Human teens attempt to preserve their home on an alien world in Wright’s YA debut.
On the distant moon Sahara, where night lasts 27 hours and is lit by the blue-green glow of a nearby gas giant, human colonists do battle with the chimeras native to this strange world. Rumor has been training to fight them since his mother was killed years ago, but during an overwhelming attack on his settlement, he isn’t able to save his father. Nyx is deaf, though the moon beneath her feet speaks to her in strange ways, encouraging her to abandon her settlement and live among the rebels of the forest. Jude is one of these rebels, seeking peace between the humans and chimeras, which are beings with “great wings and long fingers and mountainous crags of teeth connected to jaws that could crush stars and inhale comets.” Braeden is the son of his settlement’s leader and suspects that the cause of the attacks might have something do with the chimera that his parents imprisoned in their basement. As the enemy prepares for another attack, these four teens will have to find a way to put a stop to the conflict, which will likely end in the annihilation of humans from Sahara’s surface. They only have 27 hours to complete this task, and given the way things have been going, it will be a miracle if any of them survive the long night. Wright writes in a snappy prose that serves the book’s tense action sequences: “The gargoyle launched, clawing the air where he’d just stood. It landed on the other side of him, sliding in the loose gravel as Rumor rolled and came up to a crouch, his blades ready.” The pacing is swift, and the storyline leaps among the perspectives of the four main characters in a way that gradually builds the reader’s understanding of the situation. In addition to its captivating humans-versus-monsters premise, the book features an admirably broad treatment of gender and sexuality—LGBT and asexual characters serve as the norm rather than the exception—in this futuristic world. Readers will come away hoping that further installments are in the works.
An open, imaginative work of YA science fiction.