November 3rd, 2015
After inhaling the spores of a mysterious plant, Lee Suh-Mi has a vision of another world where the answers to humanity’s future resides in an alien structure she calls God’s City. Renata Ghali follows her love Suh-Mi to this alien world, with a horde of colonists. An accident loses a group of colonists upon Planetfall, and Ren helps keep a dangerous secret to preserve the structure of their fledgling society.
Twenty two years later, Ren has been working hard as the colony’s 3D printing engineer, keeping their civilization running while her own life slowly crumbles. She misses Suh, who has been gone since the initial scouting of God’s City. The colony sits at the foot of the city, waiting for Suh’s eventual return.
What comes instead, is puzzling. A young man who looks so very much like Suh claims to come from the lost colonists. He tells the colony that when the pods went so far off course, they didn’t die in the landing, as presumed. However, he’s the only one of them left.
The secret Ren’s been keeping for so long can’t be kept much longer. The stranger is Suh’s grandson.
Newman unrolls the story slowly, so we get a feel for the fiercely private Ren, who shuns the company of others and flinches away from real intimacy. As things progress, we learn why she is how she is, what her and Suh’s time together looked like, and how someone we learn was so passionate about engineering and leaving Earth to find God’s City could become so reclusive and broken. We get this solid foundation of the character so that what comes later has a profound effect; revelations about how loss and lies can cause a kind of mental and emotional abscess, with Ren burying everything painful she wants to forget under a barrier of literal as well as emotional flotsam.
When the secret comes to light, she must deal with the fallout and save herself. She must figure out what Suh couldn’t.
Planetfall is definitely one of the best books of the year, and belongs on your Christmas buy list.
JL Jamieson is a strange book nerd who writes technical documents by day, and book news, reviews, and other assorted opinions for you by night. She is working on her own fiction, and spends time making jewelry to sell at local conventions, as well as stalking the social media accounts of all your favorite writers.