Mickey7 by Edward Ashton
Midgard is the Earth in Norse mythology, in case you were wondering. That is where Mickey is from. He needs to get off that planet. He has no useful skills, so he signs on as an Expendable on a colony ship going to Niflheim — in Norse mythology the cold, dark, misty world of the dead, ruled by the goddess Hel. So, potentially a nasty ice planet with a mysterious underworld.
And what are Expendables, you ask? He gets to do all the dangerous and deadly jobs on the ship and later the colony. And if he dies, the others wake up his next incarnation. We start of with Mickey7. He does not die in the first chapter, but the others think so. And by the time he rescues himself with some help of an indigenous lifeform and gets back to base, Mickey8 has been woken up. Ops, not good. Because when the others find out, they both will most likely be offed. The expedition‘s leader hates Mickey‘s guts. What to do now? And what‘s going on with those lifeforms?
From the blurb I expected an action-filled novel, exploring the ecosystem and the sentient lifeforms on Niflheim. The beginning reminded me a little of Andy Weir in tone and my mind was heading in the direction of Project Hail Mary, just set on a planet.
However, that was not really the novel I got. There were suspenseful parts and action — Mickey7 had died six times previously (hence 7!) and some of those deaths are lived through quite graphically. There was an unexpected amount of Mickey‘s and the Union’s past, aka other colonies and why the failed. And very little character development for Mickey8. Somewhere around the middle of the book I started to wonder about uneven pacing and lack of meaningful plot progression. It did all come together quite nicely in the end, but I am not a total fan.
Would I recommend this to a friend? Yes.
Would I read the next book by the author? Most likely.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher or author through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.