Book Reviews,  Coming of Age,  Dystopian,  Science Fiction

Book Review: Anika’s Gift

From the back cover: “Explore the strange new world of Anika with Earth’s first colony ship sent out after the dramatic events depicted in the award-winning book, Over. It’s humanity’s first settlement on a new world and bizarre events endanger everything. The animals disappear and the plants from Earth are stunted, threatening the survival of the colony. The children are developing new abilities and become aloof. They hear something called The Song that frightens the adults who don’t understand what it means and fear for their children. Follow the young Anikan, Tacey, and her search to understand the changes and to stop the humans from repeating humanity’s atrocities on Earth and destroying their own future. This intriguing blend of science fiction, philosophy, and spiritualism explores the search for empathy in a world driven by technology, against the solemn backdrop of the song, The Sound of Silence.”

After reading and enjoying Over, I knew I’d be on board for the sequel. Over is a novel set on a dystopian Earth, a genre I’ve often enjoyed as a way to explore human nature in original, challenging circumstances. But it became clear to me that Anika’s Gift would push the storyline into the sci-fi genre, and I hoped it wouldn’t delve into space opera territory. (Nothing against the genre, it’s just not my particular cuppa!) Happily, the adventures in space were brief and interesting, with a rather perplexing and terrifying challenge presented to the hopeful colony ship traveling far, far from home.

Soon enough though, we’ve landed and are setting up housekeeping on the planet Anika. Author Sean Curley delves into the details of this massive endeavor, which I love. I’m a detail nut. I enjoyed learning how the colonists set up their town, built their roads, established a suitable government, found their food (that was quite a nail-biter adventure!) and began building everything they would need to raise their families.

A leap ahead in time, and now the towns are home to many children born on Anika, with no personal memories of Earth. And now the book becomes their story. Curley writes real people with richly developed personalities, flaws, and talents. These are people I cared about, and when they ran into seemingly impossible challenges, I’d already become invested in them and couldn’t put the book down.

Anika’s Gift is a satisfying, absorbing read that left me craving the third book in the series. I’ll be watching eagerly for it.

I appreciate author Sean P. Curley providing me with a copy of his book for review purposes. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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