Extension by Melody Kepler is an intellectually-invigorating science fiction novel that takes science to some imaginative ends while still remaining grounded in the science process. In Naratu, gold is precious, but the planet is dying without it. The people of Naratu need workers to mine for their precious gold, but the method they propose is questionable and unethical. Ayathesti, a geneticist and a perfectionist, is selected to join a special mission: travel to a strange planet, Earth, to find suitable specimens to create a hybrid species. Tiamet, the mission leader, further complicates the matter by causing conflict between Ayathesti and her feelings for him.
With Ayathesti as the lead geneticist on a mission to Earth, she must adapt to the long, harsh journey to another world, with harsh elements unlike her own, while achieving her goals and avoiding them at all costs. Tiamet only adds further challenges to the mission, which may risk Ayathesti’s focus. I enjoyed how Kepler brings the reader into Ayathesti’s head and into a more intimate, rarely seen side of humanity in science fiction. The first in a series, I found the story exciting, and a definite page-turner, as I constantly wondered what would happen next.
In her debut novel, Melody Kepler has created a whole new world inhabited by a species called the Mujai, which is impressively detailed, as well as her knowledge of genetic science and processes. This knowledge helps the reader enter the story with a solid understanding of the mission and the characters’ risks. I especially liked how the author shows the perspective of Earth from another planet, and its people, which is intriguing and entertaining.
Extension by Melody Kepler is an exciting story, and I thoroughly enjoyed her view expressed through another species and how they view humans. It’s an excellent sci-fi book, worth 4 out of 5 stars, and an excellent read for science fiction fans looking for compelling science with a touch of romance.
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