4 out of 4 stars
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Homecoming starts right where Project Tau left off. Project Kata (Kalin Taylor) and Project Tau, a human clone, have escaped GenTech and are barreling through outer space in the year 3391. Kata and Tau manage to find a brief refuge in a seedy hotel on a distant planet. One night’s rest is all they get before Kata is apprehended by Diamond Ten, the future’s rendition of the mafia. They lodge an inducer in his spine that puts Kata under the control of anyone in possession of the remote. Kata quickly finds himself out of the frying pan, GenTech, and into the fire with anyone who wants their dirty deeds done.
Project Tau doesn’t fare much better. Even though he looks like a 19-year-old, he’s developmentally more like a three-year-old. Having been cloned as a teenager and then kept in a laboratory setting, the real world is overwhelming. Gen Tech may have been a horrible place, yet the predictability of daily training, pain acclimation (torture), bland food gel, sleep, and then more of the same, was easier for Tau to understand and deal with. In the real world, everyone wants something and will often use whatever means necessary. Plus, survival now involves needing money, finding shelter and food, and learning who can be trusted.
When one of the four Trandellia leaders sends Kata on a reckless mission to Atthiras, the only truly free planet where anything goes, does he really start to understand the predicament he is in. The modifications that were performed on him at GenTech now make him a pawn. Will Kata have the inner strength and fortitude to fight for his freedom and for Project Tau’s? Will he be able to trust the unlikely friends he finds on Atthiras?
While the first book in the series, Project Tau, included more physical, fighting action, Homecoming holds its own and fleshes out the plot lines with the build-up to whether or not the clones that can feel emotions and think independently should be treated as humans, not animals or slaves. Austin also explores family relationships and how damaging long-lasting verbal abuse can be on a person’s growth and development when Kata is reunited with his father. It shows a stark contrast between his early relationships and his newly found friendships, proving that the quote about friends being the family you choose for yourself may be quite accurate.
Jude Austin hit a home run with Homecoming (Projects: Book 2). The action, intrigue, and introduction of new characters have earned this book four out of four stars! I also loved the descriptions of the pod city and the history of how the humans were forced off of the third planet. I would highly recommend reading Project Tau first. The questions that are brought up about human rights and ethics, along with the profanity, would make this a better fit for a reader that is at least fourteen years old.
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