This was a refreshing SF adventure with plenty of heart and imagination.
A handful of brave astronauts take off from the dying planet Symoria with a mission to find something to save their planet-- but something goes wrong during the launch, damaging the ship and severely injuring some of the crew. The ship crashes on a nearby planet -- Earth, naturally -- and things go downhill from there.
Yeah, a disastrous (and possibly fatal) launch is the best thing that happens to the Symorians. Doesn't really say a whole lot about this planet, or at least its inhabitants, does it?
Anyway, they land in New Hampshire to be found by a State Trooper and his friend, a geology professor. Factors in the environment shock the Symorians by helping them to adapt to Earth and human culture in surprising ways. The professor, Connor Gaudreau (the professor) becomes an ambassador of sorts for them.
To say that their first meeting with the U. S. Military goes poorly is an understatement -- the soldiers believe that the Symorians are nerds in cosplay uniforms and makeup. When they won't take off "the Spock ears," one solider in particular gets aggressive -- striking the non aggressive Symorian commander, Lenyx, repeatedly. While trying to defend himself, Lenyx accidentally kills this soldier, making things worse.
Thankfully, there's a sitting President who's looking to establish her legacy by making a treaty with a new race. What follows is full of betrayal hope, loyalty and avarice. Plus a healthy dose of hope.
The imagination behind this novel is impressive. Parent shows a lot of creativity in establishing why the aliens might use English expressions and human attitudes. The writing is solid -- nothing dazzling, but solid. The characters are well-written, and the plot works well. Yeah, at a certain point, the ending is inevitable and few readers will be surprised at the last 1/3 (or so). But that doesn't mean it's bad, it just means that Parent follows his story through to its logical conclusion -- he doesn't go for some shock twist that has no foundation. He starts at A, then goes to B, C and D on his way to E -- without succumbing to the temptation to go for a detour through Q and R.
An entertaining, quick read with plenty of characters that make you want to read on. Recommended.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for this post -- thanks!