Cassandra Gupta has always wanted to go into space. With her father working at NASA, she’s been slowly working her way towards her dreams. And then comes the chance of a life time: an exclusive competition meant to find the best of the best of the worlds young adults for a space mission. And Cassandra is determined to win.
Why this book?: I heard there was an Ace MC, and the e-book was on sale. When I finally read it, it was because I wanted some science-y fiction.
Dare Mighty Things wasn’t a book I was planning on reading. I just couldn’t get into anything else, so I randomly clicked on the book on my kindle after vaguely remembering that others had mentioned the protagonist being ace. That was enough to catch my attention, in all honesty. And let me be honest: it wasn’t what I was expecting either.
I really liked how Kaczynski set up Cassandra’s character and family. With very little invested into introducing Cassandra in favor of getting into the competition faster, we really only get one scene with her and her family together. But you constantly get reminded how much Cass’s family means to her. With her being characterized as a stone cold loner, it was really interesting to see those wall’s slowly get lowered as she grew closer to new characters. Emilio was a favorite of mine, but I also loved Mitsuko and Hanna. I was indifferent to Luka for a large part of the book, but he eventually grew on me as well. In the beginning, there was a large cast of characters, and it was hard to keep them all apart for a while.
One particular scene really stuck with me. Mitsuko was trying to talk to Cass about relationships, specifically how her relationship with her husband was open, and that her husband understood that she would continue to sleep with others (I took this as Mitsuko being polyamorous, but it was never mentioned). When Mitsuko tries to get Cass to open up about her relationship, she tells Mitsuko that she’d never been interested in a relationship, and probably never would be. Mitsuko then bluntly asks if Cass thought she was asexual, and Cass does come out to Mitsuko, saying that she was asexual. Mitsuko then comes out as bisexual, and they both continue on as if nothing happened, except maybe forging a stronger friendship between them.
I honestly really liked this scene above, because it shows two different type of people: one who is very open about their sexuality, and another who is still unsure about theirs. Mitsuko opens the door for Cass, giving her the option of stepping through or staying where she was. It was a very casual, but heart-felt scene, and I loved how Kaczynski played it out.
There was one part of the book that I was really unsure about. It sort of reminded me of Kaia Sønderby’s Failure to Communicate, in which characters were genetically “enhanced” to be, in theory, perfect. Xandri, in Failure to Communicate, was one of the few who weren’t, and she was thought to be the last autistic person. Dare Might Things also has the genetic enhancements plot device. . . but there was no word of disabled or neurodiverse people any where in the book. The genetic enhancements were only recently used, and was only used regularly a few years before Cass was born. Still, the only hint of neurodiversity was Hanna’s claustrophobia, which was only later introduced. Does this mean that, with genetic enhancement, neurodiversity and disabilities are being weeded out?
Throughout the entire book, no one is really sure what the actual competition is for. When it’s finally revealed, you will be shocked. After the first shock, it just keeps coming until the very end. While I wasn’t exactly in love with the book for the longest time, that ending made me need the next book like water.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
I enjoyed this much more than I was expecting. While I’m normally not a fan of competition books, I really like how this one played out; you weren’t just focused on one character making it through. Kaczynski made the other character’s grown on you, so you didn’t want any of them to lose. So when the end finally came about, you have to admit that you were shocked, no matter what.
Would I Recommend?
Totally! It’s a science fiction book with not too much “science” in it, set in the not-so-distant future. I loved the diverse characters, as well as how Kaczynski handled most parts, and I just can’t wait to get my hands on One Giant Leap.
Published: October 10th, 2017
Page Count: 377
Genre: Science Fiction/YA
Synopsis: via Goodreads
THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.
Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.
As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.