Sci-Fi – Romance
Date Published: 9/15/2013
Amid the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Waikiki, Jezekiah Van Buren thinks he’s found a way to restore Earth – Home World to the other worlds of the human Commonwealth – to her lost glory.
Ingenious even by the standards of the genetically enhanced Great Family Van Buren, Jezekiah has achieved the impossible: he has arranged a treaty that will convert Earth’s ancient enemies, the Lupans, to her most powerful allies. Not only will the treaty terms make Earth rich again, it will let him escape the Ring that condemns him to be Earth’s next ruler. Best of all, the treaty leaves him free to marry Keiko Yakamoto, the Samuari-trained woman he loves. Everything’s set. All Jezekiah has to do is convince his xenophobic sister to accept the Lupan’s alpha warlord in marriage. Before, that is, the assassin she’s put on his tail succeeds in killing him. Or the interstellar crime ring called Ho Tong succeed in raising another rebellion. Or before his ruling relatives on competing worlds manage to execute him for treason.
But Jezekiah was bred for politics and trained to rule. He’s got it all under control. Until his Lupan warlord-partner reaches Earth. And suddenly these two most powerful men find themselves in love with the same woman. A woman who just may be the most deadly assassin of them all.
I’m going to be honest here. When I picked up Home World, I didn’t have high hopes for the book. The premise sounded interesting enough, but I’m a cranky old lady when it comes to science fiction. I want the worlds to be fully fleshed out and the characters to pull me in. I feared that Home World was going to be another we-screwed-up-the-world dystopian fiction with cardboard characters going through the motions to prove how crappy humans really are.
Wow, was I ever wrong.
Home World rocks.
By the end of the first few pages, I was totally hooked. Milani’s characters are real people, driven by real (and sometimes conflicting) desires in a lush world – and surrounding universe – that I fully believed. Jezekiah Van Buren’s backstory is skillfully woven into the text and rings true. His family members (oh! his family members!) are fascinating in their own right; they’re not just foils for Jezekiah. Even the things about the protagonist that I didn’t like seemed realistic—for example, his pleasure at thinking that Keiko is a virgin early in the novel exasperated me, but it wasn’t implausible.
I found myself wrapped up in an enthralling, steamy story of political and personal intrigue that kept me guessing from one moment to the next. I’m not going to give away any more of the novel; you need to find out for yourself.
I don’t often give out five-star reviews—my many years of teaching writing to college students have left me with a clear sense of the fact that writing can almost always be improved with a tweak here, a shift there. That’s why I always include a score in my reviews; I think a 6/10 conveys something very different from a 3-star review. But Home World is definitely an A-level book. If you like science fiction, you’ll like this book.