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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Children of Scarabaeus

Children of ScarabaeusTitle: Children of Scarabaeus
Author: Sara Creasy
Page Count: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: sci-fi romance
Copy for review obtained via NetGalley in anticipation of an honest review

50 words or less: Edie and Finn are on the run from the Crib and attempt to take refuge in the Fringe worlds that are dependent on the Crib for survival.  When they're recaptured, Edie is horrified to find out that her upbringing is small potatoes to what the Crib is up to now.

After reading and enjoying the first book in this duo, Song of Scarabaeus, I was eager to have the chance to read this, the second book, and I'm pleased to say that it did not disappoint.

The elements that I enjoyed so much in the first book- the science, the authenticity of the relationships between the characters, especially between Edie and Finn, and the power dynamics- are here again in full force, but the focus of the story this time is on the impact that our decisions and actions have on the world around us, both in terms of human cost and in terms of environmental cost.

You see, the Crib has a very simple reason for wanting to use the biotech that Edie is so proficient with to renovate seemingly uninhabited worlds into ones ready for colonization.  Turns out the population in Crib worlds has exploded and the environment is no longer able to sustain that level of habitation, let alone any future growth.  The Crib has kept this information a secret, but the fact is, if they don't find a new source of food and natural resources, then the population will collapse and the world as everyone knows it will end.

That doesn't sound familiar, does it?

To that end, Natesa, Edie's mentor-cum-jailer as she grew up, is trying to start a cohort of children who are able to not only do the level of tech work that Edie does, but are also completely loyal to the Crib, instead of to the worlds they discover, like Edie.  When the Crib recaptures Edie and Finn, it doesn't take Edie long to find out about the children and to be disgusted by their exploitation.  As the story progresses, Edie has to discover the consequences of her actions, both the intended ones and the unintended ones, and figure out how she's going to continue to be a person of integrity while also making sure her gifts aren't used for evil.

Defining what evil is, though, is a whole different thing, and Edie quickly realizes that things aren't black and white.  This is especially true as she navigates the murky waters of romance with Finn, even moreso when a mysterious cadre of people from his past resurface.

I definitely recommend starting with the first book and reading this one right afterwards- it reads like one long story divided into two pieces, as opposed to a two book series.  Although I had hoped for more books following this one, I was satisfied with how things ended up, and the lesson and the mission of the story was clear.  I rooted for Edie and Finn from the beginning to the end and I wasn't disappointed.  I'm very excited to see what other fantastic adventures this author has up her sleeve.  You can bet I'll be there to read them.

Overall Grade: A
 
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