To start with, I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but it's definitely a selling tool because one look at that beautiful cover for the UK edition and I just knew that I had to read this book. It's gorgeous and will sit proudly on my bookshelf of review books.
Now, with that out of the way, it's on to the actual story. Mickey7 is an Expendable. On a colonization mission for the human race, every ship needs one but no one wants to be one - except for Mickey Barnes who volunteers despite repeatedly being warned against it. As an Expendable, it's Mickey's responsibility to do the missions that are too dangerous for humans to perform, like cleaning a radioactive room - side note, not a fun way to die! If Mickey dies, then a new body is regenerated with his memories intact, providing he's done a recent upload.
Mickey7 is working with the rest of the colony to make an Ice World called Niflheim liveable, and he has already died six times, hence the wonderful name Mickey7. However, after some strange events, Mickey returns home only to find a clone of himself, Mickey8, asleep in his bed after he's presumed lost and dead.
Whilst this is a sci-fi book, the themes of death and immortality is handled brilliantly with a lot of questions on top, such as is Mickey immortal or is he even still Mickey Barnes since the original died. And as the book is from Mickey7's perspective, you find out all about the positives and negatives of being an Expendable from his thinking - it's appealing considering his alternative of not signing up, but also has the major drawback of knowing that you'll die again and again and that your life isn't considered that much because of having a backup system in place. Plus getting to watch a video of yourself dying doesn't sound fun. But there's also a discussion about whether Mickey has a soul, for those in the crew that are religious since his previous bodies are destroyed and that surely takes your soul with it. The addition of different cultures and religions struggling with the concept and having their views made clear about Expendables is a fascinating one that was highly welcomed.
What really makes this a standout book though is that these are quite deep topics and yet Edward Ashton makes it so accessible and easy to follow that you don't get lost in thought. It's somehow made light and fun. You also get bits of how humanity ended up at this point thanks to Mickey being a history buff and so he drops in the odd chapter explaining why certain things are the way they are - like why having Mickey7 and Mickey8 around at the same time is not just frowned upon, but also puts everyone at risk if and when they're discovered.
Despite its complex and technical nature, Mickey7 isn't complex or technical. What it is is damn entertaining, fun, hilarious and thought-provoking wrapped up in a pure sci-fi setting. Philosophical ideas, complex themes made accessible and a good sense of humour make Mickey7 not just a memorable read but one of the most enjoyable books I've read. I can't recommend this book highly enough!
Rating: an easy 5/5
A huge special thanks to Rebellion Publishing for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review. I have a few more books to read, but I know that I'll be picking this book up at some point to read again.