adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B0821SC3ZP
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B0821SC3ZP

Try our newest plan – unlimited listening to select audiobooks, Audible Originals, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
$7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
Buy for $21.35

Buy for $21.35

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cookfire.

Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, whom they consider to be less than human.

When the autopsy of Matilda's sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother's suicide some quarter century before, Aster retraces her mother's footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she's willing to fight for it.

©2017 Rivers Solomon (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about An Unkindness of Ghosts

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    720
  • 4 Stars
    299
  • 3 Stars
    120
  • 2 Stars
    47
  • 1 Stars
    11
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    868
  • 4 Stars
    171
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    625
  • 4 Stars
    273
  • 3 Stars
    132
  • 2 Stars
    43
  • 1 Stars
    15

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well-balanced space opera

This novel is about a renegade scientist, Aster, living on the bottom of a generation ship's a social hierarchy due to her skin color and the deck she was born on. Low deckers are subject to work shifts in the fields nourished by Matilda's internal sun Baby. Their proximity to the Baby sun's radiation affects their health etc. The protagonist and the nation she belongs to are medically intersex. However, this is not meditation on a society of true hermaphrodites a la Sturgeon or LeGuin.

Aster and her traumatized friends set out to work out the secret code left in Aster's mother's notebooks that may show the way for Matilda to end its 300 year (ship time) sojourn through the stars.

The story provides a good balance of character, plot and world-building. Aster is toward the end of the autism spectrum that used to be classified as Asbergers. She's brilliant but also has to systematically parse what her interlocutors are saying to understand them. Aster's ASD is a good window for the novel to resonate on the meanings of words and drop lots of medical terminology without losing its flow.

The story is a classic 'chamber opera.' All the action takes place in the environs of Matilda.Solomon adds an Afrofuturist flair peppering the story with lower deck fables that have a West African flavor to them. The novel has an episodic feel throughout but ties up nicely.

Recommended to lovers of folk tales and intricate worlds. Fanatical and casual SF fans alike will enjoy this one..

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Love the concept BUT

I absolutely love the concept of this book. An entire society of people who for generations have been traveling on a space ship to find a new planet to call home after leaving earth. I love the questions posed to gender identity and sexuality. The class systems between the different levels of the ship. Though i absolutely loved the concepts and ideas presented i had problems with the storyline and the character development. I was really hoping to learn more about the history of how they had ended up on the ship(what happened on earth, where were they going?) but i suppose the idea is that they themselves don’t even know anymore. I also felt that the story was rushed from one event to the next with no context, at times i felt that i had skipped a few chapters or missed something because all of a sudden things had progressed so quickly without any explanation. I also found it incredibly difficult to feel anything for the characters because the character development was totally lacking and the main characters were so cold and mechanical.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I didn't want it to end

At first I wasn't sure if I cared for the narrator's voice, but she immediately grew on me once the character dialogue kicked in. This book is incredibly creative, and anyone with a particularly analytical thought process or who is close to someone with a highly analytical thought process will immediately recognize Aster as a kindred spirit. Aster is neurodiverse, stubborn, and inquisitive. She is surrounded by imperfect, fascinating people. An Unkindness of Ghosts poses familiar themes in an unfamiliar, dystopian setting. What sets this book apart from other apocalyptic dystopian space novels is the loving attention to detail that creates the world of the ship Matilda. River Solomon deftly balances extensive world building with character and plot, to create a believable and engrossing future scenario which contains many similarities to the past and present of America and the Carribean.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing and intriguing book!

This story is unlike anything I've read. Written from the perspective of a black, autistic, intersex woman in the style of dystopian afrofuturism it explores difficult themes like neoslavery, class, gender, abortion, and human rights through the lens of a mystery. Hard to describe but you won't be disappointed. The narration is particularly on point with incredible talent in accents.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Ambitious and Original

With an audio book in particular, I want to listen to something with a complex plot and characters. But this was a little too complex for me, and I often found myself confused. When reading on the page, if you drift off and realize you’ve missed something important, you can easily go back and reread. It’s far more difficult on audio. So probably some of my confusion came from not listening with 100 percent of my attention, which this book definitely requires.

Lots of lot of brutality--well, the premise is the "brown people" live on the lower decks of this ship that's been in space 400 years and they're pretty much slaves. When reading an actual book, you can skim if you have difficulty with graphic violence, sexual or otherwise. Again, hard to skip on audio. All you can do is fast forward and possibly miss something pertinent within the scene you don’t want to listen too. At this point in my life, I can’t stomach much violence and can stomach zero sexual violence. This had a lot of both.

I imagine many will find this a 4 or 5 star listen/read. It’s certainly ambitious and original. And if you're looking for something with diversity of all kinds, this will fit the bill.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I wanted to love it, BUT...

