Thursday, January 14, 2016
Book Review: Shatterwold
From the "Back of the book":
"Fleeing persecution and low on fuel, religious refugees from Old Earth find themselves stranded on a planet with a dark history. The promise of a future is shadowed by a dreadful past. Twelve-year-old Rejoice Holly is expected to someday become a farmer's wife, and set aside her dreams of astronomy. But the discovery that their Promised Land is already inhabited isn't helping her struggle between duty and dreams. Peace seems precarious, and the voice of reason is being silenced by one of fear.
As a new danger looms, the friendship or enmity forged could save or doom them all. Will the colonists and natives be able to set aside their differences for the sake of survival?"
So, basically we have here, "What if the Pilgrims happened in the future, and instead of coming to America, they went to a different planet?"
Most of the characters are the stereotypical Puritan types, follow the rules to the point of legalism, don't listen to the kids, do your job, etc. The main character, Rejoice, is a teen girl who wants to study astronomy. Most of the adults don't see how that would help the colony at all, so she's "encouraged" to pursue something "useful."
The neatest part of the book are the aliens. One of the challenges to the status quo of the colony is that the world is inhabited. Foreman did a great job with the aliens, they're actually alien. No "lets slap some putty on his nose and call him an alien" here (I get why Star Trek did it, but why do so many books? Sure, you can still have a compelling story that way, but it's nice to explore a world where imagination is let loose and you can actually explore the "what if's" of what alien life would look like.)
I don't want to spoil the ending, but Rejoice gets to use her passions for practical purposes, and everyone learns some lessons along the way.
This was a fun read, and I really enjoyed it. Four stars.