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A book about cooking… in space

Locations: Columns Published

By Daniel Messer
Glenwood Branch Manager

Where to start with Cat Rambo’s latest book? Their humor misses its mark and the characters and setting were full of tropes and cliches. However, it works wonderfully. The tropes and cliches serve their purpose as shorthand, allowing us to get to the heart of the story faster and delve deeper into the grand space opera they are trying to tell. 

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And, while the idea of a space captain turned restaurateur and forced back into the captain’s chair seems absurdist at face value, Cat Rambo does a wonderful job of ensuring that the situation stays serious and the cooking is actually relevant to the plot. The humor largely stems from the juxtaposition of culinary arts, politics and trying to understand another being far removed from yourself, while still accepting them for what and who they are. Whether it be the former admiral, Niko, the sergeant-turned-chef, Dabry, Princess Atlanta, squid-like Skidoo, or the space mystic, Lassite, the cast of characters is highly engaging and interesting and goes well beyond the tropes.

While I personally think the humor missed its mark, the setting is still engaging. We are taken from a backwater space station to an organic spaceship that forms almost everything from its own tissue, then to a third destination that I can’t say without spoiling too much.

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The book starts off slow at Twicefar Station where we are introduced to the crew at Last Chance Restaurant and the story’s initial conflict: the Nikkelin Orb, equivalent to a Michelin Star and the Holy Hive Mind. Through a series of events, the crew at Last Chance end up on a BioShip called “You Sexy Thing,” destined for a prison planet. They are also joined by an heir of the Pexian Empire and a famous food critic. Things really get going when a sudden destination change brings Captain Niko on a collision course with a dangerous enemy and former flame.The cast of characters, while diverse and occasionally falling into wish fulfillment territory, still manage to intrigue. You want Captain Nico to succeed, you want You Sexy Thing to grow and want to know more about Lassite’s Spiral of Destiny and Golden Path. 

Despite its flaws “You Sexy Thing” is a great read and well worth your time. It isn’t going to win the Nobel Prize, but it might just win a prized slot on your winter reading list. As for me, I am interested in what Cat Rambo will do with this cast of characters going forward. They have teased a potential sequel and I want to know if we will see more of Captain Niko.

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“Recommended Reading” is a collaboration between The Sopris Sun and the Garfield County Public Libraries District.

Tags: #"You Sexy Thing" #Cat Rambo #Daniel Messer #Glenwood Springs Library
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