My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started this book a couple of years ago and got interrupted early on. Then I got busy and forgot. Usually, if I forget a book, it’s forgettable. However, this was case of bad timing, during a move. I’m a farmer now with a house on 2.5 acres, and one day I went exploring the woods down by our spring. That reminded me of Mother Earth in the blurb for this book. So in spite of my huge TBR pile, I went searching through my Kindle until I saw the title again. Whoa, not a forgettable story once I got past the field trip and the mist where I stopped the first time. Don’t make the same mistake!
What I liked: Mother Earth as a sentient being was my favorite. I still have an unfinished manuscript of my own with the same idea, but Tucker’s is very different in manifestation, the balance concept, and lots of other ways, like how the planet changes humans and vice versa. The world building also impressed me; it’s very inventive. In addition, even though the story pressed my ability to believe, it’s well paced and difficult to predict, so the tension stays tight where needed. I enjoyed the surprises.
Tucker also developed characters of a large cast of adults and kids well enough that I rarely had to ask myself “who is that?” The environmental aspects and moral issues enriched the experience. The main battle and story arc completed, and even though the villain got away, the end left me intrigued rather than feeling cheated like so many series books do. 5 stars for those aspects.
What I didn’t like (but shouldn’t stop anyone from reading): Since the beginning sort of bounced between omniscient and distant third, I thought it was going to be the same throughout. Then quite a ways in, a chapter used another character’s point of view, and then another and another. After I got over the shock, I wondered why the author didn’t just give all the key characters a section or two much earlier. I prefer close third person over omniscient because it’s easier to identify with the main character, but rotating third person starting with the main character and the others soon after would have made me like or dislike each much earlier and made for a more consistent format.
A bigger problem was the editing or lack thereof. I stopped to make error notes way more often than I should have. Subtract one star.
Overall, the story was a rare treat, so I recommend it to anyone who’s tired of formulaic books and looking for something both different and exciting. I think I won a copy of the book or got it in a military tribute long ago; I can’t remember, but I did not receive a free copy in exchange for an honest review. In fact, this is the first time in years I’ve read a book without a review request, but I wouldn’t give a dishonest review anyway. 4 of 5 stars. So congratulations to the author for a series I would revisit in a heartbeat if not for my TBR pile.