I wish I could remember where I got this recommendation – GoodReads? File 770? I met him at Sasquan? I want more recommendations from that source, whatever it is, because this is some excellent science fiction, and it’s doing a great job of helping me avoid Star Wars spoilers by burying my nose in a book.
It’s a strange-planet adventure, and it has to do with this guy Kendal, who works in IT aboard a large spaceship that meets with a gruesome fate; fortunately he bails into the escape pod in time, because IT people are smart like that.
Meanwhile, on a vinegar scented planet live some amazing aliens who look like axolotls and can graft body parts and do other advanced bioengineering. Our point of contact is Bex, a resourceful young woman who specializes in the nurturing of bizarre new life forms – business is slow lately because she lives in a rough neighborhood. Bex’s planet is kind of a fantasy environment, with mounted travelers taking long journeys through perilous woods. It also has political intrigue, as scavengers note the sudden influx of valuable alien artifacts from the sky (including graftable body parts).
The point of view chapters alternate between Kendal’s survival on a strange planet adventures, and Bex’s ecological zeal in trying to protect this bizarre new life form from all the bloodthirsty beings inhabiting her world. And I became hooked.
So let me see, explain why I’m hooked, use my words, blah blah, et cetera, hmm. Fast paced, with a freight train of a narrative (or actually a few of them), heading logically and sensibly forward. Characters who are smart and resourceful. The kind of worldbuilding where I had to stop and lower the book a few times so I could try to visualize everything. Biologist nerdery! Scary monsters! Chills and thrills! Hooray!