Tracers by Rob Boffard

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July 25, 2017 by femvestige

The book Tracers by Rob Boffard is a dystopian science fiction novel that takes place on a space station called Outer Earth. When the planet Earth started to become inhabitable due to pollution and nuclear war, the people decided to build a space station so complex, that it would hold over one million people over 100 years and people would still live. On the space station, they would have gardens, technology advancement, and the ability to build ships to revisit Earth and repopulate the planet.

The story begins over 100 years after the construction of Outer Earth. The planet Earth has been radio silent for years, and the population on Outer Earth has reached a significant breaking point; there are people who preach voluntary ending of their world and others in the political sphere who limit the number of children per each family being born. After many years in space, many technological aspects of the station no longer work. The station is broken into 5 sectors and the only way to communicate with people within and beyond each sector is to send messages via Tracers. Tracers are like traditional mail couriers but significantly more badass; they are extremely fast, are trained in combat, and carry messages and/or cargo to the intended people. They are paid in trade-able goods which are much more valuable then money – batteries, power bars, cloth, vegetables, etc. Riley Hale, a Tracer part of the Fire Dancer crew, is one of the fastest Tracers out there, and the story centers around her and her crew, Oren, a leader of many gang members with enough power to get any person he wants killed, Prakesh, a scientist, friend, and sexual tension pawn, and the political powers of the ship.


Riley has to go through and experience physical pain, learn about conspiracies and drastic solutions to issues regarding both the planet Earth and the station, learn who to trust, and experience betrayal from those she loves most.

Things I like: This book has a lot of really great character development. It moves quickly even though it is a relatively long book and the premise of the story is fascinating. A civilization in space because Earth is inhabitable – this begs the question of how long can this station stay in space? How long until the repairs are irreparable unless they settle on the radioactive planet?

This leads to things I question: There seems to be a replenishing source of water from man made clouds in the garden sector – is this believable? Not for me. They have food, trees, insects, and an unending supply of oxygen – again – this is not believable for me. There is an lot of pages dedicated to the science behind the workings of the station, but not enough information specifically about the ability to maintain the source of life sustenance for me to find the story believable. Anytime something was mentioned in relation to food, water, or a breaking down part of the ship – I was immediately distracted from the story and started questioning the plausibility that this ship could even exist.

Things I disliked:

Besides the science of the space station, there were too many characters that were untrustworthy – a fake-out of the villain so to say. The most redeeming character that I actually cared about was Prakesh. He salvaged the whole thing, and he made Riley likable. The twins were also fascinating characters, and it is sad that they were really only a small part of this book.

Overall this book will give you thrill and suspense – it will keep you on the edge of your seat and you will finish the book with a ‘that’s it?’ response. It turns out this book is part of a trilogy which made it easier to get over that feeling, but I do not feel any urge to run out and start reading the next segment.

Rating out of 5: ✮✮✮
 Science Fiction
Type: Audiobook
Dates Read: 6/5/17 – 6/15/17
Character Development: A-
Best Feature: Fast paced, great character development
Worst Feature: Distracting primary plot device

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