cute school story of a developing friendship, capturing the pressures of grad school quite accurately, but breezily...the story is poorly paced, the last third is too rapid, and the ending too abrupt...as if the author had to send the product to the publisher by a certain date, and wrapped it up as fast as she could...the central premise is pleasant: can two aliens achieve a mind link which would nurture and sustain them, where there is no possibility of physical joining? read the text to find out...
This book is beautiful, there’s no other way to describe it. It’s thoroughly character-led, not a lot actually happens, but throughout the course of it you firmly get to know both Jahir and Vasiht’h inside out and get a fascinating glimpse of the Pelted Paradox universe populated by so many different species, many of them genetically-engineered melds of humans and animals and all kinds of wondrous things.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Although this is at heart a Science Fiction story, dealing as it does with alien races and distant planets, it’s also almost New Adult in the way it deals with university life and reaching that crossroad of maturity between education and advancing into the real world. Not that Jahir is a teenager. As one of the mysterious Eldritch (think high elves), he’s around one-hundred-and-fifty years old. Yet because his life has been so sheltered, he’s the character with the most growing to do. He’s sweet and reserved, has impeccable manners and unquenchable thirst for knowledge and new experiences. I couldn’t help but be swept along with him on his new voyage of discovery.
Luckily for Jahir (and the readers) he finds himself an eminently capable guide in Vasiht’h, one of the Glaseah, who is like a centaur… but not quite. Vasiht’h is the complete opposite of Jahir – he’s open and friendly and helpful and the perfect match for his new roommate. But the most curious thing about these two is that quiet, reserved Jahir is full of enthusiasm and passion (though he rarely shows it), while Vasiht’h comes from a species that was effectively created without deeper feelings. They balance each other beautifully and it makes their asexual romance all the deeper and sweeter for their complimentary and contrasting shades. The way their friendship develops and deepens so naturally is wonderful to read about.
This is a quiet story, with nothing more exciting happening than the ups and downs of academic life, and yet I never found it boring. I loved how easily the Pelted races are introduced and how smoothly this universe functions, the depth of implied history and the myriad cultural differences. I was never left feeling confused or wondering how something fitted in, because everything was already there for me to read. This is world building on a meticulous level and I reveled in it.
There’s also a surprising amount of emotion packed into it all. Partly because poor Jahir feels everything so deeply, his esper (psychic and empathetic, made worse by touch) abilities often throwing him in the deep end, but also because of the girls at the children’s hospital. Oh, those girls, such a simple thing to add so much to the story. There are also new friends, new experiences and shared wonders that made this a joy to read. I’ve already bought the second one and I’ll definitely be reading it soon.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
In a way, this is a romance.. only it's *not* a romance. This is about two people falling deeply and totally in friendship, until it goes past that to being a life-long bound... which is kind of a problem when one of them can expect to live for centuries. So it's also about coming to terms with the cycle of life, and it's inevitable end. [word of advice, have hankies at the ready for some parts, you may need them..and take a break to let it all sink in, you'll know when.]
It is also about what it takes to be therapist, what it's like to be an outsider, and basically a slice of life in a fascinatingly rich, complex and above all else *realistic* feeling universe. Ms Hogarth paints a very broad & detailed canvas, with minimal 'brush-strokes'.
Read this book if you like stories that ring true.. and doubly so if you are training to be a therapist, or if you are one or know someone who is. [speaking as one myself, it adds an extra dimension to the read.] But this is very also accessible for those who aren't as well.
In summation... this is well worth reading, re-reading and re-re-reading, just for the joy of meeting the characters.
Set in Hogarth's Pelted universe, in which humans mix with aliens as well as with the races they genetically engineered from animals centuries before, this is a gentle and thoughtful story of two very different telepaths - one Eldritch, from an ancient and withdrawn race, and one sociable, six-limbed furry Glaseah - who go from university roommates to friends and collaborators, largely through the medium of baking.