Title: Planet Whisperer
Author: E.E. Montgomery
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 280 Pages
At a Glance: Terraforming, alien pets, and annoying parents make for a good read.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Jonah Starovski, a Planet Whisperer, harnesses the energy surrounding dead planets and redirects it into new growth. Abandoned by the man who bought him from a brothel sixteen years ago, Jonah flounders in a world he’s ill equipped to deal with. He must accept the help of a stranger in order to rebuild his life.
First Lieutenant Marcus Davis volunteers as Jonah’s assistant without realizing the terraforming process requires Jonah’s sexual release. Balanced on the knife-edge of fear and ambition, Marcus is faced with his mother’s machinations and threats to his career. Marcus’s parents bring their illegal scientific experiments to the planets Jonah is terraforming just as Marcus learns to accept himself and his feelings for Jonah. At the same time, Jonah’s past catches up to him, putting them both in danger.
Jonah and Marcus must trust in each other to put a stop to the illegal activities, rescue an endangered animal, and create the future they both want—a future they can share.
Review: When it comes to science fiction, terraforming is one of the most interesting topics to me. I love the idea that people can completely change a planet and turn it into some hospitable place where humans can thrive. The first novel I read with this as a topic was Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein. While Planet Whisperer involves terraforming, it does so differently. Instead of technology and scientists, one man, Jonah, has the ability to harness the energy in a planet to speed up the process and help the planet move along, thus providing an opportunity for humans to settle.
In this novel, Jonah, the Planet Whisperer, is stuck. His partner, Wes, has fled with all of their money, leaving him to fulfill the last two contracts on his own. What’s worse? He took that money as well, so Jonah truly has nothing. He doesn’t even have someone to help him complete his technique. When the captain of the ship volunteers Marcus to help Jonah, the lieutenant has no idea what he’s getting into. The key to Jonah’s technique is finishing the process with sexual release that must be grounded—in a manner of speaking—through another person. Considering this is a future where homosexuality is illegal in most places, this does not bode well for Jonah. Or Marcus, who is trying to hide his true nature.
Though the characters suffer from major communication issues for a majority of the novel, I really did enjoy the story. Jonah has had a difficult life and, as such, he finds it hard to trust people, especially given what he is currently going through. In a way, that made his inability to truly communicate with Marcus understandable. The same goes for Marcus. While more privileged, he has parents who are beyond absent. His father is in his own world with research, and his mother is obsessed with making discoveries. To her, scientific advancement and success trump everything else, including her children. When Jonah and Marcus begin working together, Marcus is initially horrified and disgusted by what he has to do, but as he settles into his role, he realizes his hidden desires are coming to the front, and he not only enjoys what he does with Jonah, but he enjoys being with him as well.
Marcus’s parents are truly despicable. Not so much his father—he’s like the absent-minded professor—but his mother is a terrible person, and I wanted her to die a painful, slow death. No one could talk sense into her, and she did some atrocious things that made me want to throw the book. And Betts…I’m not really sure how I feel about him. Part of me feels bad for him, and the other part wants to smack him for getting involved.
In all honesty, I would love a sequel. The author leaves it so that there easily could be, and yet at the same time it’s closed up enough that I’m satisfied with how the story ends, even if it did feel a teeny bit rushed. If you’re looking for a good science fiction novel, I highly recommend this one.
You can buy The Planet Whisperer here: