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Toxic

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Hana isn't supposed to exist. She's grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simple gone - along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she's certain her mother wouldn't leave her there to die. And Hana isn't ready to die yet. She's never really had a chance to live. Fenn is supposed to die. He and Hana isn't supposed to exist. She's grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simple gone - along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she's certain her mother wouldn't leave her there to die. And Hana isn't ready to die yet. She's never really had a chance to live. Fenn is supposed to die. He and a crew of hired mercenaries are there to monitor Cyclo as she expires, and the payment for the suicide mission will mean Fenn's sister is able to live. But when he meets Hana, he's not sure how to save them both. As Cyclo grows sicker by the day, they unearth more secrets about the ship and the crew. But the more time they spend together, the more Hana and Fenn realize that falling for each other is what could ultimately kill them both.


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Hana isn't supposed to exist. She's grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simple gone - along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she's certain her mother wouldn't leave her there to die. And Hana isn't ready to die yet. She's never really had a chance to live. Fenn is supposed to die. He and Hana isn't supposed to exist. She's grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simple gone - along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she's certain her mother wouldn't leave her there to die. And Hana isn't ready to die yet. She's never really had a chance to live. Fenn is supposed to die. He and a crew of hired mercenaries are there to monitor Cyclo as she expires, and the payment for the suicide mission will mean Fenn's sister is able to live. But when he meets Hana, he's not sure how to save them both. As Cyclo grows sicker by the day, they unearth more secrets about the ship and the crew. But the more time they spend together, the more Hana and Fenn realize that falling for each other is what could ultimately kill them both.

30 review for Toxic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Toxic by Lydia Kang is a young adult standalone romantic science fiction fantasy read that has maybe just a touch of horror to it too. When finished with this one it was one of those wow, I didn’t expect THAT moments, but in a good way of course. Seventeen year old Hana awakens aboard the sentient ship, Cyclo, wondering what happened to her mother. You see Hana has been hidden from the rest of the crew aboard Cyclo her whole life and after a week her mother has not checked in on her. Cyclo inform Toxic by Lydia Kang is a young adult standalone romantic science fiction fantasy read that has maybe just a touch of horror to it too. When finished with this one it was one of those wow, I didn’t expect THAT moments, but in a good way of course. Seventeen year old Hana awakens aboard the sentient ship, Cyclo, wondering what happened to her mother. You see Hana has been hidden from the rest of the crew aboard Cyclo her whole life and after a week her mother has not checked in on her. Cyclo informs Hana that the crew and her mother have gone packing up and evacuating the ship. Fenn has always been a bit of a trouble maker and a huge disappointment to his family. With his sister in desperate need Fenn decided instead of stealing and getting caught again he would earn money and make his family proud by volunteering for a job studying a dying biological ship. The trip for Fenn is one way as he and his crew will not be able to leave Cyclo after it dies but the death benefits to his family would be worth it but the crew never expected to arrive and find a human girl alive on the ship. Obviously by my rating on this one I completely enjoyed this and found it extremely creative and one intense read. However, I would warn readers that this one is a case of the old insta-love if that were to bother them, along with hints at sexual activity. For myself though I thought the romance was one that I could forgive for being rushed in the situation and the action more than made up for any hesitation I’d had on it. To me the characters were all well developed and the world building quite elaborate but done at a fast enough pace the story never stopped. When finished I’d definitely recommend checking this one out. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    A fast-paced action-packed, romantic, sci-fi adventure that grabs hold of you and does not let go. Characters: Hana Fenn Cyclo Portia Gammand Miki Fenn & Hanna Their relationship moved pretty quick, but considering they're in a life or death situation I suppose that's to be expected. And honestly, despite that, I genuinely adored them. I received an ARC copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thank you to Entangled Teen Publishing! *Review to Come*

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bex (Beckie Bookworm)

    I found Toxic to be a really unique experience: a mish-mash of multiple genres that when put together for me just flowed. I would describe this if I had to clarify as a Romantic sci-fi YA with elements of horror. Set in space on an organic ship it was the original premise put forward here that initially intrigued and drew me in. A young girl that shouldn't exist: hidden for years in plain sight aboard a living ship: then later abandoned by her caretaker with only her closest companion Cyclo, left a I found Toxic to be a really unique experience: a mish-mash of multiple genres that when put together for me just flowed. I would describe this if I had to clarify as a Romantic sci-fi YA with elements of horror. Set in space on an organic ship it was the original premise put forward here that initially intrigued and drew me in. A young girl that shouldn't exist: hidden for years in plain sight aboard a living ship: then later abandoned by her caretaker with only her closest companion Cyclo, left assessable for her needs. Follow this with a suicide voyage of mercenaries sent to harvest data from the dying ship and what we have is a really ingenious and imaginative undertaking. I actually really adored all the technical Jargon used here I think it added an almost authentic feel to the whole endeavour. This for me has more of a Sci-Fi action vibe than an overly romantic one and it is in my opinion still age appropriate despite the intimate references of actions between Hana and Fennec. These references are more about referral and don't go into any great detail. I also felt Toxic stuck a good balance between the romance and action and it was certainly fast-paced managing to easily keep me on my toes. While not overly complicated as a story this didn't really need to be and despite being somewhat predictable in places this didn't take away from my overall enjoyment here. There was still plenty of curveballs to keep this interesting reading: a great experience. This is a story that I am happy to recommend and one I really did enjoy. I voluntary reviewed an Arc of Toxic. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm https://www.facebook.com/beckiebookworm/ www.beckiebookworm.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    D.M.

    Toxic reminds me of a cross between The 100 and Passengers. It's a survival story which belongs in the horror genre. It's also a romance read. It's fast-paced and written well. I'm not really a fan of horror and that's probably why I didn't like this more. For the right reader, you will love this, I'm just not that girl. Hana is a secret. Her mother and the ship have kept her a secret for seventeen years. She lives in her mother's shop quarters and Cyclo (the ship's intelligence) attends to her Toxic reminds me of a cross between The 100 and Passengers. It's a survival story which belongs in the horror genre. It's also a romance read. It's fast-paced and written well. I'm not really a fan of horror and that's probably why I didn't like this more. For the right reader, you will love this, I'm just not that girl. Hana is a secret. Her mother and the ship have kept her a secret for seventeen years. She lives in her mother's shop quarters and Cyclo (the ship's intelligence) attends to her needs. One day out of the blue her mother doesn't return home. Hana has never left her mother's ship quarters but eventually realises something isn't right. When Hana enters the main ship area she realises there is a lack of people. In fact, the whole crew are missing including her mother. Fennec is part of a small data collecting crew. He is sent to retrieve the ship's log to find out what's gone wrong. His mission is an end of life situation. The ship is unstable and Fennecs reward is for his family if he succeeds. Cyclo is dying. The crew have abandoned her. The days are numbered. Cyclo cares for Hana but she also has dark secrets, the deadly kind. Hana and Fennec need to work out what's going wrong before it's too late. Fennec has been instructed to only collect data but Hana wants to know what's happened. There are a few twists to this story and it has a happy ever after for the two main characters. 3 stars out of 5. It's written well but not really for me. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight I have read a few books about sentient spaceships, and my favorite thing about this is that it seemed like a fresh take on sentient ships. Our girl Hana wakes up to find that she's all alone. Her mom, and everyone else on the ship she lived on, are gone. Only, Hana has never been out of her family's quarters before, because oopsie, she's a secret.  Enter Fenn and his crew, who have taken You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight I have read a few books about sentient spaceships, and my favorite thing about this is that it seemed like a fresh take on sentient ships. Our girl Hana wakes up to find that she's all alone. Her mom, and everyone else on the ship she lived on, are gone. Only, Hana has never been out of her family's quarters before, because oopsie, she's a secret.  Enter Fenn and his crew, who have taken this one-way trip to Cyclo ship to find out why it is dying. Their mission is to collect all the data they can, and literally go down with the ship. In return, their families might get some money (but probably not because clearly this mission is not on the up-and-up). My one qualm with the book is that Hana acclimates to other people a little more quickly than I'd have thought. I expected a bit more awkwardness, a bit more... social inappropriateness, I suppose. But instead, she finds love in a hopeless place (sing it with me!) and at first I was skeptical because it is a little insta-lovey? But I guess it makes sense. She's never seen a human dude before, and he thinks he's about to die so... why not, right?  It gets pretty intense as the crew races against time and a dying ship to try to save themselves. But then stuff goes.... off the rails. And that is about all I can say about that. It's definitely high stakes, I really never felt like either main character was safe- and certainly no one else was. There are lots of secrets to uncover, and mysteries to solve, and I was absolutely invested in both the characters and the story itself.  Bottom Line: Quite an enjoyable ride with sympathetic characters and a really unique sentient ship story. Definitely recommend! 

