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Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes #BookReview

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down. 

Chilling Effect Book Cover - showing an astronaut tumbling in space with bunches of cats wearing helmets sitting on or in boxes.

Title: Chilling Effect | Series: Chilling Effect #1 | Author: Valerie Valdes | Publisher: Harper Voyager | Pub. Date: 2019-Sept-17 | Pages: 448 | ISBN13: 9780062877239 | Language: English (some Spanish) | Source: Self-purchased | Starred Review

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Chilling Effect Review

Imagine my surprise when I’m browsing the science fiction section of the local Barnes & Noble and on the spine of one of the books, I see a non-Caucasian looking last name partnered with a female first name. Obviously, I had to pull it off the shelves and have a look at it. Where, to my great delight, I discovered that it had asshole cats in boxes that were apparently psychic and that the MC had run out of coffee.

Still, I am a distrustful wench, so I opened it up and read the first couple of pages. After that, I promptly marched up to the counter, bought the book, a coffee, and sat down to read.

Y’all, I cackled. Cackled several times. Valerie Valdes has a fantastic way with words that absolutely thrilled me. She’s also a master storyteller that gave me fantastic characters I was rooting for immediately that had Firefly-esque interactions with each other, and a cross-species relationship potential that I was definitely a little surprised to find myself getting behind.

It’s been a while since I read it, but there was one scene where I remember thinking “I don’t wanna know why the Captain is bending over right now.”

This was a beautiful read all across the board. She does a great job with world-building. She doesn’t bash you over the head with it, no huge walls of text, but you get the future setting, the seediness, the alien-strangeness of it all. Legit can’t think of a single thing I’d change about it. If you’re looking for something with lots of action, snappy dialogue, and scenes that will make you giggle, you need to check out Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inScience Fiction Book ReviewsStarred Reviews


  1. Hey! My first ‘add to TBR’ of 2020. Thanks, Lilyn!

  2. Olga Nunez Miret

    It sounds great! Thanks, Lilyn!

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