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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
In Karrin: Warrior Woman by Sahara Foley, we find human Karrin alone, abandoned on the planet Switch, with only her two-tailed, monkey-like friend Brownie for company. Karrin has been alone ever since her rescuer, hero, and true love Ispepyein leader, Lurga Pukani, had seemingly abandoned her some three years earlier. When Brownie continually disappears from time to time and returns with “gifts” for Karrin, she is intrigued as to where they come from. Following Brownie on one of his sorties, Karrin discovers the massive wreck of a cargo ship. Discovering nobody aboard except the ship’s artificial intelligence, along with a cargo of a powerful, radioactive silver substance, she discovers that the Calens are coming for her and intend to destroy her. Regaining her Ispepyein Warrior Child mantle and her confidence, Karrin is determined to fight to the end like a true Ispepyein Warrior. She may die but she will take as many of them with her as she can. So begins an adventure through the galaxies, the universes and the dimensions that will see Karrin and her forebears locked in a battle for survival, not just for themselves or their species, but for the whole of their universe.
I like my science fiction to be less technically driven and more emotionally driven. Karrin is just such a character-driven story. Sahara Foley has written a tale of adventure, love, and survival that transcends the setting of science fiction. The author introduces some weird and wonderful creatures into her world but always underlying everything is the deep love and affection between the characters, despite their many physical and emotional differences. I think I was particularly drawn to this story as it used the notion of panspermia (seeding of life) as one of the basic precepts of the story. I love the idea that perhaps all life in the universe has originally come from some powerful, supreme race that has seeded the galaxies and created many diverse and fascinating life-forms – humanity included. I particularly loved the relationships developed and nurtured in this story, especially between former enemies and also between races seemingly so different yet still capable of feeling powerful and abiding love for each other. I haven’t read any of the earlier books in this series but that wasn’t necessary. The author was extremely adept at dropping gems of information into the narrative that explained what had gone before and why a character now reacted the way he/she did. This was a wonderful read and one I can highly recommend, not only to all science fiction fans but also to a wider audience. Ultimately it is a beautiful love story that happens to be set among the glories of the universe.