Fascinating and well written, but in my opinion a few things don’t quite add up. The story has good concepts and questionable ones.
An intriguing concept—Erta, genetically modified, superior homo sapiens, created to save the earth from the destruction caused be humans. Humans have died out. The Erta have promised to bring back the human race when their purpose is complete. Five hundred year old Ima, who was programmed to clean up earth’s atmosphere, is assigned the task of raising the first human child.
Good: Ima maturing emotionally and becoming more human along
with her human son, Reed. She even appears to go through some of the behaviors
of puberty along with her son.
Questionable: How could Ima live so long without evolving emotionally, then in the relatively short time develop emotions, curiosity, and question what she has been told and believed all her life?
Good: A true villain, Caige, (every good story needs a villain)
who wants to keep the earth free of humanity. He meddled with Reed’s genetics
to make him weaker physically and less intelligent than Ima’s design. There are
also lesser villains, some appear friendly in the beginning, and some who
appear mean and evil at first but turn out to be allies.
Questionable: How did such an evil and emotional being, Caige, develop when all Erta are designed for the purpose of cleaning up earth with no emotional connections?
Good: A picture of a mother with zero experience or
education on taking care of an infant or raising a child. A good mixture of
head, heart (and heartache), and humor.
Questionable: Why would a race built around superior logic, education, and programming neglect educating the mother? (Possibly because she was meant to fail?)
Good: Full of interesting characters.
Questionable: Why do we even need Ima’s sister?
Good: The idea of transition at the end of the Erta’s
Questionable: How do a people who are supposedly programmed for logic fall into an emotional “religious” belief? Why do they need this? I guess it adds to the plot.
Good: Ima’s journey through emotional maturity.
Questionable: Why the phase with alcohol addiction? Wouldn’t her perfect immune system see alcohol as poison and mute its effects?
I found other questionable ideas in the story, but overall it was engaging and kept me reading, wanting to know what would happen next. The ending was both good and frightful. It felt a bit like it was the beginning of a series.