Thursday, April 9, 2015

Khe - Alexes Razevich


In Khe, Alexes Razevich has given us a compelling main character in a fascinating alien environment.

As the novel opens, Khe is living with her sister doumanas on a collective farm. Males in their society live apart on their own collective farms, and the two genders meet only once a year, at Resonance, when the doumanas all become fertile at once. Not all doumanas live on farms, however; some live in cities, and others live in floating towns that facilitate trade between the city dwellers and the farms.

Khe is happy enough until her first Resonance, when her body doesn't react to the signals all the other doumanas are feeling. This makes her feel useless and incomplete, until she undergoes an experimental procedure to remove the block that's keeping her from participating in Resonance. The procedure works -- but it also unblocks an unusual ability that allows Khe to make the plants and animals on the farm produce better than they ever have before. Using the power ages her prematurely, though, which is bad enough. But her life is really in danger when her ability draws the attention of the Powers, who want her to be their vessel for a new race.

The author did a great job with describing Khe's alien culture. I especially loved the way the doumanas literally wear their emotions -- nodes on their necks change color to match the emotions they're feeling. Relationships would be so much simpler on Earth if humans did the same thing.

Razevich also does a fine job with revealing, little by little, what's going on behind the scenes on this planet. Suffice it to say that the doumanas and their occasional mates aren't the only race here.

The book was well-edited, and I thought the cover was stunning. If you like dystopian sci-fi, I'd highly recommend Khe.