CHRYSALIS
Joyce and Jim Lavene


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Awe-Struck E-Books, June 2003
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

An ore-processing plant has broken down, and Gael and Kat, representatives of rival companies who monitor planetary ecology, are sent to the planet R-12 to investigate. Like all other planets with ore-processors on them, R-12 has been completely destroyed, down to the last blade of grass, body of water, and breath of clean air. The relationship between Gael and Kat has the potential to be just as deadly.

Our heroine, Gael, establishes in the first few pages that she has a hostile personality, with poor priorities and poorer judgment. It is apparent to the reader that Kat, a man with "anti-authority problems," will be the one in the right in any disagreement. Kat is Rian, a species with strong telepathy, and Kat is one of the strongest. Gael shudders in horror at the thought of a telepath. It isnít until the book explains what is behind Gaelís anger and fear that it becomes possible for me as a reader to co-exist with her and focus my attention on the problem at hand. Human civilization has a policy that prohibits any ore processing on inhabited planets, so someone is determined R-12 shall stay dead. In spite of recent signs of life.

With the exception of Gael, who cocoons herself away from all the potential horrors of a life she doesnít want to know she is afraid of; and Kat, who could double for an archangel on sentry duty, most of the people are stock characters. Special cases are Gailís coordinator Menor, who flings himself wholeheartedly into caricature once early in the book and retains the residue thereafter; and Captain Amato of the Guardsman ship, who radiates all the charm of a crawdad poking its head out of algae sludge. The general lack of character depth is the main reason I found CHRYSALIS hard to get into. The situation is interesting, however, and the relationship between Gael and Kat snaps as unpredictably as frying oil.

The authors are drawing a parallel to the effects of irresponsible industry on our planet. Reading the description of what human galactic civilization has done to R-12, I was irresistibly reminded of what the "locust" alien invaders of "Independence Day" intended to do to Earth. I expect thatís very much in line with what the authors intend for us to think.

I like books about telepaths, so Katís telepathy was the element that drew me. CHRYSALIS will also be enjoyed by people who feel strongly about environmental issues. Donít choose this book for its literary quality, but it will appeal to specialty interests.

June 2003 Review Originally Published on WOR

 

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