It’s ironic that the books I get to review aren’t usually the kind I would pick up for myself. That being said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed venturing out of my comfort zone. Michelle Saftich’s The Hatch was certainly no exception. I found myself looking forward to the next slot in my day where I could curl up with this gem of a book and immerse myself in the dystopian world Michelle has created. You could say I was a little hooked.
About The Hatch
Author: Michelle Saftich
“With technology becoming so complex and overriding ethical boundaries and our ever-expanding push into space, we have to develop our senses to their fullest potential. We have to evolve faster.” These are the words her mother spoke the night before she left on an EASA-sponsored mission in space. She never came back.
After her mother’s funeral, her brother also joined EASA. He went missing too.
Having lost both mother and brother, Britta Tate does not want to go with EASA when they come for her at age thirteen, but she doesn’t have much choice. They process her as a psychic intern and begin a gruelling regiment of training. Will her advanced skills be enough to help her find her brother and see through the conspiracies that are starting to surround her?
The Hatch is delightfully ambitious in the way it packs so many significant themes into one tidy parcel; the familial bond, deep space travel and the psychic arts, to name a few. Such complex subjects are explored and interwoven skilfully throughout the book, but the heart of the story is never forgotten – a young girl’s quest to seek the truth behind her mother’s disappearance and in the process, herself.
Britta Tate and everything about her is worlds apart – so to speak – from the world she lives in. She is a free-spirited, warm ray of sunshine – quite literally in many ways. Being someone who enjoys gardening and print-dyes her hair green, she has no qualms dressing in flamboyant fabrics and colours – a stark contrast against the regiment of black uniforms at EASA. This imagery that Michelle creates with her protagonist alone beautifully represents the juxtaposition of the abstract sixth sense with cold, hard science.
The imagery created is so realistic that I found myself picturing these fictitious worlds in my head as if I had been to these places myself. Michelle’s description of the utopian planet Nattalia was a sheer delight. The idyllic, paradise-like qualities of Nattalia’s ecosystems were described in such a way that lent a feel of nostalgia – perhaps reminiscent of Earth before human destruction took its toll. The bland, war-torn Earth pales in comparison, and this almost makes the events in the story a tangible possibility in the not-so-distant future.
Michelle deserves to be commended on the research that went into writing The Hatch. In the Acknowledgements section, she details how she looked into research conducted at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, which involves “the study of collisions between high energy particle beams and how such collisions could lead to the creation of miniature black
holes.” Inspired by this and the work of Canadian PhD student Matt Shultz, the concept of the “hatch” was born to facilitate travel beyond the universe as we currently know it.
All in all, a delightfully fast-paced read with plenty of action, heart and heroism – a great recipe for a great story. I would have loved to see more character development around Jem, Neath and Britta’s father, but this is something that can be easily done in a sequel. Even if you don’t typically go for sci-fi, give The Hatch a go. Highly recommend.
Michelle Saftich was born in Brisbane, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from QUT. For more than 20 years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing,
communications management and media relations.
In 1999, she won a national award for Best News Story at ASNA (Australian Suburban Newspaper Awards).
She spent 10 years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English.
Her debut novel, Port of No Return, was released in 2015 and was inspired by her father’s family story. Its sequel, Wanderers No More, was released in 2017.
Her most recent novel, The Hatch, explores similar themes to her previous works, of migration, family and adaptation, though instead of looking to history for inspiration, she has looked to the future.
Michelle is married with two sons. She is currently a member of the Queensland Tarot Guild.
Get to know Michelle:
Get your copy of The Hatch:
- Kindle edition: £3.99
- Paperback: £11.43
Special thanks to Michelle and her publicist at Henry Roi PR for providing a copy of The Hatch in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.