Spin the Sky: An Orbital Odyssey presents a sci-fi remake of history's greatest quest story: The Odyssey. Cesar Vaquero, a futuristic, Hispanic Odysseus, seeks out his Penelope (who's still called Penelope) in a spirited performance from voice actress Holly Cate. Cate gives Cesar an appealing swagger that adds color to his quest to win back the sassy Penelope, who has long been holding down the space ranch on the planet Ithaca. A quirky and charming listen, Spin the Sky is a successful genre mashup that defies space and time.
Home is where the herd is...
Fifteen years after winning the Spacer War, Cesar Vaquero has returned to Ithaca, a rugged orbital colony that boasts the only herd of cattle in space, and a wife and a son who don’t even recognize him when he shows up at their doorstep. Posing as a homeless drifter, he soon discovers that making his way home past space pirates, one-eyed giants, and mad scientists was the easy part.
Penelope swore off men after her husband disappeared. She’s been busy enough running the ranch, raising her son, and fending off pushy suitors eager to get their hands on her and her herd. But something about this war-weary drifter stirs forgotten feelings in her, even as sabotage, rustlers, and a space stampede threaten to tear Ithaca apart!
Spin the Sky is an rollicking, high-spirited riff on a certain classic odyssey, featuring characters as big and full of surprises as Space itself!
When I picked this book up on a blind whim, I had no idea it was destined to become one of my top ten favorite books. Spin the Sky weaves a portrait of a war hero coming home to his wife and son on their cattle ranch in space with vignettes of his surreal space adventures, and ties it all together with a love story both heartfelt and epic.
Cesar is the kind of character I love best, an archetypical hero who can pull miracles out of his hat and fly on luck, but has flaws that run deep and seem to keep him a few steps away from what he's longing for. Penelope is a no-nonsense dilettante-turned-rancher who has an emotional core she's been running from for years. Their son, Trevor, is a teenager obsessed with stories about his absent father, and one day going on adventures of his own. When Cesar finally comes home, sick and scraggly and unrecognized, he chickens out and pretends he's a drifter. But the pull of his family is strong, and mysterious sabotage on the orbital and with the herd might mean he's showed up just in time.
The narrator did a pretty good job, especially with the emotions of the characters and the accents, but some of the voices for the teenagers were a little high-pitched. Still, overall it was a good narration.
Part space western, part mythical epic based on Homer's Odyssey, and part epic love story, Spin the Sky tells it all with a surreal, funny, and stylistic narrative that left me in turns whooping with joy and breathless for what would come next. And the ending is amazing! This is a book I'm looking forward to rereading for years to come!
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