Enter the vivid and cinematic world of Faloiv in the first book of this dazzling YA sci-fi/fantasy series, perfect for fans of Carve the Mark, Red Rising, and These Broken Stars. Octavia has always dreamed of becoming a whitecoat, one of the prestigious N’Terra scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. So when the once-secretive labs are suddenly opened to students, she leaps at the chance to see what happens behind their closed doors.
However, she quickly discovers that all is not what it seems on Faloiv, and the experiments the whitecoats have been doing run the risk of upsetting the humans’ fragile peace with the Faloii, Faloiv’s indigenous people.
As secret after disturbing secret comes to light, Octavia finds herself on a collision course with the charismatic and extremist new leader of N’Terra’s ruling council. But by uncovering the mysteries behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family, she threatens to be the catalyst for an all-out war.
Cole's slow-burning adventure, first in a planned duology, is set in a distant future in which mankind has evacuated Earth (aka the Origin Planet) and established the colony of N'Terra on the planet Faloiv after a temporary pit stop became permanent. Sixteen-year-old Octavia yearns to study the natural wonders and dangers of Faloiv, but when she develops the ability to telepathically hear the planet's native fauna and encounters one of the reclusive, indigenous Faloii, she is inspired to investigate N'Terra's secrets. It turns out that some of her fellow colonists are no longer interested in living in harmony with nature or playing by the Faloii's rules, and it falls to Octavia and her friends to prevent war. Though Cole (Panther in the Hive) offers evocative descriptions of the natural landscape of Faloiv, the underlying critique of colonialism, while valuable, overshadows Octavia's personal journey, and it takes quite some time for the story to gain momentum. It's an intriguing series opener, but the familiarity of the setup and themes don't give it much of a spark. Ages 13 up.