Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: S.E. Wendel
Publisher: Epic Press
Rhys is having a hard time adjusting to his twin brother suddenly being older than him. He doesn't understand why he can't go out and explore and meet the natives of Terra Nova. One day when he runs away to explore, he finds a native named Zaynab. Instead of running in fear and fighting, they become friends and start to learn each other’s language. Hugh is really worried about his brother, but he doesn't want to make it any worse than it already is. Zeneba, the mara of the Charneki, wants to meet with the humans and see if they can come to a peaceful understanding. The General of the humans doesn't like the Charneki and decides to go to war to drive them out of their city. Rhys hears of it and runs to warn Zaynab. Yaro, the captain of the guard of the mara, follows Zaynab and thinks Rhys is trying to kill him. Hugh comes to save Rhys, thinking he's in trouble, and shoots and kills Zaynab in the process. Zeneba no longer wishes to talk to the humans, but kill them all in revenge of her brother.
Wendel does a wonderful job letting the reader see Terra Nova and the Charneki through a humans eyes. The way Wendel describes the anatomy and even the skin of the Charneki is breathtaking. You are taken to a world where an alien species is almost human but not quite. Even the landscape that is described is amazing. It is easy to empathize with Rhys as he battles with his feelings about living in a new place. There is even a slight environmental message as Rhys is upset over the humans destroying the new beautiful planet. Wendel also shares a subtle message of tolerance and understanding those who are different from us as Rhys connects with the Charneki race. Seeing the friendship between Zaynab and Rhys is heartening and hopeful. Although the loss of Zaynab is heartbreaking, it speaks of the rashness of misunderstanding. This is a wonderful story of acceptance and friendship, even when someone is different and you don't understand. A great read for anyone wanting something fresh and new and needing a better understanding of accepting others.
*Contains mild language and moderate violence