Zenn herself is often thoughtful, driven, and focused on the animals (though many wonder why she isn’t more interested in the local available boys). She often feels a stronger connection to the animals she tends than to any human outside the Cloister. The story is full of intriguing alien species, and their ailments. Add to that, some cool vet tech, and you have a bio nerd fest in the making. I also enjoyed the mystery of the various ‘accidents’ involving the beasties. townies push hard from every direction to shut down the Cloister, not renew their lease, and use the land for agricultural purposes. Indeed, Christian Schoon is an author to keep an eye on as I expect his writerly talent will increase with each book.
While there are many things about this book I enjoyed, the underlying plot could have used a little more polish. The driver for much of the book was that the bulk of the farming populace of Mars had an underlying fear and detestment for all things ‘alien’, which meant the Cloister was shunned by the bulk of the community. Truthfully, I had trouble buying into this premise as they are humans living on an alien world and many of them use or have alien items and/or animals on their farm. But once I turned off the part of my brain that kept saying the basic plot didn’t carry the weight of the entertainment value for me, I was able to focus on the cool tech, the aliens, and the sometimes vomitous situations Zenn found herself in.