Received via NetGalley from Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.
Also posted on Silk & Serif
Merchant weaves a world where in the face of dire circumstances a handful of humanity devises a plan to save us all. The creation of clones who can carry on humanity, a man made branch of human evolution. We learn about the world through Thompson, an astronaut who is ensnared on the Moon while Earth quietly passes on from the Ebola Q-Strain virus. Thompson tasked with finishing up the educational program for the young clones and his voice is often heard as a final "human expert" throughout the book on various issues such as money, sexuality and religion. The coming of age of the clones reveals their final meaning for creation - to venture down to Earth and restart civilization.
Moonkind could have been a portentous book on the final days of humanity, the struggles of those who could not be with those they loved and the emotional turmoil of a failing world - but it fell short. I'm not saying Moonkind isn't a fantastic read. In fact, the opposite is true. It has everything the perfect science fiction novel requires: outer space and future time frame, plausible technology we currently do not have, a change in political or social structures and androids. Moonkind's tone reads like Finches of Mars
as an intellectual exercise, but definitely maintains coherence. It utilizes the classical writing structure based on events and facts rather than emotional turmoil. The science was correct and it was brilliantly written. The story was logical and articulate, but the emotional and "human empathy" quotient was missing. As a reader, I find a large part of my experience is through the emotional journeys of the characters and the empathy I feel for them. I didn't feel any of this. The only real response I had emotionally to this book was my hatred for Davontine and my dark delight when karma finally caught up with her.
The author weaves a largely academic or conceptual narrative that will definitely appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction that harks the original atmosphere of literature, apocalyptic and post apocalyptic novels and books that make you think rather than feel.
I will be reading more of Merchant in the future in hopes of seeing new ideas and tales told by what could be a new best selling science fiction author with some publicity.