Terra's World (Terra 2) by Mitch Benn
|Terra's World (Terra 2) by Mitch Benn|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Earth girl and extra-terrestrial traveller Terra is back and needs to save Fnrr again; this time she's taking a friend. For those who loved the first book, Terra, a treat awaits as this is better. For those who hated Terra? A treat awaits as this is better!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: July 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Billy Dolphin loves sci-fi and consumes it at every meal and in between for snacks. (That's as well as food mind you – his portly figure isn't just from the consumption of books, TV series and films!) The disappearance of Earth-born, extra-terrestrial-adopted Terra ruined it a bit as nothing seems the same now everyone knows that there is life on other planets and what that life looks like. He's not going to be disappointed for long though for two reasons: Terra is only hiding and, now two years later, she wants to discover who's trying to kill her and Billy is going along for the ride.
Mitch Benn is described in his book blurb as angry. Ok, we all get angry but Mitch has found a way of being creative with is ire. Hence his satirical song writing has made him legendary among those of us who can only emit our anger as incomprehensible growly mumbles.
His first foray into novels, the sci-fi Terra allowed him to point out and gently vent about the inconsistences and absurdities of Earth through the eyes of other peoples and worlds. Now, the sequel is out and, although the first book was very good, this time Mitch proves he's definitely got the knack of this novel writing thing.
Firstly although Terra's World may appear to be readable as a stand-alone for those who haven't read Terra, you'll miss out on a lot of the explanations and world building if you do. In 'TW' Mitch goes straight into the story, evading a lot of recapping and creating non-stop action from the beginning. As we race along with it there are old favourites as well as new.
Starting with the new, Billy Dolphin is the sort of lad who made me come over all maternal. He's never had a girlfriend, subsuming his loneliness into his love of sci-fi books, films, graphic novels and games. He may be vilified and side-lined by his classmates, but some day somehow he will show his mettle. (Is it ok to wonder how much of young Billy Dolphin is based on young Mitchell John Benn?)
The other newcomer that will stick in your mind is a certain Fnnrn cleaner, but I'll leave you to meet him when you get there.
As promised, we also catch up with the people that Terra left behind when she moved to Earth. Major James Hardison, the first Earth envoy to Fnrr is now a Colonel, living among the Gigtkes who are now co-existing peacefully with Fnrrns.
We also re-encounter Terra's step father Lbbp (dear newbies, you may have noticed Fnrr is a voweless planet) who has known better times but has never lost faith. He's not only a joy to see again but also a delight to watch as he gently manipulates those who deserve it.
Mitch's love of the genre again shines through as he continues to pay homage to his sci-fi heroes. Terra's earthly surname is Bradbury, extra-terrestrial translation is carried out by an Adams-like device and graphic novels are mentioned in the manner of an author who knows his stuff without being geeky about it.
There are also some changes this time but for the good. All the jokes flow less self-consciously while the entertainment still points to a deeper purpose. As well as being a fun, exciting adventure that retains the series' adult/YA cross over feel, it interweaves a fable, showing us what a planet's inhabitants can create when they try to improve on Perfection. (Yes, capital P – clever Mr Benn!)
The best news is that there will be a third book after TW; yes, a TW3! (Sorry – couldn't resist!) That news should be enough for my inner contentment but I'd like to be greedy and request something more: please, Mitch, may we have more Billy Dolphin? His future may be every bit as great as the author's appears and, on both counts, I'd like to be there to see it.
Thank you so much Gollancz for providing us with a copy for review.
Further Reading: It goes without saying that we're going to recommend Terra therefore we won't mention it. Instead we'll assume you have read it and point you towards another book Mitch is likely to enjoy as much as we did: The Time Traveller's Almanac by Anne VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer.
You can read more book reviews or buy Terra's World (Terra 2) by Mitch Benn at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Terra's World (Terra 2) by Mitch Benn at Amazon.com.
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