Book Review: The Other Side of Gravity (Oxygen Book 1) by Shelly Crane

After ten years of slavery, Sophelia finally escapes, but being on the run isn't easy when your planet has no gravity and no oxygen, and you have barely anything to your name in order to buy it with. But then Sophelia runs into Maxton, a black market trader, and he ends up on the run with her. With a high reward on Sophelia's head and both of them considered convicts, the two of them make their way across the planet and try to figure out their feelings for each other along the way.

Title: The Other Side of Gravity
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 262
My Rating: 1.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

To put it simply, this book might be for some people, but it just really wasn’t for me.

See, the blurb alludes to all these dark things—slavery, black markets, human trafficking, poverty, a dystopian society—and, of course, romance. So I thought it was going to be a nice semi-dark, gritty, sci-fi romance.

Unfortunately, there was nothing gritty about it.

All the heavy issues I mentioned above were glossed over, and the story was just a light and fluffy romance with lots of swoony inner monologues and speeches and lots of angst that honestly didn’t feel very genuine or real to me because, again, all the heavy stuff was kind of nowhere to be found. It was mentioned a lot, but it was just there as backstory, and I never actually felt any emotion from it. Even when Sophelia was given seven lashes with a belt in the beginning, I could’ve been reading about someone eating dinner for all that I felt.

And kind of going along with the light romance thing, both characters were too perfectly imperfect for my taste, the kind that have “flaws” but not real flaws. Sophelia also wasn’t as tough as I would have expected after going through the hardships she apparently went through.

Then there was the ending. And by ending, I mean the story cut off suddenly with no resolution to anything at all. And that is pretty much the one thing almost guaranteed to make me angry about a book. I don’t even mind cliffhangers as long as, before the cliffhanger, there’s a climax and some sort of wrap up to the goal/questions raised in that individual book. But this had no resolution, and, to tell you the truth, I’m actually not even sure what the goal was.

There were also a few minor things, the kind that don’t ruin a story and you overlook if you love the book but that irk you if you don’t:

– I lost count of how many time Maxton used his fingers to lift Sophelia’s chin and make her look at him. It didn’t come across as sweet to me. It came across as him manhandling her.
– The prologue was entirely unnecessary and turned me off right away. It was just a scene from later in the book copied and pasted into the beginning.
– I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to like Sophelia’s mother or not because I actually agreed with the militia man. If she loved Sophelia so much, why would she purposely do something unnecessary when she knew it would cause her daughter to end up becoming an orphan and made into a slave? Maybe there’s more to the story, but, as I said, the book cut off before anything was explained.

But, though the writing could use bit of tightening up, it seemed about on par with the other fluffy romances I’ve read. So if you like swoony [clean] romance with perfectly imperfect characters and don’t like graphic, dark stuff that will bring you down, you might like it. But if you’re looking for something gritty with truly flawed characters, this won’t be for you.


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  1. Greg

    Too bad this one didn’t live up to the cover. 🙂 The blurb does seem to suggest a grittier read, I agree. Although the last line made me smile- “I can’t breathe without her.” Um, okaay lol. A little heavyhanded or maybe i don’t read enough romance lol. I don’t really get the trend either towards books with iffy endings- I get that it’s a series but resolve something, at least.

    Editors matter- a good editor might have caught the tipping her chin thing and advised maybe changing it up. Hopefully this will find the right audience but yeah I would have thought it’d be darker too.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it didn’t live up to the blurb or the cover for me. And yeah, I mean, I do like having romance in my novels, but the “I can’t breathe without her” is too much for me. Maybe I should’ve known how this book would be from that line, but the rest of the blurb just suggested so much grittiness! I really can’t stand endings like that though. It feels like I read half a book.

      You’re right, an editor probably would’ve noticed that since it really kept being repeated so much. But apparently lots of people like the books, so to each his own. Fixing the blurb would probably keep people like me, people who want something grittier and less romance-y, from reading it though.

  2. Lola

    I don’t mind reading romances, but I do like to know in advance what to expect. And when the blurb hints to gritty and dark sci-fi and you get romance, that’s quite the difference. Usually when you get a very different book than you were expected it isn’t a good thing. I don’t mind cliffhangers, but when the book just ends it’s frustrating.
    That prologue thing happens sometimes in romances, they show a scene from later in the book at the front, although it’s never called a prologue. I always just skip it, I’ll read the scene when I come to it in the book. I also read an Urban Fantasy book that started with a prologue which was very confusing and I didn’t understand it and then later it turned out to be a scene form the end. I don’t like those types of prologues.
    I am sorry this book wasn’t for you. I hope your next read is better!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I know that some readers do like light, romance-y books. I’m just not one of them, and the blurb was misleading. And I also don’t mind if the book is resolved but then *gasp* some crazy thing is revealed right before the book ends. But this was one of those that made me feel like I read half a book.

      The thing about prologues is, I never skip them. I always assume that they’re put there for a reason. Unfortunately some authors kind of abuse prologues and give them a bad rap. I couldn’t be sure it was a later scene when I first read it, so I powered through it even though I was confused and already turned off by the swoony, angsty-ness. Thanks, I guess we can’t like every book we read!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, the blurb is definitely a problem. It’s attracting the wrong people which doesn’t help the readers or the author. But UGH yes, I hate those types of ending. I don’t mind if there’s a resolution and then there’s some sudden reveal of information or something right at the end, but don’t give me half a book.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It does have a pretty cover, but unfortunately that cover let me down lol. If it’s been on your TBR though, you might still like it, depending on your taste.

  3. sjhigbee

    A great review, Kristen – because I would have definitely gone looking for this one based on the blurb and the cover. And no… light romances where we know who will end up with who and it’s all banter and batting eyes at each other is liable to make me hurl the book across the room when I’m expecting an adventure about two runaways on a planet that is innately hostile to survival! A shame – this could have been awesome.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you. I felt like I needed to warn people who were under the same impression as I was about the blurb because we are so not the right people for this book. And I guess none of the reviews I read gave me that warning or I would have decided not to read it. I agree, it had so much potential for a nice dark and gritty story!

  4. Bookworm Brandee

    I haven’t read anything from Crane and I’ll be sure to skip this one. I get a little hot under the collar when a book doesn’t deliver on its blurb, honestly. And you’re right, this one sounds as though it’d be gritty and a little dark. I completely understand your disappointment there. And then the characters. Is there a name for the opposite of a Mary Sue? Perfectly imperfect…hmm…what sort of growth are these two to do if they aren’t really facing any of the grit or darkness? Well, I can feel my blood pressure rising on your behalf so I’ll stop here. I’m sorry this was a stinker but I appreciate you screening it for me. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, the blurb really needs a redo since I’m clearly not the only person misled by it. And not only is that not helping readers, it’s not helping the author either because the wrong people are reading the book. The characters weren’t the opposite of Mary Sues though, they basically were Mary Sues. Like, the guy worked by illegally selling stuff or whatever… but he only did it to keep his family safe. Those were the kinds of “flaws” they had. But I like me some real flaws in characters. So yeah, not for us darker folks lol.

  5. Daniela Ark

    oh I see now what you commented on my blog about this book! I think I requested it because of the human trafficking too. Funny I got an email yesterday from them reminding me I have to give feedback! 🙂 I don’t think it is going to be too high in the priority list now people!!! if my girl Kristen didn’t like it’s is VERY likely I won’t either 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes this was the one I was talking about! Since you also like dark, gritty books, I just don’t see you liking this. The author should really change the blurb because it’s not doing her any favors to get the wrong people reading the book.