Chilling Effect

Chilling Effect

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sis...

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Title:Chilling Effect
Author:Valerie Valdes
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Chilling Effect Reviews

  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]

    This is actually 3.5 stars, but I rounded up because I loved the premise and I REALLY loved the heroine.

    of the spaceship La Sirena Negra has fallen on hard times. She walked away from doing business with her father because she hated how shady it was, and she hated the person she was when she was with him. But that's had financial repercussions for her and her beloved crew. They transport cargo from place to place

    This is actually 3.5 stars, but I rounded up because I loved the premise and I REALLY loved the heroine.

    of the spaceship La Sirena Negra has fallen on hard times. She walked away from doing business with her father because she hated how shady it was, and she hated the person she was when she was with him. But that's had financial repercussions for her and her beloved crew. They transport cargo from place to place (their latest: a batch of twenty psychic cats) and basically live hand-to-mouth.

    Here's a rundown of everyone on board La Sirena Negra:

    , who is BRILLIANT. She's a foulmouthed Latina who's streetwise, aggressive, and incredibly loyal. She also has a definite streak of 'grey morality.' While she doesn't actively try to hurt innocents - especially after some of the mistakes she's made in her past - she's definitely a pragmatic woman, not a naïve do-gooder.

    (aka Dr Rebecca Jones) is the closest thing Eva has to a best friend. Snarky and clear-sighted, Pink is 100% loyal to her captain - but that doesn't translate to being blindly loyal. I appreciated that she called Eva out on her bullshit when she felt it was needed, and I wish we'd gotten to see more of her character, plus more of the backstory she has with Eva.

    is their pilot. Although she does also have a human body, she prefers to spend most of her time with her consciousness tethered to the ship. I'd have liked more of an explanation of how this works - like, does her human body still need sleep? - and she didn't say an awful lot, but I could feel how much Eva cared for her.

    handles their cargo. He used to be an expendable soldier in the corporate space wars, so he has bad PTSD which makes him avoid his two mums, out of a fear he'll hurt them. But he's also loyal, friendly, and dedicated to online gaming.

    is their engineer. He's a quennian, a type of alien described as having a face like a pangolin, facial palps, and emitting scents depending on which emotion he's experiencing. His personality was definitely sweet and slightly submissive.

    So this book is a space opera in the truest sense of the word: we hop with Eva from planet to planet as she carries out assignments for The Fridge, an intergalactic crime syndicate who are holding her sister

    hostage. Unfortunately, Eva isn't great at completing the assignments properly. Time is running out - she needs to find a way to free Mari, get money to pay her crew, and somehow smash The Fridge while she's at it. To make matters worse, an emperor known as the Glorious Apotheosis has taken offence at her refusal to join his harem, and has placed a bounty (dead or alive) on her head.

    ✔️ This was

    . Eva is Hispanic, Pink is black, and obviously there are a ton of aliens like Vakar thrown into the mix. There are also loads of nonbinary characters (and not just aliens).

    ✔️

    . Males, females, and nonbinary people were all captains or mercenaries or planet rulers or hunters.

    ✔️

    . It wasn't laugh-out-loud, but there was a gentle Douglas-Adams-style humour underlying the whole book.

    ✔️ It was

    . The quick pace got me hooked straightaway.

    It is EXTRAORDINARILY hard to classify this book, age-wise. I wouldn't call it YA: Eva is over thirty, and it doesn't have that vaguely coming-of-age sense YA novels tend to exude. But I'm also struggling to label it as 'adult' for one key reason: there is absolutely nothing sexual in this book. Even kisses are disposed of with brutal speed, and the love scenes are fade-to-black.

    . Not even out of prurience or anything, just because the book kept dropping intriguing hints about Vakar's anatomy. He seems to have genitals which are retracted inside his body? And near his abdomen? Plus he's covered in scales? Even a little bit more elaboration would have helped.

    I get that this book isn't focusing on the romance, and that's why there are no sex scenes, but if you're going to have alien-human sex at least tell us how it's physically going to happen! Which leads me on to:

    ❌ Vakar was

    . Beyond him having blue eyes and facial palps (which I'm struggling to picture) NOTHING WAS DESCRIBED. Like, does he have hair? What colour? What colour is his skin? What colour are his scales?

