Given all the recent fuss about this book, I had to read this to see if it really was as bad as everyone was making out. Or perhaps I should say *try*Given all the recent fuss about this book, I had to read this to see if it really was as bad as everyone was making out. Or perhaps I should say *try* to read.
I was able to find someone to lend this to me, and thank goodness, because it truly was bad. I got about 17-20% into the Kindle version before I had to quit. The bad science, the over-the-top and unbelievable racial set up, the bad dialogue, the inane characterization, the cheesy action, etc., all made me give up on this. Also, this book has nothing intelligent or original to say about racism, as the author has asserted elsewhere, and it is crystal clear to me why a lot of people are offended by it....more
I picked this up when it was offered for free because I like science fiction and it sounded like an interesting premise. Unfortunately, this book is sI picked this up when it was offered for free because I like science fiction and it sounded like an interesting premise. Unfortunately, this book is so badly written that I DNF'd it at 17%. The writing is filled with SPAG, clumsy constructions, stilted writing, etc. I've worked with 6-8 graders as a writing mentor, and most of what I read from them was better written than this. I don't say this to bash the author, but to let other potential readers know.
The bad science didn't help. At one point, one of the characters talks about the ozone layer "cracking" and people suffocating because of that. That's perhaps the most obvious silliness, but there are others as well.
I thought the concept of this had promise, but the execution was horrible. This book is self-published, and it shows in many ways. ***MILD SPOILERS FOI thought the concept of this had promise, but the execution was horrible. This book is self-published, and it shows in many ways. ***MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW***
First, there are grammar problems throughout the book. One of the predominant ones was abuse of dialogue tags. Smiled, stood, nodded, and other non-verbal actions ARE NOT dialogue tags and should not be punctuated as such. The author also (grammatically) abuses dialogue tags by using almost anything other than "said" as a tag. This is a beginning writer mistake, and one of my pet peeves.
The world-building was extremely poor. First, the whole concept of infertility is badly explained. The author says in one place that woman "can't conceive, at least not naturally" but never explains how they ARE able to conceive or what assistance they are given. There is a vague reference to a lottery called "The Day of the Chosen", where all women are given the chance to have a child but the children were "born in labs". But does the author mean "born" in labs or "conceived" in labs? Because the next sentence in the book says that "the government had to intervene for women to become pregnant." Huh? If women become pregnant, then the children are presumably NOT born in labs. Then there is reference to Olivia's mother conceiving naturally, getting pregnant, and Olivia being "born". But if children are "born" in labs, then how did Olivia's mother conceal her pregnancy? And how did she give birth at home with no one knowing and no medical treatment? And how did she just suddenly appear with a baby? Even if she had help from one doctor who knew her secret and added her name as a lottery winner, wouldn't a bunch of other people know that no baby had been made for her in the lab where children are "born"? So maybe the author really did mean "conceived" in labs, then perhaps implanted in women. Overall it was confusing and contradictory.
Also, this future society apparently has the technology to construct a teleportation device, but cannot solve an infertility problem? I realize that physical and biological sciences are different, but still that begs credulity. The society also has unmanned drones, tanks, cars that run totally off solar power, and yet "cameras hadn't been used for centuries" and Olivia was stunned to see photographs. Olivia recollects a bit later that "in Genesis it was illegal to take pictures". If cameras hadn't been used in centuries, why would it be illegal to use them? And how in the world would an industrialized modern society function without photo or image documentation?
Those are just a couple of examples of the mish-mash of inconsistent and ill-thought-out world-building. There are many others. I would also like to echo what another reviewer pointed out: that the supposed secret city that Olivia and Joshua end up in has roads leading right to it (??!!), and Olivia and Joshua learn the ins and outs of a car very quickly despite never having seen one before.
Let's talk plot, which seemed a bit contrived at times. Olivia is forced to flee from her home of Genesis because the government finds out that she might be able to conceive naturally and toss her in jail. Lucky for her, her best friend and husband-to-be, Joshua, has family involved with the "rebel alliance" (yes, I kid you not; the author called the dissidents the "rebel alliance"--Star Wars, anyone?...). They are sent the long and risky way out of Genesis to hook up with someone who can take them to a town called Haven; meanwhile, Joshua's mother steps into her teleportation device and meets the kids in Haven. Huh? Why not just stick the kids in the device and get them there safe and sound? That's never answered. Somehow that government finds the kids are at Haven, attacks Haven, and forces the kids to flee towards a secret city that Joshua found on a map (that would be the secret city with roads leading right to it). The farce that the kids are put through in that city is a ridiculously contrived waste of time and man-power, and the story veered into the very-weird when the kids developed telepathic communication and telekinesis powers after some mystery medical procedure. At which point, I wondered again: if this society is that medically advanced, why haven't they cured the infertility problem?
*sigh* It's an mess from beginning to end. This author really needs good editors--both content and line-editing--to make this concept work. ...more
This book was tough to rate, but ultimately, for me, it fell between a 2 and 2.5 star. Technically the wriWarning: this review contains some SPOiLERS!
This book was tough to rate, but ultimately, for me, it fell between a 2 and 2.5 star. Technically the writing is clean. The language was direct, not complicated, and the story was easy to follow. I was initially drawn into the story as I thought it had an interesting premise--a little bit like “The King and I” but in space, and I love sci-fi romance--but as I read further and further, it worked less and less for me. Following is a discussion of why:
1. The world-building was weak and often implausible:
The book includes one typical problem with weak world-building, and that is that everyone on the planet looks the same--”skin color, hair color, Tolari are all the same”. This is simply not scientifically plausible (and a pet peeve of mine). As an aside, I also find it a bit offensive--and I am really really not a PC person so something has to be pretty egregious for me to be bothered by it--that a race that has coppery skin and black hair considers a white woman with blue eyes to be “quite a beauty by our standards”. Wouldn’t they find their own women the most attractive?
