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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Saving of Verano is a sci-fi novel by Ken Helfer. It's the 27th century, and humanity has successfully colonized Mars and set up bases on Luna. Selby Ricks, an Earthian, is on his first trip to Mars when he is unexpectedly visited by a humanoid named Captain from the far reaches of the cosmos. Captain tells Selby to relay a message to Amelia (Amy) and her twin sister Alesandra, who had accidentally discovered a dark energy drive while working on their propulsion system, which could make faster-than-light travel possible. Selby, the twins, and a few other college students soon embark on an exploratory mission to a planet 700 light years away. Upon their arrival, they name it Verano. However, there is an inherent genetic defect amongst the natives on Verano that Selby and his friends must cure at all costs.
The Saving of Verano is a story about hope and learning from the mistakes of the past. Author Ken Helfer sheds light on the brighter aspects of human nature and showcases how we can strive to do better than our predecessors by helping others and avoiding our base instincts. Due to the thematic focus of the narrative, the characters are primarily used as tools who slot into their roles to move the plot forward. Selby and Amy are two of the more developed characters, and it is their relationship that provides the emotional stakes of the story. Sci-fi lovers should enjoy this one as the underlying themes couldn't be more relevant than in the times we live today.