    ❌ The

    after a while. It's a long book, and in the first half I appreciated the rapid pace, because it eliminated any drag or boredom. But it felt like there wasn't a single moment where we could take a breath and pause. Partially that's Eva's character: she's totally non-introspective, which is alright, but that also meant we didn't really see any character growth in her. All her character growth seems to have happened in the backstory.

    ❌ Beyond a few ominous hints, this

    . There's no time to: like I said, the constant fighting wasn't conducive to long chats. But I wanted to know stuff like how Eva met Pink and the others. Hopefully that'll be explained in the sequel...

    ❌ For a science fiction book, there was

    . No technology is explained; we just accept that it's there, and that humans and aliens have somehow learned how to use it. I needed to know more history. Is this a world in which humans have always known that aliens existed? When did humans discover them, if not? Infodumps are obviously bad things, but the issue here was the opposite - an info-lack, if you will.

    It was a good debut and I liked many of its elements, but I'm hopeful that the sequel (which I

    be keeping an eye out for) will expand on some of the issues I mentioned.

    -

  • keikii Eats Books

    !

    67 points, 3 stars

    Quote:

    Review:

    Chilling Effect is a weird book for me. In the beginning I was determined to love it, and then the honeymoon period wore off fast. By the midway point, I was certain I hated the book

    !

    67 points, 3 ½ stars

    Quote:

    Review:

    Chilling Effect is a weird book for me. In the beginning I was determined to love it, and then the honeymoon period wore off fast. By the midway point, I was certain I hated the book.  In the end, I loved the ending. And as much as I loved that ending and that it made me want to continue on with the series, I just don't know if I will yet.

    I also had to spend an unreal amount of time on Google Translate, and Urban Dictionary, and just plain googling around to figure out what, exactly, people were saying. There is so much Spanish sprinkled in throughout the book, at times I didn't even understand what was going on without looking things up. Hell, half the chapter titles are in Spanish! And it wasn't just 

    . No, it was phrases like "live by the sword, die by the sword." It was actually pretty frustrating because I had to stick to my computer to read this. (I'm still completely and totally lost at "Me Sube la Bilirrubina"...)

    Once Chilling Effect started it didn't really stop. It opens with a bunch of psychic kitties causing the main character, Captain Eva Innocente, and her crew a lot of trouble. Then drops into a kidnapping exploitation plot before swinging wildly into an attempted sexual slavery that is somehow not being vilified by everyone. The entire book, the characters are swinging from one task that goes wrong to the next task that goes wrong. Not exactly my favourite type of story.

    Then, within all those tasks that go wrong, there are a bunch of plotlines that are just there to make the readers go "hey I recognise that!". A LOT of pop culture, and some not, as well. There is an

    of Pride and Prejudice in here, in the chapter titled "El Orgullo y el Prejuicio" (guess what that translates as?). Chilling Effect just liked to pull from popular things for inspiration and then recreate them in space for fun. I'm sure there were more in here that I missed than I got.

    Captain Eva Innocente, our main character, gets into a lot of trouble. She isn't the most competent person. She seems to be chronically incapable of controlling herself, her emotions, and most spectacularly her anger. Which gets her into more trouble than any other outside force. She also isn't really able to control her crew, either, which is a bad trait in a Captain, in my opinion. Eva is also in a really weird romance that I actually found really cute. And the romance was kind of the saving grace of the book in the end.

    As I already complained, I really didn't like the start of the book. It just wasn't for me. Once Chilling Effect got down to the point, in about the last 20% of the book, I actually really, really enjoyed it. And that is the worst thing about it. Because it was really good when it stopped playing around. I loved it in the end. And now I 

    to read the next book in the series, even though I wasn't going to bother before I got to the end.

  • Michael

    I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review.

    Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes is a perfect read for those looking for an entertaining and humorous Sci-Fi read. It's not a deep book, but it just fun from start to finish. Eva was great as the protagonist. She reminded me of other pilots who love what they do, always expect the glory, but always has things go sideways before they get there.

    The story is filled with deceptions, chases, and botched jobs. You can't forget the hypnotic cats e

    I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review.

    Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes is a perfect read for those looking for an entertaining and humorous Sci-Fi read. It's not a deep book, but it just fun from start to finish. Eva was great as the protagonist. She reminded me of other pilots who love what they do, always expect the glory, but always has things go sideways before they get there.

    The story is filled with deceptions, chases, and botched jobs. You can't forget the hypnotic cats either! I spent most of this book laughing consistently. The conversations between Eva and other characters are always well paced, and feel natural in the way she nails her quips and jokes. Hitting that perfect conversational pacing is tough, and Valdes does it super well.

    There are some small issues with the book that keep it from the perfect rating. One is the fact that descriptions of some characters, specifically alien races, just aren't enough to paint a good mental image of what I should be seeing as a reader. The other will be an issue for readers who don't know Spanish. There are a lot of phrases and slang in Spanish in this book. I grew up hearing and understanding much of the slang due to visiting my dad's family at times, but for those who may be in the dark, I hope the final book includes a section at the end explaining some of these phrases to the readers.

    I recommend this book for anyone looking for a humorous, and fun Sci-Fi read. It's a book with a protagonist over 30 years old, that felt like I was reading a YA novel. I'm not complaining as a YA fan, and by the end of the book, I definitely want to read more adventures of Captain Eva in the future.

  • Rike @ RikeRandom

    Okay, there were a bunch of things I absolutely loved about this and some I really think could have been done better. But overall I very much enjoyed Chilling Effect. So, good things first:

    + The characters are great! They are super diverse and quite a few of them, including the protagonist, are in their late thirties

    + There is a lot of action but also so much humour in this!

    + While there is a central romance, it's not the focus of the story

    + A lot of the stuff going on here plays with what's rig

    Okay, there were a bunch of things I absolutely loved about this and some I really think could have been done better. But overall I very much enjoyed Chilling Effect. So, good things first:

    + The characters are great! They are super diverse and quite a few of them, including the protagonist, are in their late thirties

    + There is a lot of action but also so much humour in this!

    + While there is a central romance, it's not the focus of the story

    + A lot of the stuff going on here plays with what's right or wrong and the grey zones in between

    + The wirting was really good! There is a lot of cursing in Spanish though …

    And the bad things, which is really more like one big bad thing:

    - The lack of world building and detailed descriptions! I would have wished for a lot more background to almost every aspect of this story and I had a hard time picturing many of the aliens (especially the love interest)

  • Beth Cato

    I received an advanced copy through NetGalley.

    is a quirky space opera adventure reminiscent of Firefly, with an eclectic space crew captained by Eva. When Eva finds out her sister has been kidnapped by a nasty crime syndicate, she takes on a series of terrible jobs--all while keeping the truth secret from her crew. Of course, everything goes wrong, but does so in surprising ways. That's part of the fun of this book. It's a total screwball romp. You have no idea what's going to ha

    I received an advanced copy through NetGalley.

    is a quirky space opera adventure reminiscent of Firefly, with an eclectic space crew captained by Eva. When Eva finds out her sister has been kidnapped by a nasty crime syndicate, she takes on a series of terrible jobs--all while keeping the truth secret from her crew. Of course, everything goes wrong, but does so in surprising ways. That's part of the fun of this book. It's a total screwball romp. You have no idea what's going to happen next. There are many little video game tributes throughout that made me grin, too.

    Eva's a fun heroine. Well-meaning, edgy, and competent at her job. Her voice, with Spanish sprinkled throughout, is wonderfully authentic. I've only seen this done by one other scifi book, Amber Royer's

    , and here's hoping more such books are on the way.

    I'm betting the cover of this book alone will sell a bunch of books. It gets across the fun vibe quite well. I think about my only complaint is that I wanted more of the cats!

  • Hannah

    This is a case where I really wanted to like the book, really should have liked the book, but, unfortunately, could not. The worldbuilding is great. It's zany and a bit campy and fun all around, from psychic cats to mind-controlling parasites. Also, can you say alien romance? I loved that!!

    But the execution of the novel left something to be desired. The premise is okay but the pacing is not. I was either being whipped around at breakneck pace or making my way through entire chapters wondering w

    This is a case where I really wanted to like the book, really should have liked the book, but, unfortunately, could not. The worldbuilding is great. It's zany and a bit campy and fun all around, from psychic cats to mind-controlling parasites. Also, can you say alien romance? I loved that!!

