In the first installment of debut author Osgood’s sci-fi series, a young woman in the near future, with the aid of an alien race, leads a charge to save a dying Earth while facing hostility from industrial corporations.
Corilan Troxler, like everyone else in 2040, needs protective clothing to withstand Earth’s toxic atmosphere. After having a vision of a world completely ravaged by environmental neglect, she hears a voice belonging to a being who eventually identifies himself as Earthos. He’s one of the Lumenians, an alien race that created humans and wants to save them before they go extinct. Earthos becomes Corilan’s “ancestral guide” and gives her some powers, including the ability to quickly heal. Then Corilan’s estranged father appears and tells her that he wants her to join the School of Ancestral Guidance alumni organization. As a member, she leads SAG’s Earth Renaissance Show tour around the United States, educating citizens about environmental issues via seminars. Before long, various companies in polluting industries start firing SAG-member employees and enlist a shady organization called Assurance Incorporated to take down Corilan and the Earth Renaissance Show. Meanwhile, Corilan offers anyone who pledges themselves as Earth’s guardians (or “allegiants”) a stay in a mysterious “Ephemeral Passage,” where they’ll be safe until the Earth is “rejuvenated” for repopulation. The story’s cautionary message is decidedly overt, but its arguments are relevant to the present day; for example, it features companies continuing to expand while employing “environmentally destructive inventions.” Similarly, it’s believable when these corporations influence the government to turn against the Earth Renaissance Show, particularly after its seminars start questioning government-approved standards. Corilan is a smart, able protagonist; although the highly advanced Earthos occasionally helps her, he typically encourages her to “figure out” problems on her own. Not much action happens in the story given the book’s length, but the pace maintains its momentum with the ever present menace of ASINC, led by CEO Thomas Hunter. There’s more that’s left to explore, particularly regarding the Lumenians and the Ephemeral Passage, and an explosive ending perfectly sets up the next installment.
A sci-fi tale with a clear, commendable environmental message and a winsome, brainy superheroine.