Off Planet (Aunare Chronicles, #1) by Aileen Erin

Rating: 5/5 stars. Highly recommended!

Published: 19 March 2019 by Ink Monster, LLC

Genre(s): YA Fantasy; Sci-Fi; Dystopia

Pages: 405 (ebook-Libby)

In an all-too-plausible future where corporate conglomerates have left the world’s governments in shambles, anyone with means has left the polluted Earth for the promise of a better life on a SpaceTech owned colony among the stars.

Maité Martinez is the daughter of an Earther Latina and a powerful Aunare man, an alien race that SpaceTech sees as a threat to their dominion. When tensions turn violent, Maité finds herself trapped on Earth and forced into hiding.

For over ten years, Maité has stayed hidden, but every minute Maité stays on Earth is one closer to getting caught.

She’s lived on the streets. Gone hungry. And found a way to fight through it all. But one night, while waitressing in a greasy diner, a customer gets handsy with her. She reacts without thinking.

Covered in blood, Maité runs, but it’s not long before SpaceTech finds her…

Arrested and forced into dangerous work detail on a volcano planet, Maité waits for SpaceTech to make their move against the Aunare. She knows that if she can’t somehow find a way to stop them, there will be an interstellar war big enough to end all life in the universe.

There’s only one question: Can Maité prevent the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?

Source: Goodreads

Aileen Erin’s writing is so readable, an impressive feat because most of this book is about a character struggling. Struggling to hide, to run, to get through the pain, to survive. If written poorly, it could sound incredibly whiny. This is one of those rare books that has you from the get-go and doesn’t release you until it’s done. There’s no dilly-dallying, just straight to the chase. You get introduced to the world and its characters as you go along.

Off Planet, in its essence, is about perseverance, surviving, and being able to hold your head up high at the hurdles life throws at you. This message cannot get any louder in this book. It also sends the important message that being strong is also about knowing when to allow yourself to feel weak and acknowledging your fear but at the same time keep on keeping on.

I love the protagonist Maité. At first glance, she seems complicated with too heavy a secret and is hard to connect with. At times, she seems very fragile because she needs people to run around to make sure she’s safe. It’s much simpler really. She’s the daughter of Aunare King’s right-hand. She’s a high profile figure with the bad guys (SpaceTech) constantly out for her neck. So, her easily triggered nature makes sense. Despite that, she’s incredibly down-to-earth and centred. Plus, she’s a chick who can fight? Yas! I looked forward to how the author would write out epic fight scenes. And yes, the action was so fast the pages flew by.

Due to Maité’s alien abilities, she’s able to identify trustworthy people around her. Enemies and allies are clear cut, you know who’s on your side. That was reassuring for me. The lesson is clear here: It’s okay to take risks and trust. The fact that Maité’s actually a powerful figure in her universe but still needs the people around her to keep alive is humbling.

The romantic elements in this book barely take up space and I applaud the author and her editor for this decision. That made this a more tasteful first instalment in the series. Romance would’ve taken away some level of severity from Maité’s struggles. In this book, it was just as a side element. Nevertheless, from the brief encounters and Maité’s ponderings about her love life in this book, I can say that readers are in for a treat when the author finally puts her characters’ relationships in the spotlight. Readers have one more thing to look forward to in the next books.

If anyone asks me whether it’s worth their time to pick up this under-hyped series, I will say yes in a heartbeat.

This book isn’t as widely read as I thought it would be and that shocked me. There are some though. Check out what these reviewers think: