IN the world of uniquely charming science-fiction fantasy, Grace Curtis’s debut novel Frontier carved her a place which she has expanded into a whole new and exciting world with Floating Hotel.

World-building which never feels either confusing to the point of isolating, or over-explained and technical can only be achieved with the help of a fantastic cast of characters.

It is here that Curtis’s second novel shines, with the quirky wit of a Wes Anderson film and a deeply grounded and human sense of the importance of found family, this lovable adventure through space seems to be anything other than distant.

The Abeona Hotel is bigger than every character it holds, yet a place of comfort and consistency for them all. Its manager Carl was once a young stowaway, amazed by not only its luxury but the people passing through and working there, and becoming one of them seemed like a great adventure and escape.

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Forty years on and our story begins with Carl as the kind-hearted manager of this buzzing and beautiful hotel which travels through space, picking up all kinds of intriguing or even dangerous guests.

The first thing the reader will fall in love with is the hotel staff. Each of these unlikely friends and colleagues is given a section of the first part of this book from their perspective, explaining their day-to-day life on the ship, what they were hoping to find when they joined its crew, and what they were running away from.

This sense that each character came from a place where they didn’t have the love they may have needed only makes their bond stronger. weaving a found family through every moment of collaboration, frustration and jokes between serving the wealthy – and perhaps corrupt – citizens of the planets around.

However, a storm is brewing. A corrupt emperor in the shadows of every conversation and every problem is lurking.

This future is often bleak, with planets destroyed entirely for resources, organised crime, fighting and rebelling citizens, and academics who have ceased to care about making the world or the future generations better.

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The Grand Abeona Hotel is meant to be an escape from all this, and to Carl, it always has been. However, as the beloved colleagues and guests he’s taken under his wing start to see the cracks of the real world coming in, can he ignore them too?

This is not a story where the dangers and tragedies take over the world, but an altogether more real one. One where in the midst of fear, waitresses joke with each other, where friends watch bad movies, and where there is hope in those you’ve come to rely on at every turn.

It is a deeply pleasurable novel, coming out this month, not only to escape into but to find forming a place in your heart after each revealing chapter, both personal and fantastical.