The Rogue (Planets Shaken #1) by Lee W. Brainard | The Mishmash of events, people and ideas!

What would you do if you found out that an enormous comet was heading directly towards one of our neighbor-planets, which automatically puts in risk Earth and humankind?

What would you do if you knew that this is not some distant future and you only had a couple more years before the impact that could possibly change everything?  

Combining astronomy discoveries, scientific language and governmental conspiracy, «The Rogue» presents a dystopian world with backdrop of nowadays United States of America, where FBI and Homeland Security are portrayed more like men in black (and I am referring to their attire and not to the famous movie starring Will Smith), and remind a lot KGB in the Soviet Union.

goodreads blurb:

When rookie astronomer Irina Kirilenko discovers a planet-size comet in the Kuiper Belt on a collision course for Mars, she first faces stonewalling from the Minor Planet Center, then coercion and stricture from NASA. They press her to embrace an ingenious reinterpretation of her discovery and ban her from talking about it. 

It slowly dawns on her that the government is fostering a massive conspiracy to keep the public oblivious to the truth—Earth is facing an existential threat. Unwilling to be silenced, she recruits fellow astronomer Ariele Serrafe to evaluate her discovery, placing both in the crosshairs of government agents. 

Set in a dystopian vision of the near future, The Rogue, the first volume of the Planets Shaken series, weaves the threads of biblical prophecy, ancient history, government conspiracy, and electric universe theory into a thought-provoking, tensely plotted thriller—one that asks us to reconsider the nature of the universe and the destiny of the world.


Thank you BooksGoSocial and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.

Characters’ personalities are one of the most exciting features to unravel. We often see them through the description given by the narrator or by other characters.  But the most intriguing way is through their acts, dialogues, and relationships that they build with side characters.

Lee W. Brainard only gave us a narrator-based description, that I found slightly exaggerated and over the top. And this, for me, was one of the main flaws.

Irina Kirilenko, the rookie astronomer, and Ariele Serrafe, two scientists and fellow college students, who play a great role in the discovery of the Rogue comet, both came across as spoiled, vain and uninteresting characters.

Irina is a privileged young woman, who just finished her Doctorate, who apparently loves cowboys, as she kept daydreaming about one, and looks “like a model”. We were told from the very beginning how different the two girls were. While Irina loved classical music, Ariele was on a more rebel side; Irina was very religious, Ariele stirred away from religion; Irina was portrayed as this classy, I even want to say bohemian, woman, Ariele on the other hand was a hippie, obsessed over “good” coffee. And they kept referring to themselves as a silly girl and having this completely out of place inner thoughts, like: “hope my parents don’t think that I’ve become a terrorist. They were worried about me when I left the Orthodox church and joined Evangelical church.” or “deal with it chick…”

They seemed empty. They seemed spoiled and completely unrelatable.

Lee W. Brainard did a great job with making the book feel very scientific, due to the scientific terms, historical references and presentation of different theories. Sadly, this wasn’t applied to the characters to make them more versatile, more interesting and lovable.

Another predominant characteristic that stood out for me was the mishmash of various events. There were pages and pages about the Ukrainian civil war and Russia’s involvement, the tension in Libya, Iran, and Iraq. While these are all interesting and current subjects, the idea of the whole plot was behind this ginormous comet that is approaching Mars, and these news-like reports didn’t add anything to the plot, just made me skip pages and pages of the book to get to the actual events.

When we are reading about the end of the world, I would love to have a group of people I do want to survive, instead of feeling rather indifferent towards their feelings, worries, and lives.

And finally, religion and biblical prophecies were a big part of the whole “end of the world” idea, which on one hand I enjoyed the correlation established between the actual events and different Bible references, but on the other hand it, once again, was very exaggerated. Suddenly people were turning towards religion, we were reminded numerous times how religious this or that character was, but nothing was shown to let it happen naturally, to actually show us the path instead of giving facts.

My rating:

«The Rogue», with the promising blurb and intriguing plot, unfortunately, did not live up to my expectations, mainly because of poor character introduction and development and various sidetracks from the main storyline.

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