“Soledad in the Desert” by Meredith Sue Willis

The enjoyment of this story is all about a unique style of writing that works. It is the tale of a group of people re-inventing their culture on an alien world, seen through the eyes of one of the children. So, the story starts with simple and childlike writing, which develops as the child matures and society grows.

The vocabulary and sentence structure are both simple, partly because of the youth and inexperience of the narrator, but also because it gives us the feeling we are part of the tribe, learning these events through an oral tradition. There is also a strange paragraphing technique. When two characters speak on the same topic — for example, a question and an answer —-they are put together in the same paragraph. It stopped bothering me after a while; it made a sort of sense because of the simple, cooperative tribal nature of their society.

There are other elements that make this novel unique. This is a story with dragons, but not in the usual fantasy sense. This is a species much more likely to be found on a new planet: strange, alien minds with an alien time sense, alien objectives and limited understanding of humans and their needs.

Thematically, the story revolves around the intergenerational conflict of children who want to experience their new world in a different fashion from their conservative elders. Again, the style reminds us of the experience and value of a tribal story fire.

As far as the suspense is concerned, the plot moves slowly at first, and the tempo builds throughout the novel until there is a true final climax with enough action for anyone.

Highly recommended for Sci-Fi readers who want a new and refreshing reading experience.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


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