Genre: science fiction
Length: 44 pages
Setting: a distant planet in the far future
Interest: I was looking for something to read on my Kindle and wanted something relatively short and better than the last book. I chose this one because it was relatively new, which meant I must have thought it looked interesting.
Summary: Thorn and her mother are Wasters, which means they travel around to various planets in the universe, never settling in one place for very long. Unfortunately, you can’t travel faster than the speed of light, so even though Thorn’s only a teenager, 145 years have passed since she was born. They are currently living on a highly religious world, with the Wasters providing a bit of sin in an otherwise morally upright world. When Thorn’s school is burned down by the newest religious group, Thorn takes one of the old men in the park on as a tutor. She learns much more from him than she expects.
Final thoughts: It would have been very easy to make the summary not much shorter than the story because Gilman was able to pack quite a bit of story into a small package. I found this to be a great coming of age story, where Thorn has to realize that she’s the responsible one and needs to take charge of her mother. I also found the idea of traveling by light interesting. You would beam yourself to a new planet, and time would pass on the planet but not for yourself, so you never knew what you would wake up to, and if your friends or family didn’t travel with you, they were lost to you in time. A great, quick read.
Title comes from: Thorn’s tutor gives her an ice owl to care for that becomes a bit of a metaphor for Thorn’s life.
Reading challenges fulfilled: None since this was a novella, not a novel.
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