Neom is a beautifully imagined novel in the world of Central Station written by Lavie Tidhar. Released 8th Nov 2022 by Tachyon, it's 224 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
This is such an engaging story, told in such lush and exquisitely crafted prose that I was swept away from the first few pages. At its heart, it's a story of longing and family, beauty and danger, and a coming of age adventure with a clever and loyal young protagonist who has a dream and a path to follow. There are several disparate plot threads which wind closer throughout the book though it never comes to a clean denouement and resolution. There are glimpses of overarching themes which center around the interplanetary hub from Tidhar's earlier book but most of the book is word pictures and allegory.
There are also glimpses of homage to the great SF writers of yesteryear, especially Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov, and Bradbury (mostly in the prose - Tidhar can write). It's not derivative in any way, but I did get a definite vibe in places. Although it's the second book set in this world, readers who haven't yet read Central Station won't have any trouble keeping up.
The unabridged audiobook version of the book has a run time of 5 hours and 15 minutes and is expertly read by Rasha Zamamiri. She has a rich, lightly accented, alto voice and does a beautiful job of delineating the large number of characters. She enunciates clearly and well and is never difficult to understand in any way (no mumbling). Sound and production quality were high throughout the read. I alternated between print and audio for this read and when I was reading the print version of the book, I found myself "hearing" her voice for the characters and narration which is high praise.
Four stars for both the audio and print formats of the book. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes