I only knew about Homecoming because its author, Sue Ann Bowling, is in my online writing group. I read it because I want to read everything my buddies are writing…but wow, what a pleasant surprise! Surprise because Homecoming falls under the category of science fiction, a genre I seldom read.
Bowling has the science chops, with degrees in physics and geophysics, but the real strength of her writing comes from her characterizations — which is the main reason I’m including it here on this blog as a recommended book. While some may be put off initially by the otherworldliness of the setting, Bowling does a good job of explaining her imaginary world, leaving us with what is simply a great story. My advice to readers: hang with it and enjoy the journey. Anything that doesn’t make sense at first will be explained! In other words, you don’t have to like sci fi to enjoy this book.
Homecoming centers around the story of Snowy, a young slave boy who has suffered unfathomable abuse at the hands of his masters. Snowy has unusual abilities and gifts that he works hard to keep a secret. As events unfold that move him toward freedo, his biggest challenge is overcoming the mental and psychological effects of the slavery. Sweet and beautiful, loyal to his friends, and yet deeply wounded, Snowy’s journey is a touching one.
Help comes in the form of unlikely heroes: Derik, who, after a wild past, still struggles with inner demons; Lai, one of the few survivors of a race of people with special gifts, whose love for, and loss of, a woman named Cloudy has left him eternally bereft; and Marna, whose identity I will keep shrouded rather than spoil too much of the story. At the same time, Snowy will have to fight for respect, and his enemies are powerful, including Lai’s son, Zhaim. It won’t be easy!
My only caution regarding this book is its scenes, though not overly graphic, of sexual abuse and violence. These are essential to the story and help the reader get into the mindset of slaves and slave owners, and so are not gratuitous in any way.
I hope that we will see much more of Snowy in the future! Bowling’s next novel, Tourist Trap, continues the saga, and I look forward to reading it as well.
For more information on Sue Ann, visit her website at http://sueannbowling.com/. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up a fan of sci fi after all.