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    4 stars One of the most notable things about Toxic was how readable and gripping it was. I started it (unwisely) on a school night, hoping to read a few chapters before setting it down and going to bed, but I ended up binging the majority of this book very late at night when I definitely should have been sleeping. I was just hooked, for a lack of a better word. Not only was I absorbed in the entire concept (sentient, live spaceships), but the book was just paced really well and grabbed me from the 4 stars One of the most notable things about Toxic was how readable and gripping it was. I started it (unwisely) on a school night, hoping to read a few chapters before setting it down and going to bed, but I ended up binging the majority of this book very late at night when I definitely should have been sleeping. I was just hooked, for a lack of a better word. Not only was I absorbed in the entire concept (sentient, live spaceships), but the book was just paced really well and grabbed me from the start. I mean, you begin the book in the middle of a shocking revelation for the main character, and this just kind of builds throughout the entire novel. The whole premise is so interesting--sentient spaceships that are dying and releasing toxic fumes plus a girl who is the only person left on that ship and a whole crew full of people going into research this live-ship and also die while they complete their work. It was just really interesting and novel and unique, and that's a big part of what I loved about Toxic. Plus, back to how it was gripping, there's sort of a murder mystery element to this novel with figuring out who is behind the mysterious deaths of the crew member, and this definitely was another reason behind why I was so hooked on this book. It was just so cool--with the life-threatening situations and the girl raised by her "mother" and the sentient ship. Plus, I love the way Kang explored heritage in a science-fiction setting with Hana and some of the artifacts and traditions her "mother" gave her. I do think it's good to note that the main character feels more lower-YA (15/16) than what's now becoming upper YA (17-19), and I actually really appreciate having more lower YA main characters, because for me that was a transition time that was really hard, and finding books that were a good in between of MG and YA was hard for me as a teen. (Yay for more accurate teen representation on a whole spectrum!) But, the reason why this was a 4 and not a 5 for me, despite me enjoying this novel so much, was because the romance felt really unnecessary. I mean, first off, I'm not a huge fan of reading naïve, youngish characters fall in love. This can be uncomfortable for me, especially when they feel young (15/16) and the love interest feels older (17/18), because these sorts of relationships feel more prone to being unhealthy & manipulative & full of delusion. And even more than that, I feel like it just took away from some of the better aspects and unique parts of this book and made it cliché. I didn't really believe in the romance (it felt more like falling-in-love-with-your-savior) and I think it actually took away from the book, which I why my rating dropped so much. Overall, I really enjoyed reading Toxic and would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a gripping science-fiction read! Thank you so much to Netgalley and Entangled Teen for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review! Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  7. 5 out of 5

    The Bookavid

    In TOXIC, an artificially created girl gets abandoned on a sentient spaceship and falls for the mercenary who has to make sure it gets destroyed if he wants to save his sister. So, I'm in love. TOXIC is exactly the kind of light sci-fi I love and cherish. A little bit of aliens, minimal complicated space stuff, a lot of creativity, and a cute little love story that will have you longing for more. I was particularly impressed with all the worldbuilding in there. Fennec, the mercenary, comes with a In TOXIC, an artificially created girl gets abandoned on a sentient spaceship and falls for the mercenary who has to make sure it gets destroyed if he wants to save his sister. So, I'm in love. TOXIC is exactly the kind of light sci-fi I love and cherish. A little bit of aliens, minimal complicated space stuff, a lot of creativity, and a cute little love story that will have you longing for more. I was particularly impressed with all the worldbuilding in there. Fennec, the mercenary, comes with a crew of a couple aliens who each have interesting backstories and kind of made me want to read spin offs or little shorts about their past (please?). Each character is so fleshed out that you'll find yourself getting very attached within a short span of time -- which is unfortunate, because the whole plot revolves around that mercenary crew having to escape whatever is trying to kill them on the ship. Hana, the AI girl, has a very special connection to Cyclo, the ship, which basically raised her. She's Korean and grew up in diaspora, which adds a lot of complicated feeling about her heritage and who she is. It's very obvious that this is #ownvoices -- Kang masterfully put those diaspora feelings and little nods to Hana's heritage into words. In a way, Cyclo is her parent, and their relationship is so heartwarming to read about. Cyclo is my favorite character, I think. Kang does something completely new with the spaceship design here that I've never seen before and if you're a science geek and/or super into biology? You'll love this. TOXIC is my favorite sci-fi of the year and I can't wait to see what's next for Kang in the YA realm. Loved this, will read it again, will pitch it to everyone I know. TL;DR: - great love story - creative worldbuilding - aliens! - all the feels

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    Hannah has been asleep for an entire week on the Cyclo’s matrix. When she wakes, Hannah realizes her mother is gone and she is all alone on a deserted ship. No one on the ship besides her mother and Cyclo even knew of Hannah’s existence. She was never allowed to leave her room on Cyclo and the only human contact Hannah has had for the past seventeen years has been with her mother. Hannah’s mom was the ship’s reproductive engineer and if the leaders ever found out that she created Hannah both of Hannah has been asleep for an entire week on the Cyclo’s matrix. When she wakes, Hannah realizes her mother is gone and she is all alone on a deserted ship. No one on the ship besides her mother and Cyclo even knew of Hannah’s existence. She was never allowed to leave her room on Cyclo and the only human contact Hannah has had for the past seventeen years has been with her mother. Hannah’s mom was the ship’s reproductive engineer and if the leaders ever found out that she created Hannah both of their lives would have been in danger. So Hannah has lived in secret for all of her life. Fenn has been a screw up for much of his entire life. He is a thief, often stealing trinkets for his sister during his travels and different jobs. He is a disappointment to his family and now that his sister needs medical help, Fenn takes a job from ReCOR, a very powerful and rich company who is not happy that the Cyclo is dying. This job is a one way ticket though. All he and his crew need to do is collect data from the ship before Cyclo turns into an entire biohazard. The generous death benefits he can bequeath to his sister makes the trip well worth it for Fenn even though he knows he will die in the process. No one on the crew ever expected to find Hannah on the ship and Hannah is determined to not let Cyclo die. But, danger is lurking around every corner. Will Hannah, Fenn and the rest of his crew ever make it out alive? I absolutely loved this story! Cyclo is a sentient ship and took on a motherly role towards Hannah. A ship with feelings you say? OMG! Just the descriptiveness of the ship alone really held my attention. The gel like substance, endoskeleton, and nurturing capacity of Cyclo really had me rooting for Cyclo to live as she almost felt human to me. Lydia Kang’s descriptive writing of Cyclo is amazing. I felt like I can actually see the ship and every detail clearly. Kang took such great care of making Cyclo not only an object, but in a way a character as well. This is something I don't read or experience too often in Science Fiction books. Hannah has a very child-like quality to her especially since she has been sequestered for all of her life. She learned everything from reading books from studying Cyclo’s matrix down to every last detail. But the one thing she could not learn is the subtle difference of nuance among real living people. When she first comes into contact with Fenn and his crew you can see how wary she is at first especially since the only human contact she ever had was with her mother and you can see her innocence really shine through when she attaches herself to Fenn. The only issue I had was the insta attraction/love happened very quickly for me, but in a way I think it was needed for Fenn’s sake as he is very down on himself and doesn’t believe he is deserving or worthy enough of love and affection. I would also like to mention that I loved knowing that Hannah is Korean as I do not read enough books with different ethnic characters, so this was like a breath of fresh air to me. Also, the book is rich in Korean history and Kang did a wonderful job of incorporating it into the story. The pacing of the story really starts off strong and never wavers in the slightest. I found myself glued to the pages needing to find out what happens next. The story is full of action and it really builds as the story progresses. There are a lot of intense scenes and things get really scary as they all try to stay alive and collect their data from a dying ship. There are a couple of mysteries thrown in the mix that Hannah, Fenn and the crew need to solve in order to stay alive. I really found myself rooting for Hannah and Fenn to find a way off the ship even though it felt like things were hopeless. Kang really had me worried the entire way through this story that things may not turn out the way I would want them to. I had a lot of “oh no!” moments which left me feeling so engaged with the story and its outcome. Toxic is a gripping action packed space story full of pulse pounding moments that will take you on a non stop thrill ride all the way to a satisfying conclusion. I enjoyed this book immensely. Lydia Kang is an extraordinary writer and will easily pull you right into the story and never let go. This book is so deserving of five stars!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]

    ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! I didn't think, when I first started this book, it was going to be a 4.5 star read. The cover makes it look like a light YA sci-fi romance; instead, it's a delightfully dark, horror-filled space thriller. Requesting this from NetGalley is probably the best impulse decision I've made all year. PLOT In this futuristic world, humans have succeeded in growing living spaceships. Obedient and nurturing, Cyclo is one such spaceship; she's be ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! I didn't think, when I first started this book, it was going to be a 4.5 star read. The cover makes it look like a light YA sci-fi romance; instead, it's a delightfully dark, horror-filled space thriller. Requesting this from NetGalley is probably the best impulse decision I've made all year. PLOT In this futuristic world, humans have succeeded in growing living spaceships. Obedient and nurturing, Cyclo is one such spaceship; she's been a second mother to Hana, the girl who shouldn't exist. Hana's mother grew her in a test tube and has reared her secretly on board the ship all this time. The day she's supposed to finally be introduced to the rest of the crew, Hana wakes up to find that they've all disappeared - she is the only one left, on board a Cyclo that's slowly dying. The flies are already settling onto the carcass in the form of a team from ReCOR, the spaceship company who grew Cyclo. Enter Fennac, Portia, Gammand and Miki. All convicted felons, they've agreed to carry out ReCOR's objectives on this death mission in return for money being provided to their chosen beneficiaries. They weren't expecting to find someone still left on board. And yet there she is: Hana, trapped and alone, meeting other human beings for the first time. And the last - when the ship dies, they all will too. Until the 40% mark, I'll be honest - the pace is a bit slow, and I thought more than once about DNFing. But then the book abruptly takes a nosedive straight into And Then There Were None territory. AND IT IS AWESOME. Crew member after crew member is being picked off - but by who? Or what? From here, it's a fast-paced, high-octane thriller that doesn't let up until right at the end. This book is properly scary; the implosion of Hana's entire world is truly terrifying. CHARACTERS I was a bit dubious when I saw that it was dual first-person POV, but I needn't have worried - Kang handles it like a pro. Fennec and Hanna's styles of talking are very dissimilar. He, as befits his criminal status and greater life experience, is funny, cynical, and irreverent. In fact, he's not just funny: he's bloody hilarious. Hana is understandably more reserved and uncertain, particularly at first, but she has a core of fundamental strength that enables her to deal with the breakdown of her entire world without falling to pieces. The progression from 'girl completely dependent on Cyclo for everything' to 'independence' progresses at a believable speed. The romance between her and Fennec is rapid, but they do have like a week to live. So you can't really blame them. The other characters are also brilliantly fleshed out. No thin side characters here! Portia, Gammand and Miki all have their own motivations and backgrounds. Love them or hate them, you have to empathise with them: if they don't complete their objectives before they die, ReCOR won't pay their beneficiaries. It's easy to understand why they'd be willing to crush anything that gets in the way of them finishing their mission before Cyclo blows. Even if that thing might be Hana. I don't want to give too much away, but Cyclo is a character in her own right, and it's far too easy to empathise with her too. There might be murders, but there is - to a large extent - no villain here. Unsurprisingly, considering most of the crew is comprised of aliens, there is diversity galore. Hana was engineered to have Korean ancestry; Fennec tells us that he's a little bit Taiwanese, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Senegalese, last time I asked my parents. WRITING No real complaints here. Kang's quick-fire style is well suited to keeping the tension ratcheted up; the flowery romance language was a bit harder to swallow, but oh well. Also, this book was unexpectedly profound. It mused on a wide range of topics - death, obviously, but also choice, and independence, and loneliness. But it was never preachy, which helped it pack an even bigger punch. If there's one YA book you're going to read this year, make it Toxic. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tammie

    Cyclo, the first and largest biological ship of its kind, is dying. A small crew of mercenaries have handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship, but the abandoned ship is anything but abandoned―one girl has been left behind. This is kind of a sci-fi, horror, romance mashup. There were some things about it that I really liked, like the whole organic living spaceship thing, and the mysterious girl that was left behind when the crew evacuated. But then there were things Cyclo, the first and largest biological ship of its kind, is dying. A small crew of mercenaries have handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship, but the abandoned ship is anything but abandoned―one girl has been left behind. This is kind of a sci-fi, horror, romance mashup. There were some things about it that I really liked, like the whole organic living spaceship thing, and the mysterious girl that was left behind when the crew evacuated. But then there were things that annoyed me, like the teen romance with 16 year olds having sex and falling in love after only knowing each other for a short time. Insta-love is not my thing. That pretty much ruined the book for me, but I'm still giving it 3 stars because the other aspects of the book were very well done. The reason I'm calling this book part horror is because there are things that go awry on the ship. I don't want to spoil anything so I'm not giving any details, but this leads to more than one death. There were a couple of pretty gruesome deaths in this book, they kind of surprised me because the book seemed pretty mild up until that point. Overall I was a little disappointed in this one, but it wasn't a bad read. I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more if the romance had been toned down. If you like sci-fi type horror stories, and teen romance then you might want to give it a try. Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for a review. Review also posted at Writings of a Reader

