Hall proves adept at action, tension, and suggestion, offering enticing alien mysteries that suggest there may something more terrifying in the cosmos than human betrayal and terrorism. Still, much of this follow-up’s power comes from the interpersonal, as Liz must choose whether to trust her brother, the apparently power-mad Jackson, New Generation leader who insists that he knows how to save them all—but only if the Green Grow’s council accepts his curious orders.
The story’s significant suspense comes from the terror of uncertainty, especially who (or what) to trust when the stakes could not be higher. The Green Grow proves a pressure cooker as Hall’s people scheme and spy. Liz proves a memorable hero, but wily, unpredictable Jackson continually steals the show, getting under his (apparent) adversaries’ skin, charming children and the mother of Liz’s lover, urging the ship toward the distant planet Omega for reasons only he knows—and toiling on a mysterious machine. The suspense (and the answers) prove so engaging that that may appeal even to readers outside the science fiction fold.
Takeaway: This tense S.F. thriller will appeal to readers who relish character-driven suspense and intergalactic mysteries.
Great for fans of: Elizabeth Bear’s Dust, Emma Newman.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A