Proving character-driven science fiction is not an oxymoron, Ashara Vinn pulls readers into her world on page one and never lets go.
It’s a world in trouble: Earth-Two, long settled by humans, will end in 10 days. Calling up all elemental practitioners to help, the Council elders have averted catastrophe only by repeatedly rewinding time back 10 days before the end. With each rewind, they become weakened echoes of their original selves. Now in the fifth rewind, their efforts focus on eliminating the Mages—formerly human “ether manipulators” whose elemental energies have consumed their humanity—causing the crisis. Drafted as an Ethereal, Asha’s pleased but perplexed—she’s shown no powers so far. Why is Loken, the non-Ethereal guy who dumped her last year, leading her training group? Her fellow trainees are far ahead, having had years to develop their powers, but after a slow start, Asha connects stunningly with hers. A Mage killed her younger brother, so she’s eager to go after them. She’s more conflicted about the largely peaceful Believers who worship the two suns as gods and oppose the intervention. Fully realized characters from Asha to the walk-ons lend their intense authenticity to the plot, which straddles the line between fantasy and science fiction, and deflect attention from the rubber science.
This world has depth, mirroring the memorable characters who populate it. (Science fiction. 12 & up)