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/11/25/... When it comes to science fiction, there are few things more irresistible to me than a story about killer robots or rogue AI. This is the premise behind Toxic, a young adult space adventure set aboard Cyclo, a massive state-of-the-art live ship that’s the first of its kind. But of course, being an actual biological construct, Cyclo isn’t your typical sentient ship. Like anything alive, it also experiences senescence, and 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/11/25/... When it comes to science fiction, there are few things more irresistible to me than a story about killer robots or rogue AI. This is the premise behind Toxic, a young adult space adventure set aboard Cyclo, a massive state-of-the-art live ship that’s the first of its kind. But of course, being an actual biological construct, Cyclo isn’t your typical sentient ship. Like anything alive, it also experiences senescence, and now it is slowly but surely dying. In order to study such a momentous and scientifically significant event, data collectors have been dispatched on a one-way trip to Cyclo to document the ship’s final days. Made up entirely of criminals, this group was never intended to make it back alive. Among them is Fennec, who has signed on for the mission as a way to repay his debt to society. He’s determined to fulfill his contract so that his sister will be taken care of when he’s gone, because when the ship dies, he and his team will soon follow. However, instead of finding Cyclo completely evacuated, Fennec and his fellow mercenaries discover a lone girl on the ship, who apparently has been left behind. For seventeen years, Hana has been kept isolated and hidden because her very existence would have been a violation of the strict population laws. Created illegally by her mother and cared for by Cyclo, Hana dreams of the day she will finally be revealed and accepted by the outside world. But one day, she wakes up to find her mother gone, the entire ship empty. She is devastated when Fennec and his team arrive, informing her of Cyclo’s impending demise and the reason for their mission. Hana doesn’t understand why she has been abandoned and left to die, but for the first time in her life, she has gotten a taste of freedom and knows she will do anything for a chance to live. Toxic was an interesting book, even if the pacing was uneven in some places. I loved the opening chapters which introduced Hana and her fascinating backstory, as well as Cyclo’s role in her upbringing. Speaking of which, the ship itself was one of the novel’s best characters. While Cyclo is a complex and intelligent entity, it nonetheless possesses many traits that remind readers that it is a creature of instinct. As such, many of its behaviors and actions are completely unpredictable and made this one a joy to read. Biological technology is something I love seeing in books, and Lydia Kang explored the idea in a way I found quite unique and engaging. That said, compared to the first riveting chapters, I thought the middle sections of the novel dragged a bit. The story doesn’t waste time establishing an attraction between Hana and Fennec, which I thought was a mistake. Given the circumstances—him being literally the first boy she’s ever met, and she being the last human girl he’ll have contact with before his final sentence is served—the entire situation kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. The focus on the romance also diminished the presence of the others around them. As I sit here writing this review, I find that I can hardly remember anything at all about the supporting characters, who mostly served as background distractions. Thankfully, the story picks up again in the last third. I was quite taken with Kang’s writing, and was especially impressed with her characters’ dialogue and banter. I also liked how Fennec and Hana were able to bond over a shared interest in antiquities, so that there ended up being something deeper driving their relationship. Most important of all, the mystery reaches its climax in this section. Toxic is a standalone so you’ll get all the answers before it’s over, and there are plenty of surprises and twists to keep the momentum going until the very end. As usual, the somewhat awkward handling of the romance was what affected my overall enjoyment of the novel, but only slightly. All in all, Toxic ended up being a pretty good read, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Its minor flaws aside, I thought the book displayed a high level of creativity and depth of thought, and some of its darker and more disturbing moments also made for some incredible atmosphere. I would recommend it for YA sci-fi fans, and Lydia Kang is an author whose work I’ll be keeping my eye out for in the future.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    Ranconi and Vikas Adam! What could go wrong? Yes I only chose this book cos f them. Poor Hana, she spent 17 years in one room. Hidden from everyone. Because if they found out she would have been killed. Only those meant to be born are born, and she was not meant to. But she has her life in her room, she learns things, she speaks with the ship. She hopes to one day come out and see the world. I get that her mother wanted to keep her safe, but it was so very selfish. Wanting a child. Keeping that ch Ranconi and Vikas Adam! What could go wrong? Yes I only chose this book cos f them. Poor Hana, she spent 17 years in one room. Hidden from everyone. Because if they found out she would have been killed. Only those meant to be born are born, and she was not meant to. But she has her life in her room, she learns things, she speaks with the ship. She hopes to one day come out and see the world. I get that her mother wanted to keep her safe, but it was so very selfish. Wanting a child. Keeping that child hidden in her room. But then again, who can blame her mother for longing for something. And then she wakes up and everyone are gone. Spoooky! What happened? Well, that is no spoiler. The ship is dying and they all left and left her behind. That has me wondering so much. Her mother would not leave! Or would she? And that is how we meet Fennec, voiced by Vikas Adam. He and his crew are there to study what happens when the ship dies. This guy had a chip on his shoulder. He was a thief. He had made mistakes, but come on, Fen! You are just a kid! The ship is alive, so freaky. I would certainly not want to fly in a ship that is alive, that has thoughts, even if most of the crew though of Cyclo as only a ship. Hana knew it was more, so much more. Poor ship. There is romance too. Two teens meeting, obliviously things will blossom. I get why Hana falls, and I get why Fen falls. Not to mention there is suspense, murder! Is there someone else there too? And the real reason Fen was there was, oh I hate that corporation that made Cyclo. It was a good book. It had a bit of everything and I do like the idea of a ship that lives. It is interesting. Too bad it was a stand alone. I would have liked to read more set in this world. Narration. Vikas Adam is great, I just find his voice lovely. Amanda Ronconi is great too. She really is a reason to choose a book for. They are perfect together.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Acqua

    DNF @ 30% This book was ok. As I have very little time for reading lately, I don't want to spend it on a book I know I won't feel strongly about. I think my main problem with this book, if one can really call it that, is that I'm not the target audience. I feel like I've outgrown this kind of YA. With "this kind of YA" I mean the kind that has characters on the younger end who feel even younger because of their naïveté, the kind that could more or less work a a middle grade/YA crossover (at least, t DNF @ 30% This book was ok. As I have very little time for reading lately, I don't want to spend it on a book I know I won't feel strongly about. I think my main problem with this book, if one can really call it that, is that I'm not the target audience. I feel like I've outgrown this kind of YA. With "this kind of YA" I mean the kind that has characters on the younger end who feel even younger because of their naïveté, the kind that could more or less work a a middle grade/YA crossover (at least, the part I read could). The kind in which a boy and a girl can't do anything but fall in love. The kind in which the very dull, naive main characters end up naked together because of Contrivance. This is also not my kind of sci-fi. While the spaceship Cyclo is very cool and unlike everything I've ever read, this book involves aliens, and I just don't like reading about aliens who feel like humans with dyed hair. Toxic isn't a book I wouldn't recommend to anyone, however. If you want to read a cute m/f sci-fi romance on the younger end of YA which has Asian leads and takes place in a very interesting setting, I don't think you're going to dislike this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Farr

    "Toxic" is a creative YA sci-fi that primarily takes place on the ship, Cyclo. Cyclo is actually a living organism which is designed to work like a machine. However, Cyclo is dying, and things are changing. Hana was born on Cyclo and has only known the ship. Her mother, Dr. Um, is the ship's geneticist, creating the embryos which will replace crew members as they die of old age, designed to fill a specific role. Dr. Um created Hana in secret and has been working with Cyclo to keep her hidden. Cr "Toxic" is a creative YA sci-fi that primarily takes place on the ship, Cyclo. Cyclo is actually a living organism which is designed to work like a machine. However, Cyclo is dying, and things are changing. Hana was born on Cyclo and has only known the ship. Her mother, Dr. Um, is the ship's geneticist, creating the embryos which will replace crew members as they die of old age, designed to fill a specific role. Dr. Um created Hana in secret and has been working with Cyclo to keep her hidden. Creating a child for anything other than the ship's need is strictly forbidden, and Hana could die if anyone found out. Hana, like the ship's crew, sleeps within the walls of the ship, where they are given lovely dreams, nutrients, and healing by Cyclo. The book begins when she wakes up after a week- longer than she usually sleeps, and for the first time, Mother is not there to greet her. Fighting with herself, Hana eventually decides to venture out of her small room, which has been her whole life. She soon learns that she is the only person on the ship- everyone else is gone. Fenn (short for Fennec) is on a small ship, the Selkirk, sent to Cyclo on a mission which they know will end in their death. They are working for the ship's company to collect as much data they can about why Cyclo has failed, and then, as the ship dies, so will they. In exchange for doing so, they have been offered a large sum of money- provided they collect the amount of data they are required to plus that they die (they must die)- to be given to an individual or individuals upon their death. Fenn is doing this mission for his sister, Callandra, who was paralyzed in a mining accident for which Fenn feels responsible. The mood of the crew is somber, as they are all knowingly traveling to their death. However, when the Selkirk crew arrives, they are surprised that there is a girl on this abandoned ship. As things grow more complex than anticipated and the rules keep changing, they enter a quest for survival to achieve their objectives- and potentially to save their lives (since Hana is not required to follow the rules in their contracts). The high stakes and quick changes give this sci-fi a thriller feel which makes it quite the page-turner! I really enjoyed this book and found it impossible to put down- the sci-fi elements seemed well-researched and were well-explained despite being complex. The mysteries of what is going on/what happened to the ship and what will happen to the Selkirk crew/Hana really kept the plot moving quickly. In terms of the romance, it was very fast, seemingly insta-love, and it felt very take-it-or-leave-it in that I wasn't invested one way or the other and it felt more like filler. I kept that feeling all the way to the end, and it was really the sci-fi and thriller elements that made this book a fantastic read for me, not the romance. There are also some interesting messages about genetics/heritage, and how we are not destined to do or be anything. This holds true of both Hana and the ship, Cyclo, who were designed with specific characteristics. Hana also has some elements of impostor syndrome given her Korean/Earth heritage but being born on the ship and from a designed embryo, as if she is somehow lesser for it (she corrects being labeled Homo sapiens to Homo sapiens novum, etc.). She considers and grows as an individual, with her heritage, during the book. Although these are minor plot points, they were interesting to include and added some dimensions to Hana's character as well as interesting thoughts to ponder (with correlates to now). Overall, I found this to be a fast-paced and intriguing YA sci-fi that I really enjoyed. I highly recommend for fans of sci-fi and thrillers! Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katiria