Maybe if it had been available before the democratic party's manufactured race war, I could have appreciated it. However the unadulterated use of white on black violence was too much for me to bear. This type of behavior occurred in America's past, and I have heard that it is ongoing in Africa, with the distinction of being black on black violence there. The topic has been so overdone in the news these last months that the reading this book at this time felt like an overload of political fiction.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Did Not Like The Characters

This book was ok. I found myself hating the main character. I just felt the decision made were stupid. But I understand the characters were engulfed in trama so maybe that was part of character decision. I also felt the story ended very abruptly.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Familiar, Painful, Funny, Incredible

I absolutely love what the author did with language in this story. It was so satisfying to hear, both the written language of the story itself and the voice of the wonderful narrator whose love of language is just as clear as the authors.

This is not only incredibly intelligent and creative science fiction, the voices in this story are those we most desperately want to hear; those who have been crying out to be heard for as long as anyone who is alive may remember.

There is so much love and care for these characters, they are each so clear, and so familiar. It is a painful story, it is a human story, and it so incredibly worth the listen.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Needs more.

I struggled to finish this book. The main characters vocabulary seemed unbelievable. The character Giselle kept the book interesting. I don't see myself rereading.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sad and lovely

Like much sci fi does, this book encloses very human issues and emotions in a limited space where they're brought to their extremes. Race, gender and hierarchy involving domination are heavily featured at the core. It's beautiful and brutal.

As an autistic person (with an autistic spouse) I also find its portrayal of autism excellent. Not quite the same autism as I have, but close in some ways, and autistic people are as different from each other as anyone else, of course.

The narrator told the story well, and made each character distinct. The central characters are all engaging, in general.

I will caution, for very visual readers (like me), you might get some dark room syndrome at times, as description is minimalistic at many points. Similarly, the framing of information (giving context on introducing new information) is minimal at times in favor of keeping the pace rolling and letting you catch up. These aren't strictly flaws, just preference apects to be aware of.

Looking forward to seeing more from Rivers'.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Donna
  • Donna
  • 10-10-17

Heart-stopping, beautiful, wonderful

This book blew me away. By the end of the first few chapters I was completely hooked and barely paused in my listen-through. I cried out multiple times when listening (in anger and sadness but also with joy), there were several minutes in which I practically stopped breathing without realising until the crisis had passed. Overall it's simply the best book I've ever read.

In an incredibly rich and vibrant world populated with an effortlessly real and diverse cast, the plot drives the book forward inexorably. I was totally lost in the world and driven along with Aster (the protagonist).

The review this got in NPR said "its only imperfection is that it ended" and I couldn't agree more.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Wakeman
  • Wakeman
  • 08-02-20

Disappointing

The headline says it all; this is a disappointing book. The scenario, of an Ark ship in decline, is something of a cliche to start with. The tone is relentlessly depressing, not at all helped by the range of accents employed by the narrator. The characters arouse no sympathy for their situation and they are, in any case, poorly realised. All in all, not recommended.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michela
  • Michela
  • 12-30-20

The world on a starship towards a promised land

Humans seem to have escaped earth and are on their way to some "promised land" on a spaceship where castes, prejudices, oppression and all sorts of horrible crimes are allowed and justified under the religious empire in charge. The brilliant main character, despite the pain and impossible difficulties of continuous persecution by the rulers, follows her disappeared mother's traces and discovers unexpected truths about their voyage. With the help of friends and allies she will bring about the massive change that her mother gave start to. Both the story and the characters are quite captivating and unforgettable, the ending is bittersweet and yet satisfying.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mrs Cathy
  • Mrs Cathy
  • 01-15-20

Totally fresh

Absorbing, brutal and totally fresh. Really enjoyed it and highly recommend. Will read her other work.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-05-19

Problems with audio quality

I loved the reading. Was enjoying the story. But the audio quality was sadly unlistenable - oddly muffled. I had to push the volume way up and even then had trouble making it out. That's not a problem with the performance or the book, but with the production. Maybe some noise-reduction filter or something was run on it? Whatever, I had to give up, sadly.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-26-18

Wonderful

This was not only a beautifully written work, but also exquisitely rendered by the voice actor. You would be foolish to not listen to this magnificent story.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sonia Nayyar
  • Sonia Nayyar
  • 08-26-21

READ & IF YOUR HEART CAN TAKE IT READ AGAIN

Fascinating, heartbreaking, poetic and poignant. This book will fundamentally change something in you if you allow it. Rivers Solomon is a force, I'm excited for what she does next. The narrator was superb in bringing the story to life, giving the complexities and nuances of ship life and its ecology a measured tone, never rushing the small and important details. Read this book, and then read it again.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for alias
  • alias
  • 11-13-18

hard to listen to

There is a difference between reading a book out loud and telling a story. Think I will need to buy the book to finish it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mariuca
  • Mariuca
  • 07-06-18

Good story

I liked the story, but on the performance some of the characters have an uncomfortable voice to hear.

1 person found this helpful