Star Rating: 4/5
Genre: Science Fiction and Fantasy, Short Reads
Buy the book: Amazon
Synopsis (from Amazon): She came from a different place, a world living in harmony with the lifesong that flows through everything, connecting all to the great song of the universe. Suddenly, she's trapped on our world, a place hell bent on self-destruction, a place that destroys without thought, poisons its own water supply and pollutes the very air that it breathes. Horrified to discover we have no lifesong, the question burns – what kind of a world is this, that can treat itself so? Hauntingly beautiful, this story will make you think and feel about our planet and our choices, and wonder if, ultimately, the love of one woman is enough to save an entire world?
There's something I love about a book I can knock out quickly. Lifesong by Julia Blake* is definitely that. I read it in about an hour, right on the heels of A Shining in the Shadows. And I don't consider myself a particularly speedy reader. That's why, if you compare one of the pictures I took for my last review to one I took for Lifesong, it looks like I hadn't moved...because I really hadn't.
*Julia is such a sweet person. She's one of my Booksta-friends, and I highly recommend that you follow her - @juliablakeauthor - on Instagram for lovely, bookish content.
All that being said, this is not what I consider a "light" read. Lifesong is beautiful and masterfully crafted story that addresses the issues of grief and environmentalism in it's short span - no small task by any stretch of the imagination. There's a line early on in the book during the funeral of the main character's grandfather: "She was alone." She's not actually, as we see later in the book because she has friends and customers, but grief makes you feel alone. It's terrible and insidious, and Julia Blake captured that so poignantly in a single line.
The theme of environmentalism is also handled very well, as the story is told from the perspective of the main character, an alien female from another planet, the inhabitants of which are all in tune with the life song of every plant and creature there. There's also a focus on violence, hunger, and the other heartbreaking issues of our planet. Like I said, not a light read, but the message is vitally important.
Again, the world-crafting is astonishing for such a short story. It opens with the mention of "twin moons" rising, which immediately sets us elsewhere, and Julia Blake uses the unique perspective of the main character as a newcomer to our planet to set the stage.
My only complaints with the book are these: 1) I thought the main character came off as a little sanctimonious at times, though I know that comes from a position of not understanding the perspective of a people so different from her own. 2) In somewhat the same vein, there's a bit where it's mentioned that in regards to human beings and earth, "Where children are bred indiscriminately..." because on their planet, children are only born to couples who truly want them**. This bothered me because that's not the fault of human beings; that's just how nature works on this planet, and it came off as a bit unfairly judgemental to me.
**Although, despite my complaints, this would be amazing if this were the case on earth. The debates about birth control wouldn't even be an issue. Problem solved! How do we make that happen?
To sum up, I think everyone should read this book. It's not like it's going to cost you a lot of time with a piece this short after all. The message is so important, and it's beautifully written. Plus, it's only a couple of bucks on Amazon. What do you have to lose?
Thanks for reading.