Title: Helia’s Shadow
Part One: Into Darkness
Series: The Starlight Age #1
Author: K.C. Neal
Published by: Andara Publishers
Publication date: November 23, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Part One: Into Darkness
A Starlight Age Novel
Andara Publishers, November 2014
From the author—
When the aliens arrived, they were hailed as the saviors of a dying Earth and dwindling human race. But the aliens didn’t come to help. Now, one human girl’s ingenious invention and one alien boy’s awakened heart are humanity’s last hope…
Nineteen years ago, aliens arrived on a barely habitable Earth with advanced technology and the promise of ensuring human survival in exchange for a place to settle. They were hailed as the saviors of humans and Earth.
Today, 16-year-old Helia wants two things in life: to step out of her over-protective mother’s shadow and become an engineer, and to stop hiding her relationship with alien boy Kalo. But the world definitely isn’t ready for a human-alien romance. And worse, the human-alien partnership is crumbling. Humans are arrested without explanation. Some of them are never seen again.
When the alien leader imprisons her mother on a false charge, Helia discovers the aliens never intended to help humans at all. Now, she must join forces with alien rebels. If she succeeds, humans have a chance at survival and she has a chance at love. If she fails, the dwindling human race dies out in slavery.
There are a bunch of very likeable people in Helia’s Shadow who go up against the bad guys—our heroine, Helia, her best friend, Ellerine, and the alien, Kalo, to mention a few. Then there are Helia’s friend and third cousin, Gordon, his girlfriend, Minnow, and a hybrid named Alder. Helia and Kalo are the stars of the show but they all play important roles and it’s a strength of Ms. Neal that she’s able to make them all come to life. Helia is especially appealing because she’s not only smart but also mechanically clever, something we don’t often see in female major characters. As for the romantic feelings between Helia and Kalo, that’s already a pre-existing condition, so to speak, as the story opens so the reader doesn’t have to fear the dreaded insta-love.
The leader of the aliens is a shady fellow named Tal-Reku who has only the worst interest of humans at heart. The upcoming 19th anniversary of Arrival Day is going to be a very important day but not in the way most humans are anticipating and Haven’s existence may become a thing of the past.
Worldbuilding is nicely done for the most part. The time is unknown but is after the Final War and the Collapse, the last two cities to collapse were Oasis and Elysium, and the world was poisoned by industry and overpopulation, then finished by nuclear war. We also know that the air in Haven is bad but the Followers of the Light in the Outlands are rumored to have developed clean air without technology. What we don’t know is how these young people are going to overcome the many obstacles to help save Earth from this new threat.
Science fiction that centers on the younger generations sometimes feel forced, as though the authors are trying to make young adults fit into an adult scenario but that is most definitely not the case here. Readers looking for well-done young adult science fiction are likely to really enjoy Helia’s Shadow and I’m already looking forward to the next book, Helia’s Shadow, Part Two.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2015.
About the Author
I love colored pens and sticky notes, sunsets and sunrises, digging my fingers into the dirt and nurturing the things that grow in it, and learning anything and everything. I’m a scientist who studies astrology, a go-with-the-flow Type A, and an impatient practitioner of daily meditation. A big bag of contradictions, just like everyone else.
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Great review, Lelia! I’ve been really enjoying sci-fi this past year – a genre I had never really tried before, so I’m def curious about this one. It sounds like a very well thought out story with great characters to boot!