Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book of the Week - Tankborn series by Karen Sandler

Sandler, Karen
Awakening
Tu Books 9781600609824

The second book, Awakening, in the Tankborn series is out this month and is an interesting follow up to Tankborn. Not wanting to spoil the first book, if you haven't read it yet, I'll try to write about it cryptically enough to not give away too much. What I really liked about Awakening  is that, like the first installment, it features strong female characters who are proactive and are dealing with issues of religion, race, and politics. Food warehouses are being blown up and Kayla notices the scrawled letters, FHE, freedom, humanity, equality. Could there be two movements working to change this stratified culture made of trueborns of high and low status and tankborns, a slave class? This story moves at a more measured pace than the first one and would best be read following Tankborn. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Sandler, Karen
Tankborn
Tu Books 9781600606625
Science fiction is definitely experiencing a renaissance. Kayla and Mishalla are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, best friends who know that when they reach fifteen they will probably never see each other again. After things on Earth fell apart, a colony of settlers moved to another planet. They instituted a strict caste system based on those who funded the migration and the people who indentured themselves to go. Several decades before the story starts, The Infinite(the GENs' deity) inspired a trio of prophets to create the GENs to do the work that had been done by low-borns and infused them with animal DNA to enhance the skills they would use in working. Mishalla has been sent off to care for low-born orphans but they keep disappearing, taken away in the night. Kayla, who has extremely strong arms is sent to care for an elderly trueborn man who strangely enough has a tattoo similar to the tattooed dataports on the GENs cheeks. Sandler deftly weaves strands of race, privilege, politics, greed, and romance into a fascinating culture. The young protagonists are very real and exhibit great strength of character. Another book that I enjoyed that used tattoos to signify caste was The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington

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