Top critical review
on 1 June 2016
This book relies on what is an intriguing and novel concept but is portrayed quite simplistically throughout. Although this provides an advantage of not bogging the plot down with quasi-scientific jargon it also means the situation lacks credulity.
It’s the idea of a planet where the ecosystem is supposed to be in such a harmonised balance that any alteration to it causes the planet to react with extreme measures to restore the equilibrium. It’s never made absolutely clear whether the world is supposed to be sentient in any way. It seems that rather than self-awareness it is more a reaction of nature. How any evolutionary processes or development can take place with such a static ecosystem that rejects any change is quite a mystery.
The storyline is very much based on the idea of explorers searching for a mythical paradise, which upon discovering they intend to exploit and thus stop it being the paradise they sought. The idea of the planet fighting back against its exploitation has similar connotations to ‘Planet of Evil’.
Although there are several good characters it seems much of their development has been curtailed at the expense of pushing the plot along at a pace to ramp up excitement. It is a shame that there isn’t more focus on the personal journeys of individuals. It is Professor Shurlough who, perhaps, suffers the most. She is clearly supposed to go through some form of personal revelation so that she is a changed person in some way by the book’s close. However, there is such a lack of attention bestowed upon her development that her almost turn-around doesn’t seem believable.
Likewise, Rez is in a similar situation, making his ultimate decision less heartfelt and meaningful than it could have been. There is also some sort of love story between two of the crew members but it is often so subtle and underplayed that its inclusion seems pointless.
The earlier stages of the book also suggest some type of unrequited love sub plot between Rez and Kaylen. This is further complicated by the arrival of Rose and her connections to Rez which starts to lead to a jealous love triangle type scenario. However, this also seems to be forgotten as the action progresses.
Overall it’s a reasonable story which requires a bit more attention and space to grow. It feels a bit too rushed to live up to its potential.