Series: Confluence #1
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Release Date: June 25, 2014
Publisher: Blue Bedlam Books
Length: 10 hours, 39 minutes
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Audible
NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it. The ship itself remained silent, drifting. Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it's an adventure she can't refuse. The ship isn't vacant, as they presumed. A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane's head, "You are home." Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien's help to survive.
I read this book, Fluency, as part of my book club reading for my local library book club. I was exciting to read this book because of the fact that it was a science fiction based book and had a lead heroine. I soon found that there were parts about the story that I really enjoyed and parts that I wished had been done differently. What I found most fascinating about Fluency was the idea that surround the book, first contact with an unknown alien species.
Or assumed alien species, as the alien spaceship that had been hovering in the same location for more than five decades but has been dormant. No one had tried to make contact from the ship and NASA had been planning a reconnaissance trip to the spacecraft, nicknamed the Target, since it was first spotted, but the timing had never right. They had to wait for their technology to advance enough to allow them to make the trip that would take almost a year to reach their destination.
The time had finally drawn near and NASA had started putting together their dream team to go on this voyage. One piece that was critical to first contact was that there would be a person on board the manned flight who may be able to decipher the language or communicate with an alien species that were possibly on board the alien vessel. Their search had lead them to Dr. Jane Holloway, a linguist who had proven that she could unlock any language including those long since considered dead. It was this skill that made the higher-ups think that if anyone had a chance to communicate with the potential aliens it would be her.
Jane was not interested in this opportunity at first, she was not brave or adventurous but as she thought about it she thought that she would be best for this job. What she never expected was to encounter an alien who could communicate with her telepathically and this experience would leave her team members feeling suspicious and uncomfortable. Jane knew things that seemed impossible that she would know but it was due to the teachings that she was receiving from the alien aboard the Target. What remained to be seen was whether or not she was being instructed or manipulated for reasons only known to the alien.
I liked and disliked Jane’s character. When she was confident and assertive her character was exactly what I wanted from a woman going into space to make first contact with an alien species. Then she would become insecure and doubtful and not communicate what was going on with her to her team members, which of course led to suspicious and concern on their part. I would have expected more from her character in that department because it seemed rather obvious that explaining what was going on would be advisable in their situation.
The dynamics between Jane and the alien was pretty cool and I liked the setting once the story settled mostly on the alien ship. That setting was very cool and I especially liked it when the alien armor came out! The supporting characters in this story were pretty weak for the most part. There was an attempt at romance and that was lukewarm for me, although I did like the love interest’s character the feelings that were supposed to be invoked fell flat. Overall though, I would say that I liked reading Fluency, just not enough to want to consider reading the sequel.