    *** I received this book for a blog tour on the YA Bound Book Tour in exchange for an honest review, thank you so much to Sara and Entangled: Teen publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review Toxic! *** When I first started reading this book a few days ago I went into it blindly because I totally forgot about the synopsis about this book. But I was really happy to find out the book it set in space in a biological sentient ship name Cyclo. If you don't know I absolutely love young ad *** I received this book for a blog tour on the YA Bound Book Tour in exchange for an honest review, thank you so much to Sara and Entangled: Teen publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review Toxic! *** When I first started reading this book a few days ago I went into it blindly because I totally forgot about the synopsis about this book. But I was really happy to find out the book it set in space in a biological sentient ship name Cyclo. If you don't know I absolutely love young adult sci-fi books especially if it has a sentient ship in the book. At the beginning of the book, we are immediately introduced to Hana Um who is a Homo sapiens novum and was born in a secret lab by her scientist mother Dr. Yoonsil Um in Cyclo. Dr. Yoonsil and the ship Cyclo raised Hana up in secret from the crew that was on the ship because it is illegal to create Hana without authorization from ReCOR who built Cyclo. And ReCOR can see to it that Hana would be disposed of because to them Hana didn't matter to them. Now at the beginning of the book, Hana is pacing around her small room which she never ever left her secret small room ever in her seventeen years of life on the ship, she is panicking and she extremely worries in tears that she hasn't seen her mother in hours since she woke up within Cyclo matrix. Hana is also really worried that she has been asleep an entire week within Cyclo which that has never happened before without seeing her mother. Now Hana made the choice to venture out of her room which it was forbidden for her to do and it is also for the very first time for her to be outside of her room to find her mother. To Hana surprise, she found the whole ship empty and couldn't find her mother anywhere so she asks Cyclo what happened to her mother and the crew and to Hana disbelief Cyclo said that her mother and the crew left the ship forever leaving her behind and Hana was utterly devastated. Now we also met a small crew of mercenaries who has handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship Cyclo, and that's where Hana first meets the crew and Fennec when they first land on the ship Cyclo. And that's when everything changes and goes downhill for Hana she found out Cyclo is dying and that she might die with the ship and new crew. But things start to happen in the worst possible way on the ship with Hana & Fennec and the crew I won't say what because that is a spoiler you have to read this book and find out what I am talking about. But things go too bad into worst in a matter of days if they days were getting worst each day wasn't enough the crew members were being killed off one by one by a killer which nobody knows who the killer was. And that's when Hana and Fenn truly realize there are racing against the death of the ship and their own lives as well. All and all I absolutely and thoroughly loved and enjoyed Toxic that I can't wait to read more books by Lydia Kang I do have her other book The November Girl which I can't wait to read next!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne (It's All About Books)

    Finished reading: September 7th 2018 "Funny how, with everything available to us, we still want to learn how to do things the old ways." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Entangled: Teen in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[ Toxic easily has one of the most gorgeous covers I've seen so far this year. This was the perfect definition of cover love: I knew I HAD to read this one even before I actually read the blurb. I know science ficti Finished reading: September 7th 2018 "Funny how, with everything available to us, we still want to learn how to do things the old ways." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Entangled: Teen in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[ Toxic easily has one of the most gorgeous covers I've seen so far this year. This was the perfect definition of cover love: I knew I HAD to read this one even before I actually read the blurb. I know science fiction isn't really my genre, but I like branching out every once and a while to mix things up. It's been a while since I read a story set in space, and Lydia Kang was able to make it into a very interesting experience. I loved the idea behind Toxic with the biological ship Cyclo, the detailed descriptions of the ship, the use of colors to communicate... Cyclo was basically another character and I loved to see how the ship 'evolved' over time. As for the other characters: there are a few cliches involved, and I'm not sure I like Hana, but overall their development is interesting enough to follow. I do think Cyclo overshadows the other characters in its uniqueness though. That said, it was an entertaining enough ride with plenty of action as Cyclo becomes less and less predictable and more dangerous. I wish there would have been less romance scenes involves, especially since most of it is quite cliche and takes away attention from the more interesting sci-fi elements. I'm sure romance fans will take those scenes differently though. The writing is solid and makes this ride very enjoyable. Fans of more romantic YA sci-fi books will have a blast reading Toxic. Cyclo is the first biological ship out there and has been working fine for a long time, but time seems to have run out and the ship is dying. Everyone has been evacuated, and now a small crew is on their way to board the abandoned ship to record and analyze Cyclo's final days. They have signed a contract, giving up their lives to document the death of Cyclo in exchange for a healthy sum of money to be awarded to the person they indicate, but only if they fulfill their mission. When they arrive, they find out the ship isn't completely abandoned... A girl has been left behind, and she might just be the reason they won't be able to finish everything on time. Especially since Cyclo seems to be more instable than originally indicated. Even though science fiction isn't really my genre, it was actually those elements that stood out for me. Especially Cyclo was fascinating, since the ship was almost like another character with its own development, 'emotions' and flaws. I could have done without the more cliche romance scenes, and I wasn't a fan of Hana, but overall I really enjoyed my time with Toxic. (hide spoiler)] P.S. Find more of my reviews here.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Myrth

    How many time can I say I love Science Fiction? LOL. This book was light fast paced read about a girl who was only starting to live in a dying world. Unlike a lot of heroines in other YA books where it's already book 3 and they are still whining, I loved how fast Hana learned who she was, what her purpose was, and how brave she can look death in the face. I loved the description of the ship Cyclo and the humanoids that came with Fenn on that one way mission to gather data. Didn't think I'd like t How many time can I say I love Science Fiction? LOL. This book was light fast paced read about a girl who was only starting to live in a dying world. Unlike a lot of heroines in other YA books where it's already book 3 and they are still whining, I loved how fast Hana learned who she was, what her purpose was, and how brave she can look death in the face. I loved the description of the ship Cyclo and the humanoids that came with Fenn on that one way mission to gather data. Didn't think I'd like the romance but it wasn't mushy and angstsy so I did.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    *I got this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!* Can we first take a moment and appreciate this beautiful cover? Which was what made me take a closer look at this book because it's so pretty. And also fits the story really well, a detail I just picked up after finishing and staring at the cover again. Secondly, the content of the book was amazing as well. It is exactly the kind of sci-fi I love. It's quite light, but with enough technical details that *I got this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!* Can we first take a moment and appreciate this beautiful cover? Which was what made me take a closer look at this book because it's so pretty. And also fits the story really well, a detail I just picked up after finishing and staring at the cover again. Secondly, the content of the book was amazing as well. It is exactly the kind of sci-fi I love. It's quite light, but with enough technical details that it all seems real and possible. The author is a physician, so I guess she knows what she's talking about. A lot of the time I had as much question marks as Fennec had when confronted with all the technical things. But that just contributed to the whole atmosphere of the book which was dark and scary, thrilling and gave me the chills. Because same as the characters, the reader at first doesn't know what's going on and when we all do, it's this "OH MY GOD" moment. And I maybe actually sat in my room looking over my shoulder in case someone comes over to hurt me. Anyways. I loved the atmosphere. And the characters and their group dynamic. They were all a different species, all humanoids but from diffreent planets and they each had very different characters that made up for a fun reading experience. The book is mostly set on Cyclo, a spaceship that is actually alive and like a second mother to Hana, who was artifically created in secret and kept from the rest of the crew. Because of that Hana has a very special connection to the ship. Hana is very innocent and a bit naive at the beginning of the book but soon learns what it means to live and to survive. A lot of that is thanks to Fenn. And here comes my only real point of critique: Hana and Fenn's relationship. For me it was pretty much instalove and the whole thing just developed too fast for my liking. I mean, the two of them really fit but it was just too fast and too much at once. Apart from that, I absolutely enjoyed the book. It is definitely one of my favourite sci-fi reads. It has something from everything, space, romance, friendship, science and that made it a very special book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)

