Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Archangel, by Marguerite Reed

Archangel got a special citation from the Philip K. Dick award for 2015.  The setting is familiar--an earthlike planet that is hospitable to humans is being evaluated for expanded colonization.  Earth is spent and everyone wants to get off, but the 32K or so residents/evaluators on Ubastis are holding out for more study.  Our protagonist, Vashti Lauren, is one of the most influential of these.  She is a standout as a Natch (natural born human), and one who is willing to hunt, kill and eat animals.  Her influence comes as a widow of Lasse Undset, a fierce founder and defender of Ubastis.  She is confronted by her friend's importation of a BEAST, a bio-enhanced soldier, one of whom killed her husband.

The plot resolutions are pretty well telegraphed, though the suspense is maintained.  Vashti is an incredibly emotional woman in a cooler society, and she has to reconcile blinding rage with the realities of the situation.  We really get to know her through this book, the character is very completely developed.  The writing is excellent and fully carries the story.  I enjoyed it all, even as I knew what was coming.  This is Marguerite Reed's first novel, and is meant to be the start of a series.  I would say we'll see more of it, and it might be up for more prestigious awards.  I give it 4 stars for the writing.

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