    But the execution of the novel left something to be desired. The premise is okay but the pacing is not. I was either being whipped around at breakneck pace or making my way through entire chapters wondering what the point was. By the halfway point, I was constantly feeling like the climax should be right around the corner only. It made for a pretty jarring read.

    I did love the main character and all her flaws. But most of the side characters were hard to get a grasp of. I'm not sure I remember much at all of Pink and Min, and I cannot picture what Vakar looks like at all. It made certain scenes hard to envision.

    I think this book will work for a lot of people. There was a lot I appreciated about it, such as the complete lack of sexism, the great humor, and the inclusion of Spanish phrases and chapter titles. I really liked Eva as a main character and the world was great! The story and pacing just didn't cut it for me.

    Thank you to NetGalley & HarperCollins for the eArc to review.

  • Carmen

    I received a copy from HarperCollins Publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Captain Eva Innocente is living her best life working with a crew of friends that have become family on her spaceship as they pick up odd delivery jobs that take them all over space. Just when she thinks that a job requiring her to drop off a litter of psychic cats falls through is the worst part of her week, she finds out her sister has been abducted by a deep space criminal group that manipulates

    I received a copy from HarperCollins Publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Captain Eva Innocente is living her best life working with a crew of friends that have become family on her spaceship as they pick up odd delivery jobs that take them all over space. Just when she thinks that a job requiring her to drop off a litter of psychic cats falls through is the worst part of her week, she finds out her sister has been abducted by a deep space criminal group that manipulates people by threatening the lives of their abductees. Unable to tell a single soul that she’s now working for this criminal group, she takes her crew on a new dangerous ride so that she can save her sister.

    I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book, but then I’d be lying. While a hilarious space opera with strong family ties and psychic cats sounds fun, I spent a good portion of the book asking questions instead of enjoying the story. I think it would’ve been far more enjoyable if it had a good amount of world building early on. Instead, I was confused about the world Eva and company lived in and spent some time confusing the cast of characters for one another. It was hard to visualize this world when the scenery was constantly changing before there was enough time spent to explain where they even were. I wish that some basics were explained early on and that there was time spent on world building before the story kicked off.

    I also didn’t care for majority of the characters once I got a hold on them. Much of Eva’s crew was one dimensional and I wish that more time was spent on getting to know the core cast of characters. The only one we really get to know is Eva, who also narrates the story. Eva is extremely selfish, short tempered, and hypocritical. I didn’t really care for her, but I do love that she is willing to jump through hoops for her family even if they aren’t on talking terms.

    There are some good and funny moments, but sadly, this was a miss for me. While it’s fast paced, there isn’t enough world building to stabilize the story. I think there is some potential here, but it needs more world building, more character growth, and a slower pace.

  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    Is space opera its own mini-genre now? Because I feel like I've been seeing the term a lot more lately.

  • Peter Tillman

    "Valerie Valdes is taking aim at lovers of space adventure with the crew of La Sirena Negra, and I absolutely got sucked into the action (and humor) that makes this one of the most fun debuts we have in 2019. Did I mention there are space cats?" – comment from Executive Editor David Pomerico

    "In space, no one can hear you cagando en la mierda.

    Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The

    "Valerie Valdes is taking aim at lovers of space adventure with the crew of La Sirena Negra, and I absolutely got sucked into the action (and humor) that makes this one of the most fun debuts we have in 2019. Did I mention there are space cats?" – comment from Executive Editor David Pomerico

    "In space, no one can hear you cagando en la mierda.

    Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy agency that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva struggles through one unpleasant, dangerous mission after another to pay the ransom debt. To make things worse, she’s stuck with a hold full of psychic cats, a fish-faced emperor wants her dead for rejecting his advances, and her ship’s sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. Qué jodienda.

    Chilling Effect, humorous science fiction that parodies pop culture and video games, is complete at 115,000 words but has series potential. My fiction is published in Nightmare Magazine and She Walks in Shadows, and I am a graduate of the Viable Paradise workshop." -- the author's query letter. It worked.

  • Tucker

    Me: *SPITS OUT WATER*

    Also me: OKAY, OBVIOUSLY SOMEONE WAS DIGGING INSIDE MY HEAD. WHO WAS IT

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