Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Meru by SB Divya
Narrator: Deepa Samuel
Series: The Alloy Era #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on February 1, 2023
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy
Length: 17 hours, 43 minutes
For five centuries, human life has been restricted to Earth, while posthuman descendants called alloys freely explore the galaxy. But when the Earthlike planet of Meru is discovered, two unlikely companions venture forth to test the habitability of this unoccupied new world and the future of human-alloy relations.
For Jayanthi, the adopted human child of alloy parents, it’s an opportunity to rectify the ancient reputation of her species as avaricious and destructive, and to give humanity a new place in the universe. For Vaha, Jayanthi’s alloy pilot, it’s a daunting yet irresistible adventure to find success as an individual.
As the journey challenges their resolve in unexpected ways, the two form a bond that only deepens with their time alone on Meru. But how can Jayanthi succeed at freeing humanity from its past when she and Vaha have been set up to fail?
Against all odds, hope is human, too.
I love science fiction and space travel. I’m not sure if it is the technology which I love, or the fact that since it is so obviously fiction nothing seems over the top or unrealistic. Probably it is the perfect canvas of this type of setting for emotional themes, battles of greed, corruption, and social justice.
In Meru, the world has evolved past most of the greed and corruption for monetary purposes and what exists is about ego. Humans ruined the Earth and then Mars once they settled there. Alloys are the creation of humans, an AI who may or may not be humanoid in shape. They are now the guardians of the universe from contamination. Humans are restricted to life on Earth and their behavior has been trained for years to not contaminate or waste to cause the destruction of the past.
Jaya is a human child of alloy parents. She has always felt a bit special in that and she wants to work in genetics of creating children, even though humans aren’t allowed to do this work. She also has the condition of sickle cell anemia which she has had to learn to treat and monitor. When Meru is found to be earthlike in most ways, but with more oxygen, which is actually a benefit to her condition, Jaya sees the chance to show her genes as a fit for the planet and humans able to travel and live in new places.
Jaya manages to get her project approved and find a pilot to take her there. However, there are many alloys who dislike humans, are happy to have them confined to Earth and some even determined for her to fail. Jaya is brave and resourceful. I enjoyed watching her learn, take some risks and figure things out. She worked very hard and at great personal risk to meet her goals. She believes in human freedoms and abilities.
There were some situations which I found scary for Jaya and her pilot, Vaha. There were times they, and other characters made mistakes. The alloy laws were not flexible and more appropriate to the very long lives of alloys than the shorter human lives. But still I enjoyed the politics and legal cases which came out of the adventures.
Since Meru is listed as the first in the Alloy Era series, there may be more books in this world for me to love. It looks like the next book Loka is scheduled for February 2024.
I have not listened to this narrator previously. I thought she did a great job with the various voices. Most of the characters were female. Jaya and Vaha were our primary points of view but we did get a bit of Kaliyu, who was Vaha’s friend from flight school. I listened at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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