Homeworld (Book Review)
By Philip Ginn
Sci-Fi (New Adult)
I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair review! Homeworld is a great book for a new reader to sci-fi, environmentalists, or young readers (like late teens) who want to get into sci-fi but aren’t sure where to start. I’d categorize it as a “New Adult” book for reasons I’ll explain a bit. Even if New Adult isn’t your jam, this book has a great deal going for it!
What’s it about?
Abigail, a modern-day nineteen-year-old who has struggled her entire life to fit in, undergoes a genetic transformation to treat her illness and becomes super-enhanced. After the change, she gains unusual abilities that lead her to become the key to saving Earth’s future and a link to humanity’s ancient past. Ironically, her alteration makes it harder to fit in, but she does make a few new friends, including a mysterious alien broadcaster who is sending vital information to get humans into space on a new, advanced ship. Abigail makes history by piloting the first space mission to go farther than any previous space mission had gone before—Mars.
With a crew of two new friends, Silas and Gavin, who are each brilliant in their own way, Abigail pilots an expedition to pick up her pen pal, who turns out to be more alien than she expected. A trip within the solar system becomes interstellar when their new shipmate requires them to travel to the Kronos system to perform a rescue of a species whose planet is spiraling to its doom and who may also be linked to Earth’s ancient past. Earth will never be the same once Abigail and her friends return home with half a million alien refugees.
See Earth through the eyes of ancient colonists who, despite deadly challenges, are determined to build a civilization on an exotic foreign landscape where life is incredibly diverse and abundant, sky water falls, and the oceans are filled with magnificent and intelligent creatures. Will they repeat the mistakes they made on their Homeworld that led to its destruction, or will they find their place within the rich and balanced ecology of a new world?
This book is interesting because while it’s a book for a slightly younger crowd, it also feels a bit like a classic sci-fi, which appealed to me greatly. I think it’s because of its scope. This book brings in a lot of sci-fi topics on top of environmentalism. In truth, I’d almost hazard to call this book a cli-fi, as it’s probably the biggest theme.
There’s also superheroes, immigration, first contact, theory into what killed the dinosaurs, planet colonization, aliens, and friendship. It would be spoilers for me to get into any one of these in great detail, but while this feels like a lot of tropes in one novel, it worked well. All of these facets were interconnected in a way that served to complement one another rather than compete.
I personally liked the environmentalism aspects and the obvious jabs at political lobbyism, oil companies, and xenophobia.
In terms of the science fiction stuff, I enjoyed the aliens - their culture and physiology were interesting and fun. came When it to the science aspects, it was a little bit far-fetched - we have characters going into space with no astronaut training, for - but again, this isn’t a hard sci-fi so I was fine with it.
Now, while the characters were likeable and engaging, this isn’t really a character-driven story. There is so much going on in terms of the story that while the characters aren’t flat, Abigail’s struggles to fit in are mentioned but we don’t really see a trajectory of her overcoming that, in such as flashbacks. As such, it doesn’t have the coming-of-age story I was expecting, but the rest of the narrative is so compelling it didn’t really need it. In truth, seeing her suffer through high school might have been a bit boring.
Yet, I think a lot of young people will identify with Abigail and Gavin - perhaps their less than robust backstory will allow younger readers to place themselves in their positions in a sort of vicarious experience.
Overall, it’s definitely a fun and engaging sci-fi about a young woman with extraordinary powers who uses them to try and save our planet and others in need. It’s a book I’ll be saving for my daughters when they’re older.
Thank you again to the author for the physical copy!