3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
If you bat for team no-cliffhanger-to-force-me-buy-the-sequel, then this fantastic Sci-Fi/Fantasy will be right up your alley! Incredibly, Sherri Fulmer Moorer packages the three books of the trilogy (Progenitor, Metamorphosis, and Emergence ) into one. This doesn't make the book a bland falling in place of all issues. Though all the weighty ‘matters arising’ are satisfactorily dealt with, there still remain enough loose threads to weave tales for other days, if one chooses to keep up with the author.
With a few considerations, the Swahili saying ‘when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,’ can aptly apply to The Earthside Trilogy. The first consideration is that the elephants (two technologically superior alien races that are mortal enemies) are fighting over controlling the grass (humans). Second, the elephants survival depends on them inhabiting Earth. Each elephant is out to completely obliterate the other, once the grass embrace it.
One alien species soon infiltrates the human population bearing the proverbial carrot – healing sick humans. However, the healing isn’t as successful as anticipated in some cases. In other cases, it goes beyond just being successful to bestowing other benefits to the ‘healed.’
The other aliens make their debut with the stick – either the humans choose to evolve with them and vanquish their diseases in doing so, or they die as the aliens take over and modify Earth to suit them.
Can the humans rise above their signature preoccupation with conflict, terrorism, and war, to agree on a joint approach? Do they even believe the alien threat? And if they do, which of the two ‘elephants,’ if any, will they work with?
The book is futuristic in setting. It unfolds in an era when the use of the new nanotechnology in medicine virtually makes every human illness curable. This technology, however, is child’s play in comparison to that of the aliens. In this era too, there exists a World Council that unites leaders from all parts of the world – except Africa. I wondered if this was because the continent no longer exists, or if it is of no consequence. Either way, it is Moorer’s world/tale to spin.
The main events play out in the USA, with mentions of action in other parts of the world as well. Instead of using renowned astronauts, decorated air force officials, or NASA, Moorer chose an ordinary family, to introduce the aliens and develop the plot. I liked this simplicity. By placing various family members in strategic positions, she effectively advanced the alien agenda. The ensuing family drama, including revelation of juicy secrets, made the book so relatable that the inevitable space and energy tech-speak was easy to live with.
The author utilizes a conversational writing style, narrated in the third person, in a way that heightens suspense. In between a business as usual tone, she sprinkles nuances of an impending ominous event. This, coupled with many exciting plot twists and tension as family members take opposing viewpoints, perpetually spikes the reader’s curiosity.
In addition to family loyalties, national and international politics, terrorism, government bureaucracies, and presidential decrees, also help keep one invested in the plot. Most of these themes are very real in the world today.
The language employed is wholesome, and even though there is some falling in love, the book contains no explicit sexual scenes. It’s a book you never have to hastily turn pages if someone were to peek over your shoulder and read with you - especially if that someone is a child!
The plot has many characters. Hence, it is a good thing that the author took time to develop a few core individuals then surrounded them with many supporting characters. For example, the reader gets so acquainted with the highs and lows of both the protagonist Kalea, and the sort-of-antagonist Hailey, that it is no surprise when they move from being victims to leaders rallying their troops.
I must commend Moorer for her boldness in developing and pulling off such a complicated plotline – two rival alien races and a greatly divided humanity, in a logical and straightforward fashion that does not lose the reader. The downside is, lots of background information and descriptions couldn’t be avoided. There were moments such details were so long that the story dragged. Other times their significance was lost. I wonder if a movie can better balance this narration.
The one major flaw in The Earthside Trilogy is its numerous minor errors - both grammatical and formatting. In fact, I got more than ten errors in the first 80 pages of the 565-page trilogy. The errors ranged from missing words to awkward sentences. I was momentarily baffled every time someone was said to have 'swiped' his tears or nose! The good thing is the errors were not distracting. Some were even laugh-out-loud hilarious! Sample this:
"She was the one with the phoenix tattoo on her arm that witnessed the miracle of his recovery." (Hint: it's not the tattoo or arm that witnessed the miracle!)
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. With another round of editing, it can easily get a perfect score. Though not fast-paced, the book's premise is fascinating. Moreover, a few wars do break out. I, therefore, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to lovers of space-oriented Science Fiction.
The Earthside Trilogy
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon