I was delighted to be selected by Jana Williams to review her latest novel – Freefall. She found me on Preethi Venugopala’s website who has also reviewed this book. Humbled to have found mention on Preethi’s blog- thank you so much for the honour.
Genre: Sci-Fi Fiction
Author: Jana Williams
One of the five daughters of a con man, Jana Williams grew up watching the stars from the backseat of the family sedan. She worked in book stores and read a lot of books to teach herself about writing and fiction. One of her jobs required her to stand at the tailgate of the plane at 25000 feet and her view of the moon from there was just phenomenal. Discovering a love for sci-fi was the next step which let her to explore the sciences- botany, biology, astronomy and geology.
With such an impeccable array of growing up influences, is it a wonder that her first novel explodes in one’s imagination?
Our tale begins in 2418 when Paris is buried knee-deep in sand and deep space exploration is quite a thing of the present. In fact teams are trained and set into space to colonise habitable planets with Earth-like atmosphere. A group of 150 colonists have been just jettisoned aboard the Vera Rubin into deep space journey to a new planet in the Three Sisters star system.
A new sleep inducing drug has been discovered which allows for suspended deep sleep akin to hibernation. This allows for conservation of food rations, energy and fuel while on a mission in space. Elle is one of the 150 colonists who begins to suspect something amiss with the drug and its side effects.
She begins to investigate this anomaly, when her partner-lover turns violent on her. Terrified, she escapes from the ship just before it’s about to dock at its final destination – a space station above the new planet.
” I knew there would be questions in space, and I felt up to the challenge. I just never imagined the questions would start with me.”
– Vera Rubin, Transit Log: Elle
The first one to land on the planet called Amalie Noether, Elle quickly acclimatized to its atmosphere and begins to explore it. Her training as a botanist comes in handy and she starts to make some amazing yet startling discoveries. It seems the planet is forming a symbiotic relationship with her to aid her sustenance.
Suppressed memories from her childhood start to bubble up, giving her answers to her identity; questions that have been haunting her over the years.
Meanwhile an asteroid hits the space station above, hurtling one team of the colonists into their escape pods. They begin to descend down on the planet and look all set to create disharmony in Elle’s perfect world.
What happens when Elle finds herself face to face with her fellow colonists? Are they happy to see her alive? Will they learn all of the planet’s secret together? Is there truly a sinister plot being hatched by Control?
Lasting impression on me:
This was an unputdownable read for me as I am totally into sci-fi and adore Star Trek / StarWars type of fiction a lot. Jana Williams has to be congratulated for writing a thoroughly enjoyable book. Her detailing of processes, events and concepts is so well researched that I truly believe some of them are true.
Imagine a drug that will allow one to hibernate for years, retaining their youth and body. And that neon marker that makes everything glow – I have written to her to let me know where I can find one 😉
The writing is crisp, without any undue belaboring of any point/event/person. The plot is well laid out and each character fits their role like a perfectly executed jigsaw puzzle. The research of worm holes, deep space and scientific jargon is to point and felt real.
I particularly loved the bits where Jana has described the plant life and nature of the new planet. Her descriptions of the two moons and how they rendered the skies a palette of colours is something I am dreaming of now.
I can hardly wait for the next one in the series. Fingers crossed it comes out sooner than later!!
I have decided on a 4 stars rating for this book as I really liked it a lot. I would recommend this book to lovers of sci-fi especially though folks with a wider range of imagination would love it too. Give it a read if you love everything nature too.
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