    The ending of Toxic was more gripping than the beginning, but the story didn’t manage to really suck me in. Toxic is a YA science fiction novel following two teens aboard the dying biological space-habitat Cyclo. Hana was created in secret by her mother in violation of the community population laws and has never been outside her room or interacted with anyone besides her mother and Cyclo. Then, she wakes up and finds the ship deserted. Fennec is a member of a science expedition made up of crimina The ending of Toxic was more gripping than the beginning, but the story didn’t manage to really suck me in. Toxic is a YA science fiction novel following two teens aboard the dying biological space-habitat Cyclo. Hana was created in secret by her mother in violation of the community population laws and has never been outside her room or interacted with anyone besides her mother and Cyclo. Then, she wakes up and finds the ship deserted. Fennec is a member of a science expedition made up of criminals, all of whom are supposed to get as much work as they can done studying Cyclo’s demise before ultimately dying themselves, providing more data to the company that made Cyclo. But Cyclo’s deterioration is a dangerous event, and Hana doesn’t want to die. And Fennec just might not either. As usual, I would have enjoyed Toxic so much more without the romance sub-plot. Hana and Fennec’s relationship would have been so powerful as a platonic friendship! Instead, we get an insta-love plotline where Hana is falling for literally the first boy she’s ever met. Hana was okay. She probably has the most growth compared to anyone else, and I did like how she gained confidence and knowledge over the course of the book. Her interest in our time’s culture did feel contrived, and this was a problem with Fennec too. It’s a tendency for sci-fi to always give their characters interests in cultural artifacts from 2018 or older. It honestly feels like weak world building, since we end up with no idea regarding cultural developments in the next few centuries leading up to the book. Even if I wasn’t super into Hana, I had more interest in her than Fennec. He’s just… like five million YA characters I’ve seen before. I’ve noticed that YA books will use younger siblings as a plot device and character motivation, and once you notice it, you can’t unsee it. Fennec agreed to the suicide mission on Cyclo so that his younger sister will get his death benefits. He feels responsible for the mining accident that caused her to be injured, even though he hasn’t spoken to her in years. You hear about this backstory ad nauseam. My favorite part about Toxic was Cyclo herself. Biological technology is always fun, if sometimes creepy. And Cyclo? Well, let’s just say that she could be straight out of a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, and I mean that as a compliment. Her relationship with Hana was very interesting — Hana’s been dependent on Cyclo her whole life, and it’s only over the course of Toxic that Hana begins to suspect that this relationship might be abusive. Biological space stations aside, I found Toxic lacking in world building, pacing and characterization. If this turns into a series, I won’t be continuing with it. I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. Review from The Illustrated Page.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Donald Kirch

    Wow! Just...wow!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    LaRonda (Flying Paperbacks)

    You can see my full review here! *I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review* I in truth had quite a deal of fun with this one, but it did take a while for me to get emotionally invested in the events taking place. This books pacing was sluggish, yet I look up after one sitting and find myself halfway through? It did take a little over half the book for things to pick up, but this was a read that felt took a while to get through. I found i You can see my full review here! *I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review* I in truth had quite a deal of fun with this one, but it did take a while for me to get emotionally invested in the events taking place. This books pacing was sluggish, yet I look up after one sitting and find myself halfway through? It did take a little over half the book for things to pick up, but this was a read that felt took a while to get through. I found it hard to care about much in the story; the relationship between Cyclo and Hana had a complexity to it that did snag my interest instantaneously. And despite my lack of caring, I did like Hana more than our other POV, Fenn, but as the story moved forward, the characters got better and started growing on me. However, Hana went through the most character development. Going from this naive, insecure, dependent girl to gaining some agency and taking initiative gave a better connect to her character. The secondary characters were okay? There wasn’t much expansion on their characteristics. The only character who really caught my interest was Portia— she was this mysterious, brash woman with a secret depth kind of character and she intrigued me. And the diversity of course isn’t lacking in this one. I’m not just talking about the different alien species— Hana was designed after her mother/creator who is Korean and according to Fenn, he’s Taiwanese, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Senegalese. There is instalove happening in this book and though there is an excuse—they have 3 weeks left to live— I just… couldn’t care about their development or them as a couple? They grew on me as a concept, but there was such a rush between the two, I couldn't truly connect with it. Yet despite my gripes, everything picked up after 60% and it was worth it. I had a lot of fun after the initial slow first half, I’d count this as a win. 09/06-- Sentient spaceships are my thing pass it on

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jo Ladzinski

    Read my NetGalley eARC. Opinions are my own Did you love Annihilation and wish it took place on the Nostromo? This book was written specifically for you. Seventeen-year-old Hana has lived on a bioship named Cyclo until a crew of criminals shows up to do some research. Cyclo is dying and it's a race against time and trust before the ship consumes them all. This book is so immersive. Kang has a background in medicine and physiology and it really shows here. Clearly, every aspect of the ship had been Read my NetGalley eARC. Opinions are my own Did you love Annihilation and wish it took place on the Nostromo? This book was written specifically for you. Seventeen-year-old Hana has lived on a bioship named Cyclo until a crew of criminals shows up to do some research. Cyclo is dying and it's a race against time and trust before the ship consumes them all. This book is so immersive. Kang has a background in medicine and physiology and it really shows here. Clearly, every aspect of the ship had been mapped out, from how the vacuoles form, to nourishment, even to the way the ship communicates with the crew. In fact, it was so well-done, I find it hard to believe that Kang hadn't spent significant time on such a vessel herself. I never once got confused by the science in this science fiction. It is so organically done and makes so much sense every step of the way. The romance, though insta-love, hits a lot of notes. There is enough mutual understanding built up between Fenn and Hana that it came so naturally. In addition, I appreciated this book's exploration of what's in a nature and what makes people "necessary." Fenn and Hana play so well off each other from different perspectives and I love how that balance plays out. Another thing I admired was Hana's characterization. Because she spent her whole life divorced from human contact, there were so many questions she had about dealing with people and about herself as an entity separate from her mother or Cyclo. The odd ball crew provided a perfect playground for this exploration. The best part? None of it was repetitive. A romantic science fiction in space, perfect for people who like their suspense to take place in small spaces and problems being solved with science, technology, and faith in each other.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chloe (QuothTheBookLover)

