Written by by B. Morris Allen
Published by Metaphorosis Books
Every once in a while a book comes along that works off of a premise that’s been done several times before. Generally while I’m reading these books, the author loses me about a quarter of the way through, when I abandon said story because I already know the ending. And middle. And, let’s be honest, I knew the beginning as well. While I won’t say that I didn’t have (most of) the plot of B. Morris Allen’s The Speed of Winter figured out before the book was over (it revolves around a premise that we’ve seen before – humans use up their planet, must find another), it did have enough of its own spin to keep me reading until the very end.
Humankind has destroyed the world, and we need to find another planet that can sustain life. It seems that there is one in a galaxy far, far away, and the government has compiled the best of the best minds to colonize said planet.
The trip won’t be easy. Some of the 3,000 settlers and 400 crew members won’t make it through their “coldsleep” to their new home, and those that do survive will have given up most of their youth to their slumber. However, everyone is prepared for this and excited to get started. Lead by Captain Mendoza, the “arkship” heads into space.
Things are going well until a little surprise in the form of a 3-year-old girl is discovered when Captain Mendoza wakes from her coldsleep. Kids weren’t supposed to arrive until the colonists had made it to the planet and were somewhat established, and the rest of The Speed of Winter is basically the story of why that rule was put into place.
The story follows the little surprise, Elyse, through several years of her growth, the horrors she experiences, the choices that she has to make, and the colonists’ treatment of her as tensions run high through the group. Chaos ensues, and I found myself not able to turn the pages of The Speed of Winter quickly enough.
I do have to say that I was expecting more of a horror element to the story. The main focus lies more in the science fiction realm (it’s spaceships and hypersleep after all), and the story doesn’t take a horror turn until the final act. Allen’s writing style is easy to follow but will keep you engaged, and back story and exposition are well plotted without feeling like the author is trying to spoon-feed the audience.
It’s a short read (my electronic copy was only 75 pages), but this is only Part One of Allen’s Four Seasons Quintet. I can honestly say that I’m excited to read the other three! If sci-fi with a smattering of horror is your forte, pick up a copy of The Speed of Winter!
4 out of 5