Boss loves to dive historical ships, derelict spacecraft found adrift in the blackness between the stars. Sometimes she salvages for money, but mostly she's an active historian. She wants to know about the past - to experience it firsthand. Once she's dived the ship, she'll either leave it for others to find or file a claim so that she can bring tourists to dive it as well. It's a good life for a tough loner, with more interest in artifacts than people.
Then one day, Boss finds the claim of a lifetime: an enormous spacecraft, incredibly old, and apparently Earth-made. It's impossible for something so old, built in the days before Faster Than Light travel, to have journeyed this far from Earth. It shouldn't be here. It can't be here. And yet, it is. Boss's curiosity is up, and she's determined to investigate. She hires a group of divers to explore the wreck with her, the best team she can assemble. But some secrets are best kept hidden, and the past won't give up its treasures without exacting a price in blood. What Boss finds could rewrite history, cost lives, and start an intergalactic war.
©2009 Kristine Kathryn Rusch; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"Rusch delivers a page-turning space adventure while contemplating the ethics of scientists and governments working together on future tech." (Publisher's Weekly)
"This is classic sci-fi, a well-told tale of dangerous exploration....Compellingly human and technically absorbing, the suspense builds to fevered intensity, culminating in an explosive yet plausible conclusion." (Romantic Times)
"Jennifer Van Dyck has a bright and lively voice, and she narrates at a quick pace. The story is a good old-fashioned space opera, but Van Dyck gives it some weight, turning it into a thoughtful look at history and what it can mean to individuals." (AudioFile)
The overall story and naration was quite good, I like the retrieval artist novels so took a chance. The characters are nice and if you're looking for some adventure you'll find it.
What makes me stop at three out of five is the weird choice of driving part of the plot with very advanced interstellar and then limiting 'dives' by running out of air in 60 minutes. Even today's EVAs on ISS and Shuttle missions last for 7 or 8 hours. All in all, it feels like the book was written while learning to scuba dive.
Enjoyable nonetheless, recommended.
It's best to explain what this book (really 3 short stories/novellas) is -not-, before discussing what it is. As my review title states, don't buy this if what you really want is a Clive Cussler-style space-diving, treasure-hunting adventure. You won't be satisfied at all. The story wasn't a bit what I expected either, but I ended up liking it for the character study it is.
The book's title is somewhat allegorical. The ultimate "Wreck" you end up diving into is actually the protagonist herself, who is revealed slowly (sometimes maddeningly slowly) through the forced first-person perspective. It's a bit claustrophobic at times (I too ended up wanting to be viewing the action from outside Boss's head, knowing I was missing something by being limited to her knowledge, her perspective)--- but that's also what wreck diving is: an exploration of the unknown and potentially dangerous within extremely cramped quarters.
It took me about 15 minutes to warm up to the narrator, but afterwards her cadences actually seemed to be a good match for the words themselves.
I'd prefer to give this a 3.5, but I'll round up to a 4 because, after listening to the entire book, I'm intrigued enough to look out for the next book in the series. I felt almost as if this entire book was mere backstory for the "real" adventures to come, and I'll enjoy learning if this impression is correct.
DITW is an ok book, but has gaping holes in its plot that make the book irritating. This book is clearly a character driven story and the technology and science takes a back seat. With that Rusch spends a lot of time discussing how dangerous diving is, and some technological aspects are extremely important to the story, but they make no sense. I cannot get into specifics without giving a spoiler, but I found it frustrating that relatively simple tech issues could not be solved in a book taking place in a universe that has artificial gravity and FTL transportation. The danger and situations that drive the main character through out the book should not have happened in a universe as technologically advanced as this one.
These tech inconsistencies arose through out the book and were an irritant and actually distracting. I kept saying - "Why is this a problem?" "You should have a logical technological way around these issues." Yet the problems remained. I recognize that not all writers want to perform a "tech dump" in a book and those kinds of passages/scenes can make a book cold and boring, especially in a character driven book such as this. But this book felt like it needed some explanations. At least some of the tech issues needed to be rounded out and explained.
I did sort of like the main character Boss, though I found her a little irritating. She's described as as strong and quite capable character but she seemed much less capable than I thought. She constantly whined about how she was not as good a diver as others, though she was allegedly so talented and successful. While this might have just been her self doubt, it did not feel that way.
I also found that the conclusion of the book lacked logic. It seemed to be planned and organized by someone totally unaware of the reality of how military missions are planned and executed. The outcome was highly predictable and uninspiring. No twists and turns. I was actually anticipating some twist, and then the story just ended with everything falling into place. It did not seem difficult for the characters at all. THe ending was anticlimactic.
I indicated that the book was character driven, but the characters were often poorly developed with few nuances. Boss was well developed, but the descriptions did not fit with her actual behavior. Other characters were seen only in her rather limited eyes and lacked depth.
The performance by Jennifer Van Dyck was pleasant, but she was limited by the text and could not have done much more than she did.
I'm a big fan of the Retrieval Artist novels, so was interested in this new book (and new world) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I found it difficult to get into at first: the book is broken into 3 parts and the first part felt like it could have been (or at one time was) a short story that was converted into a novel. However, once I got past my confusion and discomfort with how the book was structured, I was able to enjoy the story. The narrator is fairly good, though some of the accents seemed off. Overall, if this turns into a series (as I believe the ending implies it will), I will pick up the next book to see how the story continues.
Tell us about yourself!
I liked the universe that was evoked here. It was rather different than many space opera universeses. Interesting twists: abandoned space stations, single person tugs, the backdrop of an old war that people had survived.
A movie would be really cool! I am not sure how the special effects could be done for some of the events here, but it would be very intersting to see.
Born to read
if you liked her Retrival Artist series you will like this
a different world -- the story is great sci fi
listen and enjoy
Nice storyline with good naration but the male voices arn't done well. A female with a deep voice..lol The story has some good twists and turns. I will listen to the next one of this trilogy.
I am a very big fan of K.K. Rusch's scifi detective series The Retrieval Artist, so I looked forward to her new work. Sadly, I must report that Diving into the Wreck was an unhappy start to a new series.
Other reviewers say they were able to overlook the first-person narrative style. I could not. First, the style made it almost impossible to create a rich, fictional world. This was very unsatisfying, especially for speculative fiction.
Second, the main character is uninteresting. She's confused about things that don't seem to be confusing. She is supposed to be a smart person but she's blocked and shut down (yes, I know that's part of the story but it didn't work for me). She is angry about things but unaware.
I found that I just couldn't care about her. Another big problem.
Now, the book offers many details about diving into space ships, which I gather are taken from experience from real-world dives. It just wasn't enough to hold me for a novel.
Great read-thoroughly enjoyed the listen. Close to the entertainment value of the Retrieval Artist series, which I also love. Have not been able get interested in another series by this author (The Fey), but this book is a home run for sure. Good plot progress. Characters fun. The author puts a picture of the people in your head.
Though I didn't much care for the first person perspective, it does allow the author to quickly explain and jump over parts that would otherwise be boring, but necessary. Although the book does appear to jump in places, it's compelling to read through and all the loose ends get tied up. Jennifer Van Dyck gives the main character a particularly competent feel.
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