Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Book Review: Terra by Mitch Benn

Image courtesy of Orion Books
I was hopeful that I'd enjoy Terra by Mitch Benn. I'm not a true sci-fi nerd but I'd rather read HG Wells than Charles Dickens and prefer Verne to Hardy plus I know Mitch is a fellow Doctor Who fan and that alone suggested Terra would be a book I'd like! I was therefore delighted to be lucky enough to win my copy of the book through a giveaway on Winged Reviews, thanks to the generosity of the publishers, Gollancz.
The book tells the story of the eponymous Terra, an Earth girl brought up on the planet Fnrr by Lbbp, a scientist who believes he'd rescued the baby after she'd been abandoned by her parents. The inhabitants of Fnrr don't use many vowels in their language. Lbbp lives in the country of Mlml, Earth is Rrth and humans are Ymns. Whilst I'm not sure I'd want to read the story aloud to an audience, it wasn't actually as distracting as I thought I'd find it not really knowing how many of the words are pronounced.
In many ways Terra covers familiar ground. Terra herself is the girl who doesn't quite fit in at High School, her friends include a swot and a shy nerd. Lppb is the kind but over-protective father figure. The aliens are technologically advanced, they have studied Rrth and see Ymns as rather primitive, ridiculing and fearing them. There is an alien invasion, bloodshed, unexpected bravery and redemption.
Thankfully despite the familiarity Terra never feels stale.It's tense and dark but also witty, charming and very moving. Yes it's a story about aliens but it's also a very human story about families and love. I was left wanting more of this captivating world and had the feeling a sequel may be in the offing. Thankfully Mitch confirmed this is the case, the next book is planned for release next summer.
I am very much looking forward to catching up with Terra, Lbbp and friends then.

Terra is published in the UK by Gollancz.

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