*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Earth and Air – an Earth Girl novella by Janet Edwards #Brainfluffbookreview #EarthandAirbookreview


I have been a solid fan of Edwards’ writing – see my review of Scavenger Alliance, here. So when she contacted me to ask if I would like an arc of her latest novella, Earth and Air, which is a spinoff from her popular Earth Girl series – see my review of Earth Girl here – I was delighted to accept in return for an honest review

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else uses interstellar portals to travel between hundreds of colony worlds, 17-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, abandoned by her parents to be raised a ward of Hospital Earth, she lives a regimented life in one of their impersonal residences. Jarra is spending the summer at New York Fringe Dig Site with her school history club. While her friends search for lost treasures on the ground, Jarra is airborne in a survey plane and hoping to become a qualified pilot, but the sprawling ancient ruins of New York contain the lethal legacies of the past as well as its treasures.

It was a real treat to rebond with Jarra, the chirpy disaster-magnet who is the main protagonist in Edwards’ popular Earth Girl series. I had forgotten just how effective Edwards’ writing style is when depicting the alliances and frictions between a group of young teenagers. It could so easily become tedious or petty, but never does. The other standout feature of this entertaining series is the fascinating backdrop – a ruined Earth, where buildings are lethally unstable yet packed with archaeological treasures and discoveries eagerly awaited by populations scattered across the stars.

Novellas are not generally my favourite reads – too often, I have just become engrossed only to find the story abruptly finishing. Only a handful of my favourite writers can, in my opinion, adequately control the pacing and narrative arc so that the ending isn’t an unpleasant jolt. Edwards is one of them. At no time did I feel I was being short-changed with either the characterisation, setting or the storyline which contains plenty of adventures and shocks. The other outstanding quality of Edwards writing, particularly with this series, is the chirpy, upbeat tone that pervades most of the story. Unlike so many YA books, I get the sense that most of the people are trying to do the best they can most of the time. This is definitely one I will be introducing my granddaughter to next time she comes to visit – I think she will love it. With the absence of bad language or gratuitous violence, it is an ideal read for young teens – as well as those of us a lot longer in the tooth. This one is far too good to leave just to the youngsters. Recommended for fans of adventure and science fiction.

20 responses »

  1. That sounds like such a great set-up for a sci-fi series with how only the handicapped live on Earth and I am curious how the author makes the whole world building work. I agree with you that only some authors can write novellas well. They can feel rushed or too short otherwise. but it seems that wasn’t an issue with this one. Great review!

    • Thank you! The idea of a largely abandoned Earth works really, really well, Lola. And the main protagonist is a pleasure… her journey is both interesting and easy to relate to.

  2. I’m going through all my books and cleaning and found I had copies of the first two books in this series. I just never had time to read them, but your review has reminded me that so many readers love this series!

  3. I’m a big fan of Janet Edwards, too. I love her Earth Girl series and have read all the Hive Mind books which are out so far. I’ve read some of her novellas, but not all of them yet. I’ll have to take a look at this one. Thanks, Sarah, for reviewing it and letting me know about it!

    • You’re very welcome Jan. Have you read Scavenger Alliance? That is my personal favourite – I also appreciate that her books are very reasonably priced.

    • Yes, I’m hoping so, too, Rae. She is coming to stay with us for a while once she breaks up for the summer holiday – which we’re really looking forward to.

  4. The idea of an earth only inhabited by the disabled is intriguing. Jarra sounds like fun too. I tend to struggle with novellas for the same reason you mentioned, so I’m glad to hear this one worked so well for you.

    • They do grumble at each other and quarrel – it’s what teens do, after all. But she has such a bouncy approach to the whole business and quickly moves on that we don’t get pulled into the pettiness. It’s nicely done.

  5. I remember the author and your recommendation, but my experiences with YA make me wary of trying it. I still enjoyed your review and maybe one day I’ll become part of the target audience. 🙂

      • My cup of tea or not, I still enjoy your reviews. And every now and then I do come across something outside my usual reads that gets me interested – but I won’t know until I read your review. 🙂

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