Painful World-Building in Collide || Book Review

Collide by Aimee Jessica Russ

3.5/5 STARS

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Author: Aimee Jessica Russ
Published: January 2016
Publisher: Olympia Publishers
Pages: 281 {paperback}

Originally posted on Goodreads

this review is spoiler-free until I state otherwise

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

Ahhh, this book has me so conflicted. I really did not get along with the writing style at all and I thought the pacing was completely off. BUT I LOVED THE PLOT. I didn’t like K, BUT I LOVED EVERYONE ELSE. I didn’t like the colour scheme, BUT I LOVED THE SETTING. Somebody hold me as I splinter into two. This was a very addictive read and the cliff hanger at the end nearly killed me. I am definitely going to be grabbing book two because good lord, I need to know what happens next.

Trigger warning: this book contains a rape scene.


Collide was a book in The Dragon’s Hoard subscription box that I read for its monthly read-along (which I also co-host). I’m not going to lie or beat around the bush here: this is no literary masterpiece. The writing style was painful to begin with and I would hesitate on recommending the book to others. The reason that I found myself compelled to read to the end – and desperately want the sequel – was because the story itself was so addictive. I was eventually able to look past the downfalls of the book and appreciate the story for what it was worth.

The Story

The book follows the story of a girl who is human (and presumably from earth) after she wakes up on another planet. She finds herself saved by a local who brings her to his family. These people are extremely tall, blue, and either painfully polite or painfully rude. Hm.

K, the main character — who remembers absolutely nothing, hence calling herself K — struggles to be accepted by the people of the planet but not being able to remember anything about herself means that she doesn’t have much choice but to go along with things. She also struggles to breathe but seems to be okay with this.

The people are immediately distrustful of her — accusing her to be in disguise. You see, the planet has been fighting a war with another planet whose people have exhausted all their resources and now want their’s. And so the story goes on.


K is an interesting person . She deals with the situation very well given the circumstances but ultimately I did not like her. I did not connect with her and I disagreed with a great many things — a common theme throughout this book. My main sticking point? The swearing. I hate excessive swearing in books. In a creative writing piece where words are your tool, I don’t care if you’re trying to create a rugged character, they’re so unnecessary when there are so many other more descriptive and satisfying words. *deep breaths* Such crude and uninspiring language serves no purpose and is an immediate turn off, for me.

However, putting this aside I endeavoured to overcome a few other sticking points. The description of the planet was really hard to believe. Russ has mixed up a lot of the colours which instead of being novel and interesting, had me stuck imagining a very dull (colour scheme-wise) world. The native people very much so reminded me of Avatar (as in, the blue people living in trees) except that they have tentacles in their hands (or under their nails?) through which they could convey information. Straight- up, this book is a lot to take in and for this reason (ignoring the writing style) I wouldn’t think this is everyone’s cup of tea.

But Shall We Talk About the Good Bits?

Anyway! Enough negativity. Let’s look at some of the pros of the books, which in my opinion, out-weighed the problems. Firstly, I loved the concept of the world. I thought the way the people lived – the feasts they had each night together with their whole tribe, the dancing in the rain, and the way they worked was great. They grow plants in a fascinating way as they’re able to encourage the growth with their hands. I thought that this in particular was awesome.

One of my favourite things in the book was the healing waterfall. It sounded like so much fun when they went and jumped the waterfall each day after work. It was wicked how the water had healing properties.

The other thing I loved was the topic of sexuality. Russ has done a really good job of diversifying her book in this way. I was thoroughly impressed with her LGBT + representation and I loved how accepted and believable this aspect of the book was. I would go as far to say that Russ’ creation of this fantasy world is pioneering in obliterating gender norms and societal expectations.

A Quick, Spoiler-y Section

So skip to the next one if you don’t want to be spoiled – although it is only a mild spoiler and not plot-related
The physical gender of the people was really interesting. When K helps deliver the baby and sees men and women have the same parts, it was a real surprise but a fascinating concept. I loved this idea for sure though because of the easy way Russ has enabled people to be able to have children together regardless of their gender.

This next bit is major spoilers about the trigger warning
I was very unimpressed with the rape scene. It felt wholly out of place in the story and I thought it was unnecessary. So do be warned that it really not very nice and if that is a trigger for you AVOID AVOID AVOID.

The Mystery

One thing that had me invested in the story was wanting to really know who K was and why she was there. Without spoiling anything I’ll just say that the book leaves us in a very interesting place and I’m absolutely dying to read on. There are so many theories I have about who she is based off some of the skills she subconsciously retains and displays throughout the book. As such, I can’t wait for the release of the sequel.


Overall this was an enjoyable story. Sure it has some prominent problems and I do think that it could have benefitted from a few more revisions. However, if you’re into your sci-fi, or enjoyed a movie like Avatar, then I think if you give this book a fair go you’ll end up loving it just as much as I did!

View all my reviews


buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

 You might also like . . .

If you like your hardcore sci-fi and fantastic world building, A Thousand Pieces of You is for you.

If you like sci-fi that’s borderline what-on-earth-is-going-on, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is for you.

If you like sci-fi with an adorable story, From a Distant Star is for you.

 Have you read Collide?

Share your thoughts below!

End Note

~~ Kirstie ~~


3 thoughts on “Painful World-Building in Collide || Book Review

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