky and that’s all I’m saying about that) with their own hidden agendas. With each backstory of our current cast and new character, the universe started to expand, which brings me to my next point.
It was pretty much a given that Omnistellar wasn’t what it seemed. There was a lot to be revealed and corruption to come into play when Containment was released. For some reason, maybe short sighted on my part, I didn’t see anything but Omnistellar.
So, while I hoped for the character development and that exceeded my expectation (as did exposing Omnistellar for the devil incarnate corporation… when it came to new worlds like Obsidian and Mars there were many…
WTH Did I just read

… moments, as well.

Each character had a connection to these different worlds (and if you think I’m being vague in parts I am. Because. Spoilers). Their life on each world and knowledge of the different corporations provided essential connections for the plot. Even more importantly it gave us a connection to those characters we had previously only had with Kenzie.
These worlds and corporations aren’t just side distractions, along with the characters, they are cogs that make Containment move. They are detailed, nuanced and each with their own dynamics, classes and means of existence. Their connections to Omnistellar are revealed in a suspenseful and careful way that keeps you guessing, along with their motives towards the group as they struggle to find safety and shelter from those that are trying to hunt them…
Aliens? Yeah them. And Omnistellar and bounty hunters. It almost seems like everyone is after our group. One more evil than the next. The peril they are all in never stops. For 496 pages they can’t take a breath. Every time they think maybe… uh, no. And each group becomes more terrifying than the last. Even the aliens?
Yes. Even the aliens manage to become more terrifying than the last group. They are stronger, more physically aggressive. I think the only thing we still don’t know but hopefully we get in the next installment about the aliens is the why. What do they want (other than to kill) and why? Unless they are just mindless creatures… why do they harvest and what is their endgame? I believe these answers will come.
In the meantime, let’s just say there is something about the aliens that is changing, growing in strength, which is also true of the kid’s powers.  And while this is a great advantage for the kids to have, it is terrifying to find out the aliens are experiencing it, as well.
There are cliffhangers at the end Containment about a few characters and histories for a couple that are still to be explored. There is yet another world that is introduced and left in question, as well. So, there is plenty of meat here to go forth and I can’t wait for it in third book of the series.
Meanwhile, as the kids are continually hunted by multiple entities throughout the universe throughout Containment, and I believe will throughout the series, one song rang out in my head the whole book… thanks mom.

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