Taboo Tech

Fiction - Science Fiction
296 Pages
Reviewed on 05/04/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joy V. Smith has been writing stories since she was a kid and was first published in college. Her non-fiction includes articles and interviews with editors, artists, and writers. Her fiction includes fantasy, westerns, and children's stories, but she loves reading and writing science fiction. Exploring the final frontier is fun, as in Taboo Tech.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Olga Markova for Readers' Favorite

Have you ever piloted a spaceship, had a run-in with Interstellar Guards, visited the Museum on Nothing Beyond, or savored jellied garloss and rainbow omelet? Reading Taboo Tech by Joy V. Smith, I felt I was doing precisely that in the company of Lacie and her companion AI Ember. Lacie is an eighteen-year-old graduate of the Caterpillars to Butterflies Academy on her home planet Loyce. Lacie’s parents took off on a mission to explore worlds for old forbidden technology and have left Lacie to continue her schooling at the Stars and Planets Academy. Lacie’s Uncle Sterling is meant to watch over Lacie. Before long, Lacie loses touch with her parents and uncle and finds herself in a breathtaking swirl of interplanetary missions and adventures.

Taboo Tech by Joy V. Smith is a fascinating and thought-provoking sci-fi fantasy novel. I loved accompanying Lacie on her interstellar quests and was captivated by her exhilarating space escapades. Joy V. Smith has a unique talent for presenting intricate spaceships and futuristic space travel in a way that feels like watching a film. At the same time, I enjoyed how Smith explores and portrays the depths of Lacie’s feelings of losing touch with her family, finding new friends, and growing up in the perils of her interstellar adventures, making Taboo Tech a great story of friendship, love, affection, and perseverance. I highly recommend it to fans of sci-fi, fantasy, experience, and space travel.

Liz Konkel

Taboo Tech by Joy V. Smith is a charming adventure that follows Lacie’s adventure after the departure of her parents. Her time with her uncle is cut short when they have an encounter with the Interstellar Guard. Suddenly, she finds herself alone at the space academy with Embers, a companion left behind by her parents. Academy is just the beginning as her graduation comes with even more adventures such as her own ship and encounters with aliens, AI, and princesses just as a conference is about to take place that sets in motion alliances and treaties between planets.

Great details are conveyed through Joy V. Smith’s clever way of describing characters and incorporating little details that help bring the science fiction genre to life, such as Caterpillars to Butterflies Academy, the Interstellar Guard, AI technology, and a commercial for robot pets. The ships have a significant place within this world, helping bring it to life as a means of space travel and reflecting the tone of the world through creative names such as Sun Song, Fire Seeker, Sky Torch, and Happy Daze. Princess Paloma’s journey runs concurrently with Lacie’s own journey as she’s struggling to gain the trust of allied planets and is having an identity crisis. Paloma and Lacie are two young women whose stories are great empowering journeys. The characters are terrific with quirky attitudes that fit within this world that Smith has beautifully created. Each of them has an important role in Lacie’s journey and creates a support system that she often turns to.

One of these is Embers who was left for Lacie by her parents and serves as a connection to them. Their dynamic has a sweet sibling aspect to it that continues to grow throughout the story. Other characters include Tolly who is an innocent and adorable character that wants to name a robot puppy Snuggles, and various allies such as Torrill, Mai Kai, Sophie, and Perris. The characters give the story a lighthearted tone and make you want to embark on the adventure with them. A fun ride, Taboo Tech is a science fiction adventure with AI, aliens, solid female characters, and delightful character dynamics.

Jamie Michele

Taboo Tech by Joy V. Smith is a young adult science fiction novel that revolves around a young woman named Lacie, whose parents have left her in her Uncle Sterling's care until she turns 20. Before leaving, they celebrate her birthday and discuss their plans to search for early civilizations' technology. Lacie is not allowed to know where they are going or what they are doing for safety reasons. Unfortunately, Sterling isn't exactly Mr. Dependable and when he takes Lacie with him on his own expedition, they are caught up to and pursued by the Interstellar Guard (IG). Thanks to some quick AI thinking, Lacie and a companion AI named Embers transfer to a ship where she is hoping to be able to find her way home. However, she is contacted by a friend of her mother's who gets her to a storage depot where a cache of treasures and a message from her mother are held. Lacie learns that the man is part of an academic group that needs her help, but he's unable to reveal more until they're all safely off the planet. Lacie is tasked with arranging a trip to cover her leaving and is picked up by the group at the spaceport. From here, the real adventure begins.

