Wednesday, April 25, 2012

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Author: Janet Edwards 
Title: Earth Girl
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (16 Aug 2012)
ISBN-10: 0007443498
ISBN-13: 978-0007443499

"Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove to the norms that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter."

I usually don't read YA novels. It's not because I am opinionated about them (I hope I'm not), it's simply because there are too many books to read and I end up being picky about what book I choose from the tall pile standing in my study (or from the virtual pile of e-books). However, if I have, in my hands, a book by an author whom I'm not familiar with, I quickly read a chapter or two to get a feel for her style and her story.

Earth Girl is told in the first person, through the eyes of Jarra, its teenage protagonist. It's late 28th century and portal technology has been around for more than six centuries. Since mankind stepped onto another planet a century after the discovery of the technology, babies incapable of supporting interplanetary portal travel have been condemned to live on earth abandoned by their parents. They are considered handicapped and labelled as "ape"s because of their genetic differences. By the 28th century, this makes Earth a planet nobody cares about and inhabited by people who cannot do otherwise.

This gives the author a very good way of introducing the setting to the reader. Because people are uninterested to know about life on Earth and the conditions of its inhabitants, the fact that Jarra goes through some of the details of life on Earth becomes natural. She even makes the reader feel guilty of not knowing such details.

All Jarra wants is to feel normal and travel to any planet just like the "norm"s (or "exo"s) do. As she is of age to decide what she's going to study at university, she tells her ProMum about her plan to take a course run by an off-world university.

Even though I've only read a couple of pages, Earth Girl strikes me as a book that I would like to read more. I simply would like to hear more about Jarra. I also think that Janet Edwards created a very interesting setting which contributes to my curiosity.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cover Art: Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

For many, Joe Abercombie's Red Country is one of the most anticipated books of 2012. It is going to be a long wait until November however every little new detail gives the impression that we're getting there slowly.

Here's some blurb to whet your appetite:

"Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she’ll have to go back to her bad old ways if she’s ever to see them again. She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old stepfather Lamb for company. But it turns out he’s hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier.

Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels, and massacres, high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, a man no one should ever have to trust . . . ."