An Unkindness of Ghosts

Rivers Solomon
An Unkindness of Ghosts Cover

An Unkindness of Ghosts


Matilda is a massive spaceship that has been flying for hundreds of years, carrying its thousands of passengers to The Promised Land. The spaceship is divided into many levels, with upper class white people living on the upper decks and lower class black people living in the lower decks. The white people live a life of luxury and opulence; the black people are slaves who are very mistreated.

Astra is a lower deck passenger of Matilda. She is autistic and intelligent and works as an assistant to the ship's surgeon. Astra's mother died just after she was born and left behind a legacy of journals written in code. When the chief-in-command mysteriously dies, Astra sees a similarity between his death and her mother's. She begins to decode the journals and realizes she may have the power to alter the fate of the passengers on Matilda.

An Unkindness of Ghosts is a complex book that confronts huge issues like class, racism, and sexual identity, as well as more intimate matters like the meaning of family and the purpose of life. Astra is a fascinating character who is very well written, the world building was phenomenal, and the pacing made the book unputdownable. The denouement was not what I was expecting or hoping for but it was not unsatisfying.

The book was published by a small publishing house and didn't have the resources for strong editing that the author clearly needed. There was some extraneous information that could have been deleted (like chapters about supporting characters), there were a few details that didn't quite work, and my edition of the book had a few typographical errors.

All in all, though, An Unkindness of Ghosts is a brilliant thought-provoking book and I enjoyed it immensely. I look forward to reading more by Rivers Solomon in the future.

5 Stars