Until the Skies Fall
by Lisa Granville
If I had more than 5 stars to give, I would give them to this book.
Lisa Granville has written a wonderful story in which she has created a totally believable alternate world with characters for whom the reader develops a real affinity.
The story is set in a post-apocolyptic world. At some time in the past, scientists began to experiment with genetic engineering, creating many people and animals which were very different in appearance from the norm. People and animals with extra limbs and wings are commonplace, but looked down upon, in this world, by people known as Perfects or Near-Perfects, those who are genetically most like humans once were. At some point, a huge battle arose between the religious right and the scientists, which caused the destruction of most of civilization.
Now, the earth is threatened again, this time by a "death star" from space. Only a few people can stop the death star and save the earth, and among them are Laz, his father Farrik, his brothers Rom and Longshanks, his friend Dann, and an old wise woman named Wye. Together, they set out on a quest to save the world, led by a perfect human who turns out not to be "folk" at all, Arthur, who must be an android.
At no point does Ms. Granville give us a full descrption of Laz, his family or friends. She gives us tantalizing hints as to their looks, but the only way we know how truly different they are is by the reactions of others to them. To themselves, they are just "folk," and differences in appearance mean nothing.
Every detail of their actions and personalities are perfectly suited to the setting and the story. The travelers encounter places called Yell and Purgtree, and travel through land inhabited by creatures called Howls and Ships. They endure hunger, loss, injury, and high adventure.
In the end, Ms. Granville leaves plenty of room for a sequel. I, personally, can't wait to read it. Any time a writer leaves a reader hungry for more of the story, that is a book worth more than 5 stars.