Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fuelled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular basis.
Having taken part in the After the Green Withered blog tour last year, when I got an email of Dave asking if I wanted to take part in this one I jumped at the chance. I really enjoyed Kristens previous book and, though a completely different story, this contained a lot of the same themes from her other works.
Terran is a normal girl. In fact she would describe herself as overwhelmingly ordinary. That is until she wakes feeling dizzy and as he falls to her bedroom floor, instead of feeling the harsh carpet under her hands she feels grass. When she looks around she realises she isnt in her bedroom anymore she has been transported to somewhere, somewhere where the grass and nature in general is dying. Panicking she feints and when she wakes she is back in her room, seemingly as though nothing has happened. Sure that she simply had a weird dream she heads to school with her best friend Beth determined to forget the vision. That is until she has another. She tells a worried Beth who instantly phones her mum , a woman very much into . She tells Terran that she thinks she should see a medium, something Terran is not 100% in for but agrees to make feel better. When they get to the mediums office they meet what can only be described as Thor in the flesh and Terran feels a pull to him like nothing she has experienced before. Within the first 5 minutes of the meeting Terran is confident that Silas is a kook. Claiming she is a daime for, an ancient race of people linked to the mother Gaia. As her children they answer her call when the planet is in dire need, and with the pollution, logging and mining currently slowly killing the earth the time for the children of Gaia to rise is now.
Terran was a really intriguing perspective to read from. As much as she doesn’t want what Silas says to be true, there is a small part of her that simply wants to belong, and if these so called children of Gaia are her people then so be it. Because of this we see her being easily manipulated throughout the book, and though she is a strong and confident girl, both Silas, Raife and even Gaia herself are able to convince her to do things that are wholly against her wishes. I loved how the author didn’t try and write her ‘older’ she was a typical teen, interested in boys, and wanting the simply things in life… to have a John Hughes movie marathon and binge sugary food with her best friend. Though there are other characters introduced throughout this is solely Terran’s book, and I felt that the other characters main job was to propel her story along.
There is a big theme in the books of Ward’s I have read so far based all around Global warming, climate change and the damage we are doing to our planet. As much as we know that how Gaia goes about ‘changing’ the planet and trying to control the population, we find ourselves completely understanding her motives and almost moving to her side. I really enjoyed how the author portrayed the damage we are doing to the planet, not through simple descriptions but through feeling. Gaia is a version of mother earth and when Terran ‘bonds’ with her their feelings merge so when Terran heads to a built up area, or a forest being logged she feels the pain that Gaia feels and the sickness that humans are inflicting on the planet. This is such a relevant book, theme wise, at this minute and I feel that the age group this book is aimed at are the ones most able to make a change.
There were some bits of this book I felt dragged slightly, and there was also some almost round robin style parts where the character kind of argued and gave in, argued and gave in, however as a whole I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a SFF book that couldn’t be more relevant to today’s current climate. 3.5/5