The planet also has “no land animals larger than a flutter” (a “flutter” is a small bird-like creature). This lack of diversity of species is not plausible. How did the Tolari come to be by “parallel evolution” when the intermediate species do not exist? And without natural predators, why would the Tolari evolve the ability to camouflage themselves? Not well thought out. On top of that, this society is apparently agricultural, without mechanized transport or animals similar to cows or horses to plow field, haul crops, etc. That stretches credulity, in my opinion.
Scientifically, I didn’t find it plausible that a society that had once had the ability to travel in space (and all the other medical and technical advances that go hand-in-hand with that) would ALL voluntarily forgo using that ability/technology and return to a life equivalent to the Earth’s Middle Ages simply because they tired of “petty rivalries”. I am also skeptical of one of the character’s claims that “a Tolari and a human could produce fertile offspring”. This can only occur if they are the same species, which is (yet again) not plausible because even if humans and Tolari have common ancestors--and I don’t know if that is where the series is headed--the populations have been separated for thousands of years. Plenty of time for the species to evolve separately.
Politically, I am bored with the tired trope of a sole planetary leader, as opposed to a more complex and realistic political system with multiple factions.
I could give more examples or expound on the above, but I think that’s enough for one review. It seems like the author has thrown together some world-building elements that sound nice, but in a closer analysis, don’t work together. Now before someone says, “But wait, the Tolari are an alien culture; you can’t evaluate them by any human standards”, remember that the author has depicted the Tolari as very human-like--in appearance, in emotions (love, fear, etc), in socio-political structure, etc.
Finally, and more generally, the immediate setting of a scene and other characters were often left undescribed or only partly described. For example, I don’t think the reader was told any Tolari character names other than the Sular and Kyza until more than a third of the way into the book; characters were simply a servant, a guard, etc. It didn’t feel to me like the world was fully realized at times.
2. The romance is practically non-existent:
I have a note that reads “64% and no romance yet”. Actually, I don’t think the romance really came out at all until even later. In the story, the Sular and Marianne are together in his household for the equivalent of something like eight Earth years before anything happens, and even then, it just sort of...happens. I also never felt any chemistry between the characters.
3. The random WTF moments occur:
Such as Marianne saying that suicide is a crime on Earth. How exactly are the perpetrators punished? They’re dead.
Such as the Tolari referring to feet as “peds”. This is a classic sci-fi blunder, described in more detail in the SFWA’s Turkey City Lexicon “Call a Rabbit a Smeerp” section.
Such as the Sular telling Marianne, after she has raised the issue of the ruler of planet courting a “nobody”, that “such distinctions mean nothing to us” then forcing her to become Tolari because otherwise she cannot continue to tutor his daughter because his daughter was a “high one” like the Sular and Marianne was not.
Overall, if you can overlook the flawed world-building and don’t mind a very very slow-paced book, you might enjoy this. If you are looking for well-built worlds or a vibrant romance, this is probably not the book for you....more
The only way to read this book is if one assumes it is a farce, making fun of sci-fi tropes. However, I don’t think that is what the author intended.The only way to read this book is if one assumes it is a farce, making fun of sci-fi tropes. However, I don’t think that is what the author intended. But how is one supposed to take this seriously: Non-humanoid aliens crash land on Earth. One of them opens the ship’s hatch for ventilation, which allows two ditzy Earth teenagers to climb aboard. The aliens--despite being, well, aliens--can breath Earth’s atmosphere and speak English (not Spanish, apparently, as we find out later). Instead of booting the teens out on their TSTL butts, the aliens take off again with the teens still on board...and go to a space station, with all kinds of other English-speaking aliens and with an atmosphere that all can jointly survive in--despite, again, being aliens that evolved on other planets. All this even though Earth has been off-limits to these multitude of alien cultures. So how do they know English, much less possess the means or the motivation to speak it? And how would one of the aliens know enough about human evolution on Earth as well as Earth culture to know that calling the heroine an “ape” would be an insult?
I DNF’d a bit later (23%). I just couldn’t take it any more. This reads like a teenager’s take on science fiction, with no basis in reality. It’s a cartoon adventure with a Mary Sue teenage heroine. It’s Romy and Michele’s Outer Space Adventures.
The mechanics of the writing, however, are not as bad as many self-published books I’ve attempted to read, and that’s why this gets two stars instead of one. The first part of the Prologue was poorly-written and confusing, but after that, the writing improved. The author only mildly abuses dialogue tags. For example, “said” is not used that often, and words like “breathed” and “laughed” are sometimes incorrectly used as dialogue tags. Unfortunately, one of the aliens talks like Yoda (e.g. “Just a child [sic] she is”), which is unoriginal and distracting. Overall, though, it’s readable. Now let’s talk about the ugly cover…....more
I've loved this series from the start. This is the final book in the series, and as such it answers all the questions about the black crystal that hasI've loved this series from the start. This is the final book in the series, and as such it answers all the questions about the black crystal that has been plaguing the protagonists since the first or second book. I generally enjoyed this book, although as it got closer to the end, a lot of action was packed into few pages. And I'm still not sure I quite *got* everything (I'll have to go back and reread)
The ending? I won't spoil it, but let's just say I'm torn. I like certain aspects of the ending, others seem too...hm, saying anything more would be a spoiler.
I do recommend this book. It's a must read if you've been following the series....more