Author: Tobias Cabral
Author Twitter: @cabral_psyd
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Genre: First Contact
Word Count: 43,700

Night Music by Tobias Cabral is an ambitious science fiction tale brimming with fascinating alien intrigue and hard science fiction details. While Cabral's unique take on first contact is captivating, I felt the overall narrative was let down by weak character development and an excessive amount of exposition.

Where Night Music shines is in its depiction of hard science fiction elements. As someone with a STEM background and a fascination with spaceflight, the author's meticulous detail (e.g. a focus on checklists) adds a welcome authenticity to the story. In fact, all the scientific elements passed my "sniff test," which many so-called hard sci-fi books fail. However, this level of detail is a double-edged sword.

Many of the ideas Cabral is communicating are complex and require a lot of page time. In a book as short as this, that meant these ideas became the focus, leaving little room for aspects like character development. And while the attention to scientific detail is commendable, it feels overwhelming at times and slows down the pacing of the story. The pacing was uneven throughout the whole story, really.

However, my primary critique is in handling of the characters. The first chapter offers a lot of exposition about the character's background but does so with a little action or emotion. Seth, the protagonist, is introduced as an exceptional pilot, however I never really felt like it was depicted in-scene. We're told of Seth's skills and accolades rather than shown, leaving the character feeling flat right off the bat. Sadly, I struggled to connect with him throughout the rest of the book.

In the end, I found 'Night Music' to be a mixed bag. There are tons of great ideas to be found in its pages, including a genuinely unique and interesting approach to Martian terraforming. For fans of detailed technical narratives, this book may hold appeal. However, those seeking a character-driven story might find themselves underwhelmed.

My Score: 6 / 10

/* Note: I'll be keeping my review score hidden until the rest of Team can announce their scores as well. This review reflects only my personal opinion, not the opinion of the entire team. */

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