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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

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The Temple at Landfall by Jane Fletcher

The Temple at Landfall  - Jane Fletcher

After finishing Rangers at Roadsend, I knew I wanted to read more of Fletcher's works. When a good sale came around, I bought almost all of her stuff in one go, although it was a while before I got around to reading any of them. The Temple at Landfall turned out to be just what I needed to help get me out of a bit of a reading slump.

One of my biggest issues with Rangers at Roadsend was its pacing. I'm happy to say that the pacing of The Temple at Landfall was much better, at least during the first half of it. I loved getting to learn a little more about the world through Lynn's eyes. The decision to transfer her to another temple came fairly early on, and there was even a good bit of action when Sister Smith opted to ignore all advice and move forward, despite reports of snow lions in the area. I loved Lynn and Kim's earliest conversations – Kim assumed that Lynn was just as foolish as Sister Smith, and Lynn corrected that impression quickly. The two of them had some very cute moments together.

While I enjoyed the forbiddenness of Kim and Lynn's attraction to one another, it did lead to some moments that were difficult to read, because I liked the two of them so much. I knew, pretty much from the instant that they acted on their attraction, that things could not end well – I just hadn't expected things to go so badly so soon. I was on the edge of my seat, hoping things would turn out all right for the two of them and wondering how Fletcher was going to get them back together after they were separated.

Even though I enjoyed reading about the two of them, I must admit that Chip and Katryn's romance in Rangers at Roadsend was better and more believable. For a good chunk of the book, I couldn't get over my feeling that Lynn's feelings for Kim could easily be puppy love. Kim was basically the first non-Sister Lynn had spent much time with since she was a child. Also, Kim was the one who protected and saved Lynn during the snow lion attack – it would be perfectly understandable for Lynn to develop strong feelings for her. I wish more of the word count had been devoted to developing Kim and Lynn's relationship after they met up again.

The weakest parts of the book, for me, were all the philosophical/theological/world-building conversations with the heretics. Those began maybe halfway through the book, and I felt they interrupted the flow of the story (certainly the pacing), felt kind of clunky, and just generally took me out of the story. The world-building information was worked into the story better during the first half of the book. I had enjoyed recognizing the science-speak in some of the Sisters' prayers (like the one that refers to “Himoti's sacred petri dish”). The discussions with the heretics broke that stuff down in a way that I didn't feel was necessary, at least not for that many pages.

Unfortunately, the more detailed look at the world-building that the discussions with the heretics and the appendix (extracts from the diary of Peter McKay, one of the founding colonists) provided brought some glaring issues to light that I might otherwise have been able to ignore. For instance, only one in one thousand people are Cloners, and one in ten thousand are Imprinters. Saying they're rare is one thing, but these more specific numbers made it difficult to imagine how the colony was even still alive. It takes even Lynn, who is widely known as a very talented Imprinter, hours to combine genetic information and help a single woman become pregnant. If only one in ten thousand people are Imprinters, I don't see how the number of births could keep pace with the number of deaths, much less allow the population to grow. As detailed as the world-building is, it doesn't always seem to be very well thought out.

Despite the issues I had with this book, I still enjoyed it. It hit all the right soft sci-fi buttons for me, and I'm glad I already own more books in the series. I plan to continue reading in chronological order, so it looks like next up is The Walls of Westernfort, which appears to take place right after the events of this book. The main character wants to be a Temple Guard. After the way the Rangers kicked the butts of the Temple Guards in this book (the Rangers are awesome), it'll be interesting to see if I can take this new main character seriously.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)