Author: Katharina Gerlach
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction/Crime Drama
Published: May, 2013
Fresh from the academy, ambitious Galaktipol officer Vera Staven has been transferred to the only human settlement on the ice planet Paralan. Aside from smuggling, crimes are rare and the suicide rate is high. But something at the latest find nags at Vera, although no clues indicate it’s anything but a suicide.
When native Galaktipol officer Joloran Durim Brunàhgan meets the mother of his wee-ones for the yearly egg-opening feast, he doesn’t know he’s facing the worst case of his career. The next morning, fifteen Paralan wee-ones went missing, girls only. A catastrophe for the natives. Joloran hurls himself into the investigation, but he can’t get the murder of two wee-ones out of his mind that he couldn’t solve many years ago.
Paralan and humans harbor prejudices, making it hard for Joloran to follow all clues. Against his will, his superior requests support from the humans. POK Vera Staven is assigned to him, the only woman in the human Galaktipol station on Paralan. And time is running out. With every passing day, the probability of finding the wee-ones alive shrinks. But only as a team, Joloran and Vera might have a chance. Can they overcome their prejudices and cooperate, or will they find these children disemboweled in the icy wilderness of the planet’s far side too?
Paralan’s Children is a Sci-Fi Crime drama by author Katharina Gerlach. The book takes place on an ice planet of Paralan, where colonist have settled to mine it’s minerals. The humans live in an isolated and depressing environment with a high suicide rate. I liken it to living in Antarctica, without all the niceties.
The main human character Vera Straven is a new member of the Galactipol, the law in space, and new to Paralan. She is mollycoddled by her male superiors, but she is a bright and insightful character.
The main Paralan character is Joloran, he is a Paralan born Galactipol officer. Paralan’s are short polar bear looking creatures but they aren’t animals, far from it. They have a history, family units, language and an entire culture. That of course doesn’t mean the humans are going to treat them as equals.
The science fiction of the story does not require you to be a science geek or even a science fiction reader. Gerlach, didn’t overwhelm the book with technical terminology that I could not grasp quickly.
The setting is unique, as I had to leave the comfort zone of my own perception to be surrounded by Gerlach’s world the icy Paralan. She did an excellent job of world building in this book.
Despite their differences, the two main characters form a bond and a friendship. They learn from each other and rely upon each other, more as the book progresses. Both of the characters make the book a believable story, as they are very well written and well-defined characters. How they approach the crime and how they come together in the process of investigating makes this worth the read. It is the two outcast of the force coming together, and proving working together has its benefit and rewards.
I loved the crime story element of the book. The crime story of the missing Paralan children is what propels the book from being a pure science fiction novel, into one of two cultures having to work together for a common goal. It was a sci-fi detective story at it’s finest and one that is worth putting on anyone’s to be read list.
About the Author
Katharina Gerlach was born in Germany in 1968. She and her three younger brothers grew up in the middle of a forest in the heart of the Luneburgian Heather. After romping through the forest with imagination as her guide, the tomboy learned to read and disappeared into magical adventures, past times or eerie fairytale woods.
She didn’t stop at reading. During her training as a landscape gardener, she wrote her first novel, a manuscript full of a beginner’s mistakes. Fortunately, she found books on Creative Writing and soon her stories improved. For a while, reality interfered with her writing but after finishing a degree in forestry and a PhD in Science she returned to her vocation. She likes to write Fantasy, Science Fiction and Historical Novels for all age groups.
At present, she is writing at her next project in a small house near Hildesheim, Germany, where she lives with her husband, three children and a dog.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book directly from the author. I was not paid to read or review this book. All opinions are my own, and I was never influenced by anything or anyone.