The author's blue-collar bio alone was enough to get me to look at this. Walkinshaw is nothing like your typical novelist, but her life experiences infuse this story of an abused child's rescue and awakening with vivid details and wonder. Can't a gurl just be nozy? Unlike other futuristic outer-space epics I've read, this tale feels natural – you know, granola crunchy – even as unfamiliar lingo slips in, the way it does in everyday life. Having a tribe for support adds an air of hope throughout, along with what I sense is a Native American awareness. Crucially, this takes place in a larger civic system where police seem to be nonexistent. (Step back, and you can question what's preventing a complete breakdown into chaos. Oh, yes, and the casual nudity and affection within the tribal circle while protecting young Aran and the other singles in the community can also be problematic.) There are essentially two parallel novels running here, one informing the other, but their overlap does cause some confusion. Deal with it. The sprawling narrative could use some judicious pruning, distillation, and the physical discipline and overly male authority disturb me – we can discuss it elsewhere, I suppose – I would like to see women included more in the leadership. Yes, the novel's imperfect, but as a hefty debut, it presents an emotionally rich triumph of goodness within a warrior society.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)