Homo Transformans: The Origin and Nature of the Species
The genus “homo” means man. “Transformans” indicates man transformed into a new species. Mary Elizabeth Ames’ Homo Transformans, The Origin and Nature of the Species picks up a future narrative some three hundred fifty dystopian years after a galactic gamma disaster affects all unsheltered life on earth. The radiation causes some home sapiens to gain the ability to transform into another/or many different species. Enough understanding of genetics survives to make excellent villains for antagonistic purposes. Two warring genetic corporations are constantly threatening three clan-based, related manor states. Each corporation seeking any genetic or militaristic advantage over any of the others is the major plot basis of the book. When one manor is destroyed, two people flee and eventually, after many trials, reunite with another manor house.
This is not a quest book. Although the protagonist does indeed mature over the book, it is much more akin to a boarding-school setting. The difference is the school is an armed camp, where each action and lesson is taught while carefully watching the enemy. The education gained is a mixture of self-sufficiency, environmentalism, constant vigilance, and university all in one. The author explains the setting, the routines, the reasonings, the classes, the escape routes, the war games, the friends, the advancement requirements, virtually all the aspects of life in this setting. It is very complete and masterfully done.
The author takes great pains to explain the genetics of what has and is happening in the human population. As a genetic principle, idea, or consequence is introduced in a chapter, the chapter has explanations and current genetic understanding of what has gone on. It offers an education in current genetics and molecular biology, thus, even though fantasy, the author does ground her fantasy in great genetics. Indeed, in the first of the book, some chapters seem to exist just to introduce the genetic training. Later, the story takes much greater prominence.
The protagonist, a young girl, is very likeable, intelligent, gifted, and, since her earlier life was so full of danger, guarded. It is easy to get involved in her adventures and to identify with her, which makes this an interesting fantasy. There is enough opportunity for everything to fall apart in several different ways so that the plot is not trite. The ending is satisfying and lays extensive groundwork for future adventures.
This is a world-construct book. It is complete with maps, charts, family histories, and architectural and schematic drawings. The book’s appendices are extensive, as is the glossary, and especially the bibliography.
It was a very enjoyable book to read. The author creates a believable world that is easy to get involved in.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Author||Mary Elizabeth Ames|
|Page Count||569 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|