Tallah by Jonathan R. Miller


The Sequel to Gravity Breaker
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Miller (Gravity Breaker, 2016, etc.) picks up Tallah Williams’ story in this second installment as she uses and abuses her gravity-controlling power in an attempt to fit in to—or remake—the world she lives in.

As the story opens, 20 years after the events of Gravity Breaker, Tallah is no longer a young teenager alone in the world; she’s a powerful woman who built a new city out of the Florida wilderness for African-American residents. But when Tallah’s childhood friend stabs her, Miller flashes back two decades to show readers how things got to this point. It begins with Tallah living rough, alone, in San José, California, learning the limits of her gravity-controlling powers and experimenting with rendering things invisible by manipulating a thin coating of dust. She carries this dust with her and even names it, which shows just how alone she is. Then she meets Harmony, an older teen who likes drugs, the environment, and having fun. But after Tallah reveals her powers to her, Harmony hatches plans involving career criminals, which drives a wedge into the girls’ friendship. Later, feeling betrayed and aimless, Tallah destroys part of a national park and ends up founding the city of Fort Mose, named after the first free African-American settlement in America. But founding a city comes with its own problems and dangers, leaving Tallah with the same question: where—and how—does she belong? As in Miller’s first book in the series, the protagonist is engaging; she’s flawed and believable while still maintaining a fundamental relatability. Again, the sci-fi elements are grounded in heavy, timely societal issues; here, they involve race and gender, with Tallah as an African-American woman trying to survive in a system that's stacked against her. The time frame occasionally slows down or jumps forward—years of Tallah’s life are covered in a few paragraphs—but the prose is mostly smooth and controlled. The ending promises another installment as well as something that will change the story’s fictional world.

A nice addition to the series with all the same strengths as the original.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5394-9590-1
Page count: 226pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2017


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