Erin K. Wagner
(Aqueduct Press, January 2019, pb, 110 pp.)
Reviewed by Kevin P Hallet
Imagine your father plucking you from your home life and sending you to a strange world; that’s what happens to Miquita in this curious SF novella.
Miquita is one of forty-two daughters to Commander Hritar, who has just defeated Rubrum, the other inhabited world in Miquita’s solar system. Now, as part of the peace treaty, the two world’s exchange Miquita with the son of the Prime Minister from Rubrum.
And thus, Miquita finds herself thrust into an alien culture beyond her immediate comprehension. But her mind is agile, and she feels compelled to do more than just be a pawn in an inter-planetary game of diplomacy.
She sets out to understand the Rubruii, discovering that their trees and plants share a Network that the Rubruii once connected to. But Hritar had found a way to wound that Network and now it had retreated, cutting off the Rubruii who seem lost in its absence.
The Rubruii don’t trust her and blame her people for utterly destroying their lives. Ambassador Wlara, assigned by the Prime Minister to watch over her, is helpful as far as she can go, but she sees Miquita as an arrogant alien, convinced she can understand their hurt. But still, Wlara exposes Miquita to the depth of Rubrum’s pain, which redoubles Miquita’s desire to find a way to make amends.
Miquita hears that an old orchard is the place where the original settlers of Rubrum tapped into the Network. Can she use this to find a way to help, and would Wlara even let her try?
After the first few introductory chapters the pace picked up and the mysteries were a definite pull through the engaging story.