This week’s deja vu review is from 24th October, 2012…
I met up with Janet Edwards at last year’s Fantasycon, when she told me that Earth Girl was due to come out in the coming year and we also exchanged a few words at Eastercon, when I heard enough about the book to put it onto my reading list. So I loaded it onto my Kindle for the journey to Brighton for this year’s Fantasycon.
BLURB: In the far future, the universe is divided into two different groups: the Norms, who can portal between planets, and people like Jarra, Earthgirlthe one in a thousand born with an immune system that doesn’t allow them to survive anywhere but Earth. Norms come back to Earth for one reason: to study human history – like the ruins of what was once New York City. But only if they don’t have to interact with any Apes along the way. 18-year-old Jarra has a plan to change that.
REVIEW: This debut novel is a delight – it is marketed as YA, but this adult science fiction fan found it completely engrossing, as did my husband. Jarra is a strong protagonist – spiky, yet believably vulnerable. About halfway through the novel, there is an episode that appears to have split Earth Girl readers into those who feel that it is unrealistic and those who don’t. I’m in the latter camp. The series of events leading up to the shock that catapults Jarra into behaving as she does is entirely convincing – as is her reaction.
So Edwards has set up a strong female character and an intriguing situation – has she also managed to depict a sufficiently detailed and complex future? Absolutely. One of the characteristics of YA fiction – which is probably why you see a lot more Urban Fantasy, rather than Science Fiction in this genre – is that it is generally fast-paced. So it is a big ask for authors working with a primary world where the surroundings and customs are significantly different from our own time – unlike most urban fantasy offerings which are mostly set in modern cities with a few extra supernatural touches laid over the familiar landscape – to produce a satisfactory setting without holding up the narrative drive.
Edwards manages to provide plenty of interesting insights into her future world as part of the plot progression – an achievement a whole lot more difficult than the author makes it look. In fact, the world and the reasons why archaeological teams are frantically mining these decaying cities was – for me – one of the main treats of this book.
Any grizzles? Well – it is a minor niggle, but I did feel that I would have liked the ending to be slightly less… tidy. But that observation doesn’t detract from the fact that Earth Girl is a thoroughly engrossing read by a talented author, who is definitely One to Watch.
I think this is such a good idea to revisit past reviews and give a little bit of attention to some slightly older books.
Yes – and it’s interesting to see how my attitude and understanding of an author’s work has changed over the years, too:)).
It sounds like you know Janet personally, if I’m reading that right. That is so cool! One day I will read this series😁
Yes! I met up with her at the first Fantasycon I ever attended back in 2011 – and we generally spend a bit of time catching up whenever we see each other. I love her writing and she’s also a really nice person:)).
A young protagonist does not necessarily turn a novel into YA-only territory – on the contrary if the character is well-drawn, as seems to be the case here, all that matters is that we connect with it and care about what happens to them. And the premise for this book sounds quite intriguing as well…
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
It is definitely aimed at the YA market – but I love the vibrancy of Edwards’ writing, anyway. It was something I hadn’t fully appreciated after reading that first book of hers:)).
Oh I loved this book! I haven’t thought of it in years, thanks for the blast from the past!
You’re very welcome, Mogsy – and Earth Prime is set in the same world, which is why I featured it:))