2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 260 books.
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Book Review: Twin-Bred by Karen Wyle

This Book Review Tuesday post involves travel into a fantastically inventive world of aliens, twins, and super-science. My review copy of Twin-Bred was oh-so-generously provided by the author, Karen Wyle.

[NB 2/13/12 I was just informed by the author that Twin-Bred is now part of KDP Select, which means Amazon Prime members can borrow the book for free, at least from now until May 10, 2012 or so, and everyone will be able to download it for free from Amazon on February 15-16. Happy Reading!! J-E]

This book was fab-you-less. I had a feeling it would be right up my alley when I first saw the blurb describing it. When you start gathering together strings of words that include interspecies diplomacy, intriguing, government, enigma, and ever-cynical (and those are just from the blurb!), you’re sure to catch my eye. When you couple that with compelling writing, complex and interesting characters, a plot heavy on intrigue and drama (heavy, that is, without being melodramatic) and a unique setting, well, you’re sure to catch much more than my eye. You’ll also catch my interest and my admiration.

Wyle’s story has it all – laughter, tears, head-shaking, double-takes (literally, teehee), righteous indignation, a teensy bit of shame at the use-it-and-find-a-new-one attitude of all too many people… Twin-Bred is primarily the story of Dr. Mara Cadell, a scientist with a personal interest in twins that leads her to develop a strategy to save the planet.

Not Earth, mind you, we humans abandoned that one ages ago in Wyle’s clever creation. No, I’m talking about Tofarn, her decidedly original alterna-world which the humans invaded – wait, um, I mean, moved onto – after the Earth was no longer habitable (you can guess why – humans are humans in every context, unfortunately, even science fictional ones). The Tofa and humans are having issues (surprise, surprise), and the good doctor’s plan is aimed at resolving the ever-growing tensions between the races. Tensions that are, in large measure, due to the difficulties of inter-species communication as a result of the Tofa lack of what humans consider a face.

Neato keen, eh?

The aliens are unique, and the world they inhabit is as well. So is the good doctor’s plan. She has decided that the solution to the communication gap is to genetically engineer a race of Twin-Bred – twins consisting of one human and one Tofa that are implanted in human and Tofa birth mothers. Why she thinks this will work is one of the more fascinating elements of the story – she bases her belief in the powers of twin communication on the “relationship” she has with her own twin, Levi. Why “relationship” you ask? Well, um, Levi died when Mara was a wee small baby.

Double neato keen, eh? I couldn’t agree more.

Nothing like a little dead-twin communication to spark scientific creativity, eh? Then again, is Levi really “dead”? Wyle cleverly weaves a psychiatrist into the mix in a manner that leaves the reader wondering exactly what Levi’s status is in this world (or any other) – wonder that only grows as the story develops and the plot thickens.

This is a truly unique trip into a novel, intriguing, and reader-friendly world that is populated by a mixture of good guys, bad guys, and aliens – and believe me, you will shake your head more than once along the way as you try to decide which characters fall within which categories. There are some twists and turns I didn’t see coming (regular readers already know this, but if you are new to my reviews/opinions, let me say this: there is no higher praise from me than when I acknowledge that an author threw me for a loop; when you read as much as I do, that doesn’t happen near often enough for my taste!), and the plot moves along at a brisk yet not over-quick pace. There is a nice balance of science and fiction, with an emphasis on the latter. I read a lot of sci-fi, and occasionally find myself lost in the technicalities; Wyle managed to give enough technical details to keep me feeling like I was following why things worked/happened, but not so many that I ever felt adrift in a sea of overwhelming terminology/concepts.

She also sets the ending up nicely for a sequel – and boy oh boy do I hope she’s writing one! Don’t miss this one kids, I promise you’ll enjoy it…

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