2 out of 4 stars
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Sicarionauts: Saving the World! is a science-fiction novel by author Anthony Acosta. A team of scientists is experimenting with a dangerous substance on the International Space Station. At the same time, a Mexican assassin named Benicio kidnaps a drug lord’s son. The kidnapping goes south quickly; Benicio ends up on a rocket ship that is about to launch. Meanwhile, a terrorist named Miksa Amari sees the dangerous experiment as a chance to get revenge for his wife's death. Desperate circumstances force Benicio to form unusual partnerships to prevent the destruction of Planet Earth when the space station is attacked.
I enjoyed the fun premise of this novel; I can honestly say that I have never read a story about Mexican gangsters accidentally entering space. Benicio is such a brash, vivid character that his choices seem almost realistic. For example, Benicio slams the barrel of his gun down on a very important button inside the spaceship when he has to choose between facing overwhelming enemy gunfire or launching into space (though I won't give away what that button does!). I also liked the superhero-comic style of adventure throughout the book. The “science” part of the science fiction is loose at best; it operates under the same rules as the radioactive spider that bites Spiderman—the author provides just enough detail to make the pseudo-science almost believable. The best parts of this book are very comic-like. The plot is action-packed, the characters are dramatic, and the ending is a great cliffhanger; some very unexpected characters make a shocking appearance. This startling event does a great job setting up the premise for a sequel.
Unfortunately, the writing style is so sloppy that it is hard to decipher the text in places. There are frequent capitalization, punctuation, spacing, and verb-tense errors throughout the book. The narrative sounds like an excited teenage boy telling a friend about what happened in a comic book he just read; the style is rushed, animated, and full of dramatic noises and gunfire. The author does not bother to slow down long enough to translate Spanish phrases on multiple occasions.
I would recommend Sicarionauts: Saving the World! to readers who enjoy watching TV shows like Firefly and Queen of the South. Sensitive readers should be aware that this book contains extensive profanity (in both Spanish and English), extreme violence, and vulgar jokes.
This is an entertaining and original story. Unfortunately, the writing style detracted significantly from my enjoyment of the action-packed plot. I give this book a rating of 2 out of 4 stars.
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