    I recieved this ARC through Netgalley, so thank you to them, Lydia Kang and Engtangled Publishing!I really enjoyed this book, it was fun read that did keep me wondering what was going to happen next. I liked the characters and really enjoyed the concept of the book, it is very similar to The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.The main character Hana was really interesting. She went through a lot and had quite a lot of development through I recieved this ARC through Netgalley, so thank you to them, Lydia Kang and Engtangled Publishing!
I really enjoyed this book, it was fun read that did keep me wondering what was going to happen next. I liked the characters and really enjoyed the concept of the book, it is very similar to The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
The main character Hana was really interesting. She went through a lot and had quite a lot of development throughout the book. She was  brave and intelligent and she asked a lot of questions, I particularly enjoyed how her behaviour was so odd. She was kept away from people for so long that she had to learn in a short term how she should react and how to understand emotions and even certain sentences.
Fenn was a really sweet character, he fell for Hana so fast and it was pretty cute. It was an incredibly fast romance but then again, they didn't really have long. I liked Fenns backstory and I would love a book carrying on from the end of this one, to see what happened to him and his sister and whether he ever rebuilt a relationship with his parents.
Cyclo was such a cool thing to have in this book, I knew from the beginning something was shady with her but it just kept coming. I liked that she was sentient and that she cared so deeply for Hana that she developed genuine emotion whilst watching her grow up. The ending was cute, even though Cylco is a genuine murderous psychopath, it was a nice ending that she got to be with the one thing she loved.
I would have liked more story about the other characters, the descriptions of them, especially Miki and Portia were so interesting! I would love more information about the world as it sounded so interesting, I want to know what happened to earth and what are the alien planets like. I understand that it is important to keep the story on the ship because for the characters it is the only thing that matters at the moment, but I still would have loved to have seen the world a bit, maybe in another story!
The plot was really intriguing and constantly had me wondering what was going to happen next and creating my own theories. It is a sci-fi story with some murder mystery thrown in which I really enjoyed. The romance was really fast but due to the nature of the story that is to be expected and I totally loved it. I'm a sucker for romance and Fenn was the cutest!
I really wish there had been more focus on the friendships of the crew, it was only when someone had died that any mention of a happy friendship was mentioned. Another thing I didn't really like is the sexual relationship between Hana and Fenn, she is incredibly sheltered and I understand that she read a lot and learned a lot but she was so weirdly confident when it came to sex, it was quite unrealistic. I don't mind the inclusion of a sex scene, they literally think they are about to die, go for it you know, but I just felt it happened in a really weird way. Their only concern was pregnancy and for someone who had never met another human other than her mother just a few days prior to this, I just felt it would have happened differently.
Overall, it was a really enjoyable read. It was fast paced, had an awesome antagonist and a really interesting plot. I definitely recommend it for fans of sci-fi and I can't wait for you all to read it. It comes out in the US on November 6th and December 1st for the UK!


  24. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly (Book Swoon)

    TOXIC by Lydia Kang is an exciting new standalone, science fiction for young adults readers with a strong dose of romance. This is space thriller filled with plenty of action and danger to keep things moving while a mystery keeps you guessing. It takes place in space on a sentient ship that is slowly dying; its crew has long abandoned it except for one girl who is not supposed to even exist. Deep Space, A Dying Sentient Ship, and A “Created” Teen Girl Who is Tech Savvy. What caught my attention fi TOXIC by Lydia Kang is an exciting new standalone, science fiction for young adults readers with a strong dose of romance. This is space thriller filled with plenty of action and danger to keep things moving while a mystery keeps you guessing. It takes place in space on a sentient ship that is slowly dying; its crew has long abandoned it except for one girl who is not supposed to even exist. Deep Space, A Dying Sentient Ship, and A “Created” Teen Girl Who is Tech Savvy. What caught my attention first with this book is the fact that it features a "created" teen girl named Hana who's abandoned on a biological spaceship that is slowly dying. Then there's a mystery of why the crew left so suddenly, and why mercenaries are sent to document the death of the ship. Hana comes out of a hibernated sleep to find herself completely alone on Cyclo, and what is worse, she is weak, confused and left with an overwhelming sense that something terrible has happened to the crew. I enjoyed seeing Hana go from a weak and naive young teen to one of determination and resilience. She knows the ship better than anyone and her life and those she cares about will depend on it. Murder, Mystery, and Lots of Danger. When Fenn and his crew of hired mercenaries arrive aboard Cyclo and discover Hana, everything changes. As they begin to document the slow death of Cyclo and try to figure out how to help Hana return to her missing crew, secrets are revealed about the ship and a rash of murders begin to happen. They are not alone and someone does want them there. Romance plays a strong part in TOXIC. The building attraction is fast between Fenn and Hana but I still found it sweet and could understand it given their circumstances. The intensity of the ship dying mixed with their need to feel alive makes for some great swoony romance. TOXIC is one of those reads that easily sweeps you away to somewhere else when reading. In this case, it's in space on a living ship. I really enjoyed the unique way Cyclo interacts with Hana, and all the cool science fiction and tech added to the story. Kang does a brilliant job of making Cyclo a living character. I thought the mystery was well done as well. In the End Readers looking for a fast Sci-Fi read filled with action, danger, and romance should check out this YA read. This is especially a great choice if you like a mix of octane and romance. I especially enjoyed all the space tech Kang mixes in.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lelia Taylor

    I couldn’t help thinking of Kass Morgan’s The 100 when I first saw the description of this book. That’s not a bad thing as I’m a big fan of both the book series and the TV adaptation although they bear only a moderate resemblance to each other, as you might expect. At any rate, thinking of that series definitely made me want to try this and I’m very glad it did. Imagine spending the entire nearly 17 years of your life secreted away in a 10-foot wide room from everyone except your mother on board I couldn’t help thinking of Kass Morgan’s The 100 when I first saw the description of this book. That’s not a bad thing as I’m a big fan of both the book series and the TV adaptation although they bear only a moderate resemblance to each other, as you might expect. At any rate, thinking of that series definitely made me want to try this and I’m very glad it did. Imagine spending the entire nearly 17 years of your life secreted away in a 10-foot wide room from everyone except your mother on board a bioship in outer space . Logistically, that’s not as impossible as it might seem because we’re not talking about what we envision as a space vessel today; Cyclo is three kilometers wide so there’s plenty of room for hiding. Hana spends 48 to 72 hours at a time in a sleeping state so, when she wakes up one day to discover that it’s been a week since she last saw her scientist mother, she’s naturally upset and full of questions. Cyclo, usually quite willing to converse in her own way, offers no explanation other than, “Your mother is not here” and is clearly reluctant to open the door for Hana but she finally does so. Very quickly, panic begins to set in as Hana realizes Cyclo is not verbalizing as she usually does…and there are no people anywhere on board the ship. What Cyclo tells her then is the most frightening thing Hana can imagine, that her mother has abandoned her. When Hana sees the light of a ship in the distance, approaching Cyclo, she’s sure her mother is coming back but, in fact, the ship is bringing a small crew on a suicide mission to gather data from the dying ship. The moment Hana and Fenn spot each other, not precisely a friendly meeting, everything changes for both of them. Ms. Kang has done a wonderful job with her setting, particularly in making Cyclo seem so very real and truly vivid with her emotional colors and her ability to use her ectoplasm in so many ways. In fact, I’d have to say that Cyclo is a character just as central to the story as are Kana and Fenn. I also like that Hana is of Korean descent and that the mercenaries are all quite diverse, too. Hana’s rampant insecurities and Fenn’s roguish personality mesh well together and the author makes them, and their story, exciting and compelling. When all is said and done, this book is high on my list of favorite books read in 2018.

  26. 5 out of 5

    thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. ***Spoilers alert!*** ***4.5 stars*** Oh wow! This is one incredible YA sci-fi! I enjoyed Kang's earlier books - The Impossible Girl & Quackery - so I thought I'd give this a try (although I'm new to the sci-fi genre). I'm really glad I read it! From the plot to the storytelling, it was one amazing experience, embarking on this suspenseful journey in the bioship Cyclo. The plot takes place in a self-sustaining but now dying bioship called Cyclo. Cyclo stops photosynthesizing and is storing tox ***Spoilers alert!*** ***4.5 stars*** Oh wow! This is one incredible YA sci-fi! I enjoyed Kang's earlier books - The Impossible Girl & Quackery - so I thought I'd give this a try (although I'm new to the sci-fi genre). I'm really glad I read it! From the plot to the storytelling, it was one amazing experience, embarking on this suspenseful journey in the bioship Cyclo. The plot takes place in a self-sustaining but now dying bioship called Cyclo. Cyclo stops photosynthesizing and is storing toxic substances which upon release will be biohazard. In a haste, the crew has evacuated, including Dr. Yoonsil Um, Hana's mother. No one knows of Hana's existence except for her mother and Cyclo. So when Hana wakes up after a week of sleep, she finds herself alone in the ship. She does not believe that her mother would abandon her and now she wants a chance to live. ReCOR, a wealthy and powerful company that manufactures bioships, sends a team to Cyclo to retrieve data before the ship dies. It is a one-way journey, a suicide mission with death benefits where huge payments will be made to their beneficiaries upon completion of their mission. But when Fenn meets Hana, he determines to save them both. How can he manage that without jeopardizing his contract? Time is running out for everyone - Cyclo is deteriorating rapidly and events take a deadly turn when someone is murdering the team one by one…. This is an enjoyable light sci-fi with a cleverly written plot. It's intriguing and held my interest until the end. The plot is focused and strong and that is something I like about Kang's books. Her stories' plots are always intriguing and consistent throughout. I love the idea of bioship and wouldn't have known anything like that if it's not for this book. Cyclo is not just a bioship, but a living thing that is able to communicate with the crew through colours. She is also able to "move" akin to having limbs by manipulating her matrix. It's unique and creepy in a way. I love the atmospheric writing! The ambience created in the story is appealing and real to me and totally pulled me into the story. There are numerous scientific jargons used (biochemistry and physics terms) which I think is educational albeit they may be somewhat intimidating. Honestly, I think these terms enriched the story and my reading experience! I like both Hana and Fenn's characters and the light romance thrown in the story is sweet. This book has some iridescent and diverse characters, e,g: Portia Ynnatryb of Prinnia, Gammand Sadozai: a Gragorian-humanoid. As much as I love these characters but I do feel they are underdeveloped, flat and somewhat flaccid. That being said, Toxic is a wonderful and fascinating sci-fi story. It is a fast-paced (without a dull moment), a well-thought-out plot (with a little horror and romance thrown in) type of story that is entertaining until the last page. I loved it! ***I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed in this review are my own and was not influenced by the author, publisher or any third party.***

