Taboo Tech review

Review #4: Review by Jamie Michele

Review Rating:

5 Stars 

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite

Taboo Tech by Joy V. Smith is a young adult science fiction novel that revolves around a young woman named Lacie, whose parents have left her in her Uncle Sterling’s care until she turns 20. Before leaving, they celebrate her birthday and discuss their plans to search for early civilizations’ technology. Lacie is not allowed to know where they are going or what they are doing for safety reasons. Unfortunately, Sterling isn’t exactly Mr. Dependable and when he takes Lacie with him on his own expedition, they are caught up to and pursued by the Interstellar Guard (IG). Thanks to some quick AI thinking, Lacie and a companion AI named Embers transfer to a ship where she is hoping to be able to find her way home. However, she is contacted by a friend of her mother’s who gets her to a storage depot where a cache of treasures and a message from her mother are held. Lacie learns that the man is part of an academic group that needs her help, but he’s unable to reveal more until they’re all safely off the planet. Lacie is tasked with arranging a trip to cover her leaving and is picked up by the group at the spaceport. From here, the real adventure begins.

Taboo Tech by Joy V. Smith is really a coming-of-age adventure story, and as the book progresses it becomes more and more clear that Lacie is probably going to be fine in the big, bad universe. As a character, Lacie is aged eighteen but the way we see her mind and thought process operate makes her feel a lot more like a 13 – 15-year-old, and the simplicity of the book’s writing style is probably more appropriate for teen readers. My favorite part is the bonding that happens between Lacie and Embers, and Lacie has so much empathy that the line between Embers being an organic entity whose feelings she worries about and the fact that Embers is a wee robot are blurred. It’s incredibly sweet. Lacie’s series of ‘tests’ are interesting and I think Smith’s writing shines brightest when Lacie’s youth and innocence are on display. There is a particular scene where she is hosting—not at her family home because being there upsets her—and we’re told that she’d studied being a gracious hostess by reading Miss Manners and books by a certain no-last-name-necessary hostess named Martha. It takes a minute to get into Taboo Tech but it’s a real pleasure to read once you’re there, and I think others who enjoy youthful science fiction will agree.

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