To be fair, I had to wait a few days after finishing the book to prepare this review as I was still confused somewhat about the order of events, and I was left hanging after the last two sentences of the book, I was looking for the last chapter. To wit:
“But if it wasn’t… I went back for… Who was it?”
“We’ll come to that,” he said gently, and turned away from the window. (Names were omitted to prevent giving anything away.)
I thought, “Well? Maybe I misunderstood, was it… the child? Who?”
“The novel explores friendships on the closest level and shows how even the tightest friends can be torn apart along emotional lines. The presentation of this dilemma between the two main characters draws you in and you find yourself taking sides yourself.
The author’s use of the ‘Theory of Relativity’ to move the story well into the future was very easy to understand and seemed very natural and believable. Since the future setting of the bulk of the novel was a KEY point, the author spent enough time getting you used to the idea of many years passing before using the advanced technologies that arrive to progress the storyline.
The diverse alien life forms that are introduced later in the book are described in enough detail to give you a mental idea of what they would look like. One of the first ones introduced was called a ‘fountainhead’ because of the way it’s appendages started at the top of its body and hung down like jets from a fountain.
Although the author took pains to describe the new alien races that were introduced, I found myself chuckling at the ‘Fountainheads’ as my first picture of them in my mind was of a weeping willow tree being not a fountain. I snickered as the author described the hanging appendages (limbs), which really described that tree well. The other major alien race, ‘Musk Dogs’, reminded me of the cartoon dog named ‘Scooby-Doo’, and I couldn’t help but wonder if that wasn’t the author’s inspiration for how they moved and acted.
The prologue starts in the future, describing a meeting of a multi-world alliance, hearing about a woman describing what was happening aboard her ship as they chased an alien craft named ‘Janus’. Then, her ship jumps into the future beyond the time of that alliance, and the ship becomes the future. The novel ends by dropping back to the ‘past’, to that alliance meeting saying that Bella may be alive in their future. Confused? It was confusing to me, too. The novel held its own without the Prologue or the Epilogue, both of which were in different time periods (future/past), relative to the Rockhopper… Perhaps it would work if they were more a part of the story.
With a small crew of fewer than 200, recreating a human population of any size would not be feasible due to the low gene pool, but the implications of that scenario were not explained, even though many other similarly important details were.