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book is intriguing from the first chapter. I really loved the uniqueness of the book. Hana has lived hidden on a spaceship all her life and has relied only on her mother as company. One day, she wakes up and everyone on the ship including her mother has left, leaving her behind. Finn is the other main character and we get his point of view as well as Hana's. He knows he is on a suicide mission, but even from the get go, he shows he is a strong character willing to fight if necessary. When t This book is intriguing from the first chapter. I really loved the uniqueness of the book. Hana has lived hidden on a spaceship all her life and has relied only on her mother as company. One day, she wakes up and everyone on the ship including her mother has left, leaving her behind. Finn is the other main character and we get his point of view as well as Hana's. He knows he is on a suicide mission, but even from the get go, he shows he is a strong character willing to fight if necessary. When the two of them finally meet, it is awesome! They are both such different characters, but they complement each other. I really enjoyed the way their relationship came together. They were both so innocent in regards to relationships. It is a little instasta-like, but they have very little time to get to know each other. I really loved the uniqueness of the ship Cyclo. I was really fascinated by the space ship and it's relationship with Hana. Cyclo is definitely sentient. The ship can communicate using colors and verbally. Different colors mean different things and Hana is able to understand what each color means. Sadly, the ship is dying and Finn came as part of a crew to take data from the ship before it completely fails. This book kept me on my toes. There was plenty of excitement and mystery happening. The other characters in the book were from other planets and they were really well described. They added an extra layer of interest to the story. It was great learning about why they chose to be on the mission. Overall, this book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who likes sci-fi, romance, sentient spaceships, and a little mystery. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from Entangled Publishing via Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Annette Jordan

    A clever blend of suspense and romance makes this Lydia Kang book a page turner from the get go. Despite being somewhat thrown into the story with little to no explanation, the exposition of the background info needed to make sense of the world and the characters is woven into the story as the book moves on, in a skilful way that does not hamper the pacing at all. Our protagonist is Hana, a genetically engineered girl who is now the sole passenger on Cyclo, a bio ship that is a blend of technolo A clever blend of suspense and romance makes this Lydia Kang book a page turner from the get go. Despite being somewhat thrown into the story with little to no explanation, the exposition of the background info needed to make sense of the world and the characters is woven into the story as the book moves on, in a skilful way that does not hamper the pacing at all. Our protagonist is Hana, a genetically engineered girl who is now the sole passenger on Cyclo, a bio ship that is a blend of technology and a living organism. Despite strict population controls, Hana's mother engineered her and hid her in the ship, so isolation is all that she has known, and her only companion, other than her mother is Cyclo itself. When the crew is forced to evacuate suddenly, hidden Hana is left behind on a dying ship. Even a dying ship, especially one as unusual as Cyclo has value, and when a crew of mercenaries arrive to study what went wrong , Hana is the last thing they expected. As the clock ticks down before the ship implodes, people start to die , and Hana is the most logical suspect, despite the fact that Fennec, one of the crew, has been watching her at all times, and possibly getting a little closer than he originally intended to. As the time ticks on and the scavenger crew tries to find a way to escape the inevitable, the tension is intense and the pace accelerates to a suitably satisfactory and dramatic conclusion . The romance between Hana and Fennec is beautifully handled, as is the growth and development of Hana as a character, from the fragile helpless girl we meet, to the strong, determined young woman we leave at the end. I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Bookbookowl)

    Many thanks to Entangled Teen for providing me with this E-Arc of Toxic in exchange for an honest review. Life on the ship Cyclo is closely monitored and the population is capped at 1000. Unknown to the rest of the crew, there is a 1001st member. That person is Hana. Hidden by her mother for 16 years, Hana wakes up one day to an empty ship. Everyone has evacuated without her. Cyclo has been Hana's only friend for her whole life and they communicate easily, but now Cyclo is dying. When a crew arri Many thanks to Entangled Teen for providing me with this E-Arc of Toxic in exchange for an honest review. Life on the ship Cyclo is closely monitored and the population is capped at 1000. Unknown to the rest of the crew, there is a 1001st member. That person is Hana. Hidden by her mother for 16 years, Hana wakes up one day to an empty ship. Everyone has evacuated without her. Cyclo has been Hana's only friend for her whole life and they communicate easily, but now Cyclo is dying. When a crew arrive to document the ship's demise, it's not as straightforward a mission as they had anticipated - especially when they discover Hana is still aboard. Sci-fi is always really hit and miss for me, but Toxic was just the right mix of haunting and nerve-wracking. I did find it hard to remember some of the crew weren't human (mostly because I just don't particularly enjoy reading about alien races, which is often why I avoid sci-fi) but in this case it didn't distract me from the story at all. I found it a little difficult to wrap my head around the concept of the bio-ship at first, but the more Cyclo cemented as an AI in my mind, the more engrossed I became. Toxic was a story that was sometimes horrifying and sometimes heartbreaking. I'll be adding it to the small, but growing, list of YA sci-fi books I've really enjoyed! Also, I can't not mention the cover - look at how gorgeous it is! MY BLOG ~ INSTAGRAM

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Toxic is definitely a type of Sci-Fi that I absolutely love. Where it has a little horror and suspense mixed into the story. The kind you can’t stop reading. So Cyclo is a spaceship that is alive but dying. I found the whole concept of the ship absolutely fascinating and what a great idea. After the main crew evacuated an additional crew is sent to the ship in order to record Cyclo’s last moments. There are so many cool features about the ship and how it worked. I loved reading about it and pictu Toxic is definitely a type of Sci-Fi that I absolutely love. Where it has a little horror and suspense mixed into the story. The kind you can’t stop reading. So Cyclo is a spaceship that is alive but dying. I found the whole concept of the ship absolutely fascinating and what a great idea. After the main crew evacuated an additional crew is sent to the ship in order to record Cyclo’s last moments. There are so many cool features about the ship and how it worked. I loved reading about it and picture it in my mind. Honestly I think I always picture the Enterprise and just change details but you know. It was pretty cool. I don’t want to give anything away on the plot but it was definitely fascinating. I had my suspicions early on but it didn’t make the story any less enjoyable. I loved the suspense of what was going to happen next. As far as the romance is concerned. I didn’t feel like I really needed it. I think the story would have been perfectly fine without out but I also think it makes sense. Especially for someone who has never lived outside a room and someone who thinks this the end of the line for them. I think as each of the characters back stories come to light. I felt they were really interesting. It’s just a small piece of a giant universe so even though they are different races. I think you kind the main idea of everyone’s cultures. I really enjoyed Toxic. I thought it was that perfect Sci-Fi thriller story that is fun to read.

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