The Disasters, written by M.K. England, is her debut novel about five misfits on the run through space. Unfortunately, it seems all the new books I’ve read so far in 2019 have been more disappointing than ever before, and The Disasters is no exception. I’ve heard it’s claiming to be a Guardians of the Galaxy / The Breakfast Club mix, and to a very minor extent, it is, although terribly done if so. As the author is debuting, the mistakes she made in pacing and character development are moderately forgivable so long as she takes criticism seriously and applies it to her future novels, because the idea was there yet with poor execution.
The main characters are Nax, Rion, Case, Zee, and Asra, each equally bland and undeveloped. Nax was a stereotypical “cool” kid, like Peter Quill from Guardians of the galaxy minus the complex reasons for his behaviors. He had a whole woe-is-me act going on throughout the whole book, which can be relatable in small doses, but not as a whole character trait. Rion was a strange character from the beginning. He came across very closed off and rude, which was fine considering he was being kicked out of the Ellis Space Academy when we first met him. From the beginning it appeared he was going to have some sort of feud with Nax, but the moment a life-threatening situation occurred, Rion began joking and flirting with Nax, rushing a relationship that should have taken longer to develop due to their stranger’s status. Case, Zee, and Asra were expedient characters that seemed only to be there to use their convenient skills to get the characters from one place to another without much struggle. They weren’t particularly developed any more than our main character, Nax.
The romance in this book was rather infuriating, as a hater of badly writer love triangles. A few good books featuring love triangles that worked are Throne of Glass, Clockwork Angel, and Shatter Me. There was a love triangle between Nax, Rion, and Case, that really took up more plot and mental attention for Nax than it should have, considering the government was out to get them at every place they went. He would touch Case or Rion while the other one was watching, leaving both wondering if Nax liked them while being totally fine with it. Case ended up being used purely to cause some “drama” between the relationship Rion and Nax ended up having, despite hardly knowing each other.
One strange thing I noticed was the obsessive amount of touching Nax did in this book. He had just met all these people and from the get-go, he would grab their hands and shoulders. Almost every description of what the characters were doing involved shoulders brushing in some form, which quickly became weird to read and took me out of the story.
One good thing was the dream sequences, I can’t name many dreams I’ve read in books that have actually been interesting and I felt related to the plot directly, so I applaud the author for them.
The diversity in this book was probably the most I’ve encountered in any YA book I’ve read that comes to mind. It’s a shame that the rest of the book wasn’t developed enough to make it particularly impactful for minorities. The book lacked world building, which for a book centered around wild space adventures, is a complete shame. The one world that was somewhat developed was so much like earth all I could picture was a regular earthen city, which I felt was lazy writing. If you want an Earth-like city on a different planet, at least develop the land outside the city and make the characters venture through it to leave a lasting impact.
This book could have used a lot more revision. With a few hundred more pages, the characters could have been developed more and the plot would have more time to move while making sense, which was a huge problem I had, it moved so fast I can’t recall exactly why the ending happened as it did. I wouldn’t recommend this book unless you want a quick semi-enjoyable read.
I would give The Disasters 2/10 dragons.