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 sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

Chilling Effect Details

TitleChilling Effect
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 17th, 2019
PublisherHarper Voyager
ISBN-139780062877239
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Young Adult

Chilling Effect Review

  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    Is space opera its own mini-genre now? Because I feel like I've been seeing the term a lot more lately.
  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! This is actually 3.5 stars, but I rounded up because I loved the premise and I REALLY loved the heroine. Captain Eva Innocente 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 ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! This is actually 3.5 stars, but I rounded up because I loved the premise and I REALLY loved the heroine. Captain Eva Innocente 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:➽ Eva, 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. ➽ Pink (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. ➽ Min 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.➽ Leroy 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. ➽ Vakar 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 Mari 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. What I liked: ✔️ This was diverse AS F*CK. 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). ✔️ Zero sexism. Males, females, and nonbinary people were all captains or mercenaries or planet rulers or hunters. ✔️ Funny in unexpected places. It wasn't laugh-out-loud, but there was a gentle Douglas-Adams-style humour underlying the whole book. ✔️ It was well-written and engaging. The quick pace got me hooked straightaway. A Note on Classification 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. I won't lie, I was disappointed . 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: What I didn't like: ❌ Vakar was described very poorly. 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 nonstop action got a bit exhausting 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 backstory is never explained. 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 astoundingly little science. 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. Overall It was a good debut and I liked many of its elements, but I'm hopeful that the sequel (which I will be keeping an eye out for) will expand on some of the issues I mentioned. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]
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  • Carmen
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Peter Tillman
    January 1, 1970
    "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. http://candleinsunshine.com/musings/m...
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • keikii Eats Books
    January 1, 1970
    Chilling Effect is an amusing space opera that once it starts, it doesn't stop. Lots of quirky adventures and disastrous ideas.Though, a bit of a warning, there is a lot of Spanish throughout the book. I spent a lot of times looking things up. Longer review to come closer to release. Until then, check out more full reviews on keikii eats books.I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Megan E. O'Keefe, Orbit, and Netgalley for providing the opportunity to Chilling Effect is an amusing space opera that once it starts, it doesn't stop. Lots of quirky adventures and disastrous ideas.Though, a bit of a warning, there is a lot of Spanish throughout the book. I spent a lot of times looking things up. Longer review to come closer to release. Until then, check out more full reviews on keikii eats books.I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Megan E. O'Keefe, Orbit, and Netgalley for providing the opportunity to review this copy!
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  • Angie Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Edelweiss and Harper Voyager for the ARC of "Chilling Effect." Review is forthcoming.
  • Helen Wawrejko
    January 1, 1970
    Pros Great premise, lots of action, likeable characters.Cons The use of Spanish in dialog, chapter headings etc. No explanation what was said for us non spanish speaking people. I HATED it. Took me right out of the story. I like to be able to know what I'm reading. The horrible t-rex part of the story. I almost stopped right there, seriously, so so bad. The cats. Not really integral to the story. 18 cats and after a year on the ship, there would have been a couple hundred more after a year. Not Pros Great premise, lots of action, likeable characters.Cons The use of Spanish in dialog, chapter headings etc. No explanation what was said for us non spanish speaking people. I HATED it. Took me right out of the story. I like to be able to know what I'm reading. The horrible t-rex part of the story. I almost stopped right there, seriously, so so bad. The cats. Not really integral to the story. 18 cats and after a year on the ship, there would have been a couple hundred more after a year. Not much scientific for a space novel. Wishy washy ending. Her father just caves. What happened to her finding her other crew? This was not the book described in the synopsis. Not at all fun and adventurous, video games, pop culture references. Vague at best, just like the fun cats. Not recommended. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book for Netgalley.
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  • Sandra Berryman
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to describe this book. I found myself skipping parts as I really couldn't relate to these characters. With little background to their world or to the characters, I found myself not really caring about what happened. The titles of the chapters in Spanish is great if you speak Spanish, but as I don't having an English translation underneath would have helped. Overall, not a book I would recommend. I received an e-book Uncorrected Digital Copy from in in return for an unbiased review.
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