Taboo Tech by Joy V. Smith is really a coming-of-age adventure story, and as the book progresses it becomes more and more clear that Lacie is probably going to be fine in the big, bad universe. As a character, Lacie is aged eighteen but the way we see her mind and thought process operate makes her feel a lot more like a 13 – 15-year-old, and the simplicity of the book's writing style is probably more appropriate for teen readers. My favorite part is the bonding that happens between Lacie and Embers, and Lacie has so much empathy that the line between Embers being an organic entity whose feelings she worries about and the fact that Embers is a wee robot are blurred. It's incredibly sweet. Lacie's series of 'tests' are interesting and I think Smith's writing shines brightest when Lacie's youth and innocence are on display. There is a particular scene where she is hosting—not at her family home because being there upsets her—and we're told that she'd studied being a gracious hostess by reading Miss Manners and books by a certain no-last-name-necessary hostess named Martha. It takes a minute to get into Taboo Tech but it's a real pleasure to read once you're there, and I think others who enjoy youthful science fiction will agree.

Rabia Tanveer

Taboo Tech by Joy V. Smith is a young adult science fiction novel with plenty of adventure and action to entertain you. Lacie Leigh Collier was ready to start secondary school when things changed completely. Her parents left her in the care of her Uncle Sterling as they chased after taboo technology. It was supposed to be simple, but it wasn’t. Before she knew it, she had embarked on a journey with her uncle as he too chased after the prohibited tech. However, the situation altered drastically when Sterling had to leave Lacie with an AI called Embers. Alone, aware of the dangers around her, and overwhelmed at the space academy, Lacie was thrust into a world she wasn’t prepared to tackle. That didn’t mean she wouldn’t be up for the challenge. Lacie was her parents' daughter, after all. A new challenge was the next big adventure. Would she survive it, though?

Taboo Tech had my attention from the moment I read the blurb, and I knew this novel would be fantastic. Joy V Smith created the perfect universe for Lacie to thrive in as well as the ideal atmosphere for Lacie’s curiosity to take flight and ensure that readers were on board. The concept of forbidden technologies was fantastic and handled perfectly. I was curious to see what technology Lacie’s parents were seeking, what Uncle Sterling was after, and those that followed. Lacie’s quest to find her parents and uncle was fun, but her growth surprised me. I enjoyed how open she became, accepted her fate, and took over like the heroine she was. The descriptions of Rainbow’s End were breathtaking, and I felt as if I was right next to Lacie as she made friends. I would highly recommend Taboo Tech.

K.C. Finn

Taboo Tech is a work in the science fiction, adventure, and action subgenres. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and is penned by Joy V. Smith. In this riveting tale of finding your way in the world, we meet our teenage protagonist Lacie Leigh Collier when she is entrusted to her Uncle Sterling's care. But Sterling has his own business to attend to, and when the Interstellar Guard pursues him after questing for forbidden tech, Lacie is left to fend for herself. With only her space academy education and a personal AI to help her, Lacie must face reality quickly and use all her smarts to get herself safely home.

Joy V. Smith has crafted a delightful YA space adventure that will give you everything you want in a space cadet adventure. I especially enjoyed the narrative and character work around the central character Lacie, whose can-do attitude and energy for discovery spurs the plot forward with a lot of positivity and hope. But, of course, there are tough times too and struggles, and the plot twists with her family secrets and her parents were well handled and enjoyably surprising, but it also made sense when you looked back over the story's events. The dialogue is a standout feature for me, too, as it felt futuristic but still relatable and authentically teen, and Embers was portrayed amusingly. Overall, Taboo Tech is a recommended read for fans of YA space adventures everywhere, so don’t miss out on this fantastic journey!