PUBLISHED: August 4th 2020 by Swoon Reads
GENRE: Science Fiction, Young Adult
They’re only good at being bad.
Cora Saros is just trying her best to join the family business of theft and intergalactic smuggling. Unfortunately, she’s a total disaster.
After landing herself in prison following an attempted heist gone very wrong, she strikes a bargain with the prison warden: He’ll expunge her record if she brings back a long-lost treasure rumored to grant immortality.
Cora is skeptical, but with no other way out of prison (and back in her family’s good graces), she has no choice but to assemble a crew from her collection of misfit cellmates—a disgraced warrior from an alien planet; a cocky pirate who claims to have the largest ship in the galaxy; and a glitch-prone robot with a penchant for baking—and take off after the fabled prize.
But the ragtag group soon discovers that not only is the too-good-to-be-true treasure very real, but they’re also not the only crew on the hunt for it. And it’s definitely a prize worth killing for.
Whip-smart and utterly charming, this irreverent sci-fi adventure is perfect for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lunar Chronicles, and Firefly.
You can read an excerpt here.
ALSO REVIEWED AT: Goodreads
The Good for Nothings is a rollicking sci-fi adventure by author Danielle Banas, and is a dazzling tale of finding your true family. It showcases the idea that although the road of friendship and camaraderie may be bumpy at times, change is achievable through the strongest of bonds. Readers are swept along a treasure hunt that spans galaxies, led by a ragtag group of sassy thieves with hearts of gold hidden behind hard shells developed by hard lives lived. With danger nipping at our heels every step of the way, we fly through the vast expanse of space and find ourselves on strange planets inhabited by a colorful range of people, flora and fauna. The tribulations faced inevitably crack those aforementioned shells, creating a touching narrative that leaves it mark, and one I’ll not soon forget.
The characters Banas has crafted and their dynamics are some of the finest I’ve encountered in a young adult novel; their trait differences so diverse to the naked eye, but there’s a collective togetherness the deeper you dive. Initially it seems the rift between them is too wide to traverse, but as the story continues, bonds strengthen and bloom into something truly beautiful. Their tale is a true testament to the power of found family, where all are willing to step forward to pull another away from the edge of despair. There’s also hints of a tender and heartwarming romance, so subtle it feels so real.
Cora is a conflicted and outlying member of a crime family, taught to disassociate herself from emotions and care for nothing but the job at hand. She’s driven by her need to prove herself to those who refuse to believe in her, and her efforts land her in one of the most infamous prisons known in all the galaxies. She’s joined by her sidekick Elio, a vintage AI that expresses human emotions to the fullest, and has a penchant for baking and operating in the exact opposite way than that he was intended for. Our duo meet Wren, a skilled thief that wears her heart on her sleeve (sometimes), and Anders/Andy/Andykins, the brooding male counterpart, feared and protected by his tough exterior shell, but pained beyond belief by sins of the past within. With this cast it’s all about balance, and Banas executes this skillfully.
In addition to wonderful characterization, the action and adventure, ripe with danger and secrets and puzzles, is non-stop throughout the entire novel. As readers are towed along on a hunt for the remaining keys to a treasure of immeasurable wealth, we’re transported to various planets across galaxies, and met with wondrous landscapes and creatures as diverse as our main cast. Only an incredible imagination can conjure up what peppers these pages. A recurring theme throughout is the stark contrast between beauty and underlying peril, and this is portrayed perfectly. Lurking menace and uncertainty is a catalyst for betrayal, and the many finely constructed trials faced is the driving force for not only the advancement of the plot, but for the evolution of the characters, as well.
This book’s uniquely original cover illustration is what initially caught my attention, but the story itself and how it is told is so wonderfully consuming. A simply conveyed tale told in first-person narration gives readers an insight into the ongoings in Cora’s mind – her intentions, most cherished hopes and dreams, the internal conflict she constantly battles. It’s a refreshing story that doesn’t take itself too seriously until it absolutely needs to, and when it does, it’s done so exceedingly well. I found myself laughing out loud at its healthy amount of sarcasm and banter, evocative of Guardians of the Galaxy, and it’s fast pace led by nail-biting action completely saturated with tension made this a sure page-turner. Banas has created something fantastic here, and I can only hope to see more in the future.
The Good for Nothings is a story I went in to with high hopes, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I was presented. This is a perfect example of a feel-good tale that packs a serious emotional punch when read the way I believe it’s intended to be read. Sure, there’s enough sass in here to keep this a light-hearted read, but the level of poignancy that builds this book’s foundation is something special. If you’re looking for a strange and alluring space opera-esque adventure, this is one that can definitely be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. I highly recommend.
Note: A huge thank you to the author, Swoon Reads, and Xpresso Tours for providing me a complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Danielle Banas is the author of THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME and THE GOOD FOR NOTHINGS. She earned a degree in communication from Robert Morris University, where she spent slightly too much time daydreaming about new characters instead of paying attention in class. When she isn’t writing, Danielle can be found loudly singing show tunes, spouting off Disney World trivia, and snuggling with her puppy. She lives in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.