We Have Always Been Here
Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐1/2
"Misanthropic psychologist Dr. Grace Park is placed on the Deucalion, a survey ship headed to an icy planet in an unexplored galaxy. Her purpose is to observe the thirteen human crew members aboard the ship--all specialists in their own fields--as they assess the colonization potential of the planet, Eos. But frictions develop as Park befriends the androids of the ship, preferring their company over the baffling complexity of humans, while the rest of the crew treats them with suspicion and even outright hostility.
Shortly after landing, the crew finds themselves trapped on the ship by a radiation storm, with no means of communication or escape until it passes--and that's when things begin to fall apart. Park's patients are falling prey to waking nightmares of helpless, tongueless insanity. The androids are behaving strangely. There are no windows aboard the ship. Paranoia is closing in, and soon Park is forced to confront the fact that nothing--neither her crew, nor their mission, nor the mysterious Eos itself--is as it seems."
We Have Always Been Here is a standalone sci-fi horror novel by Lena Nguyen that is coming out on July 6th.
First and foremost, I would like to thank NetGalley and DAW Books for providing me with a copy for review. Please note that this in no way affects my opinions. Also, note that what I read is an ARC and the book may be subject to change before its release.
Any sci-fi that focuses on an isolated crew stuck on a ship in space is a recipe for success. Whether or not the product of that recipe is great or not is another question entirely. I think that despite the fact that the plotlines could have been tied together more effectively and it got a bit lost in all the scientific strangeness, this was an overall decent sci-fi horror. Here are all the reasons why I thought so.
This book is divided I would say into three different formats: the current storyline, video logs, and flashbacks. Out of all of those I enjoyed the video logs the best as the format worked well for a sci-fi horror novel. I think that that kind of format would have worked really well for an audiobook as well.
As for the writing itself, I thought that it was easy enough to get into even though the writing gets a lot more complex as you go on due to a large amount of scientific jargon.
As said above, the book is divided into three storylines. The current one follows Grace Park and the crew of the Deucalion on an expedition to an unknown planet. I thought that the story was more interesting initially as everything started to play out, but it lost its momentum as you reached the end. Once it concluded, I felt like the story came to a grinding halt and I was not satisfied with it. There were also elements that were included at the beginning but were only mentioned offhand in the end.
The second storyline was flashbacks of Park's past that helped establish why her character is the way that it is. While it does tie into the main storyline to an extent, I felt like the flashbacks could have been left out as I thought they didn't add too much to the story.
The final storyline came in the form of video logs of two men named Taban and Daley and an android designated as HARE. Out of the three, this storyline intrigued me the most and I wish that more of the book was dedicated towards it. The only downside to this was, as with both of the other storylines, I felt like it stopped before it was complete. Everything ramped up and then fizzled out into nothing.
With a plot like this, it is going to be farfetched considering the direction it went in, but you have to make the science believable in order to make the story not seem over the top. At first, it was successful but the more you went on the more it got a bit out of line. I felt a bit over my head with what was happening. It also didn't help that you get bombarded with explanations at the end.
I had a bit of a hard time with Parks (our main protagonist) character. She is a psychologist whose job is to get people to open up to her, but she herself has a hard time opening up herself. There were also some other personality traits that were kind of contradictory. There is also a huge aspect of her story that I was a bit wishy-washy about.
As for the other characters, I didn't mind them and thought that they were fleshed out enough for the story.
It was an intriguing plot that got a bit lost on the way with its ambitious story. The story also suffered due to plot points that didn't have a definite conclusion. Despite this though, I still think it was an okay book and it did deliver a suspenseful sci-fi. If you are looking for a book that blends together Interstellar and Alien: Isolation, try this out.