Sunday, February 18, 2018

Tangled Planet by Kate Blair

 Ursa has known no life beyond her spaceship, the Venture.  The ship left Earth 400 years ago to start a new human civilization on Beta Earth.  Despite their careful planning, there have been some glitches with the resettlement.  The Venture was delayed in its arrival while some of the terraforming ships showed up earlier than expected resulting in overgrown vegetation.  While many of the colonists are thrilled to be off the ship and starting life on the new planet, Ursa is afraid of the wide open spaces which have already claimed lives, including her best friend Maia.  While on Beta one night, Ursa comes across a dead body and swears she saw a large creature with sharp teeth in the shadows even though no animals have been released on the planet yet.  Soon, Ursa herself is under suspicion as the dangers and deaths mount.

I am a big fan of Blair's first book, Transferral, and made the effort to backdoor the system to get this one by ordering it from Amazon Canada since it won't be released in the U.S. for a few more months.  As in many situations where my expectations are high, I have to wonder if that is a factor in why I can't rave about the book.  Oh, sure, I enjoyed it while reading it, but in the end there is nothing unusual about it.  

I was excited about the possibilities within the first few pages with the description of the Clearsighters who believed it was all a hoax and did themselves in at an airlock.  What a great addition to the story of a long space flight!  What's more, it was something I hadn't read before AND it felt like such a great reference to the "fake news" dumbasses who, unfortunately, are not standing anywhere near an airlock.  I also was taken by the fact that Ursa had supportive adults around her and she wasn't immediately on the run from nor a suspect by the people who mattered.  I get weary when the main character has to keep digging out of a pit that continues to collapse.  

But after that attention-getting beginning the story became more typical.  There's nothing wrong with it and there's a good deal of action, especially for a short-ish sci fi book, but the twists didn't keep me turning pages as quickly and the betrayals felt too clearly broadcast.

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