FOr me, this was an extremely difficult book to review. Linell writes with a wonderful style and phrasing. I was truly enchanted at the start by her style and wanted to see where the story went.
Unfortunately, the quality of the writing couldn't keep me excited once the plot started unfolding.
There were a number of things that broke into my immersion in this novel. Individually one wouldn't have been a major flaw, but when all of them were brought together, it turned a book I was enjoying into one that frustrated me on several levels.
*warning, to completely go over why I was disappointed, this review will note some plot elements, I tried to avoid giving any spoilers, but I found it impossible to avoid discussing plot elements.*
It the end, teh start of hte problem was just how ambitious Linell was with the plot. The first few chapters read like a fairly standard post-apocolyptic novel where some great calamity strikes the planet and a group fo survivors must fight to re-establish civilization. This is not an easy plot to write well, but by itself is not too bad.
Then Linell introduced her first adversary. I've written her to ask why she chose reactionary uber-Christain rednecks, and while I understand her reasoning, I've seen this theme overused in post-apoc fiction. Worse, they were introduced through a series of discussions with survovirs from teh group, and it soon became clear that their chapters were out of continuity with the rest of the story. They were describing events that occured 10 chapters later for the other characters. this was probably the only real "editing" error I caught, but I'm not sure how Linell could have fixed it. Without it she would have had to cut from her other heroes for several consecutive chapters while she moved her human villains hundreds of miles.
And I do mean human villains. In the middle of her post-apocolyptic novel, Miss Jeppsen brings in aliens who are mining Earth for "star drive material.". For the most part the aliens act like humans are vermin to be killed when encountered.
But by this time it's rather clear that the humans are no longer on Earth, but on a planet called Harmony. (and they took along the remnants of hte uber-Christian force and incarcerated them, which is how every third chapter is an interview with a different member of this group.)
Sadly, for me, the complexity of the plot didn't work. The aliens felt out of place, and while I"m no scientist, I never really figured out what they could be trying to mine the Earth for that wouldn't have been far easier to collect elsewhere in the galazy with the techonology they had. Add in the aliens who help the heroes, and who played a Deus Ex Machina role on a couple of occasions, and I just couldn't take the story.
I did finish it, and I have to applaud Linell both for attempting a story so ambitious and for the quality of the writing. She is a talented writer and was quite gracious when I wrote her to let her know that I was disappointed in this book. I can understand the high marks others gave it, as its a fascinating if chaotic tale. but there was too much chaos and too little good sience and characters once you got past the leads. The villains didn't really work for me and while without the aliens the whole transit to the new planet doesn't work, I didn't feel they added to the story.
I put this right around 2.5 stars. It's a very solid effort and I expect we'll see Linell continue to improve as she writes more.