Thursday, September 19, 2013

Natural Selection ~ Malinda Lo (earc) review

Natural Selection (Adaptation #1.5)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
September 3, 2013
40 pages (ebook novella)
add to Goodreads/buy Kindle version

I was born on Earth, not Kurra. I'm not human,even though I try to be. My people, the Imria, think I'm a little unusual because of that. They call me an Earthsider: as if I've crossed a line, chosen a side. Gone native.

Before she met her girlfriend Reese, before she knew the role she would play in the fate of two worlds, Amber was a fifteen-year-old Imrian torn between two identities. Imrian by blood, Amber was forced to hide her true self to pass as human during the time she spent on earth. And even when she returns to Kurra, her human experiences, including first love and heartache, still separate her from her fellow Imrians. But when Amber undergoes kibila, a traditional Imrian coming-of-age ceremony during which Amber will choose her name and identity for the next fifteen years, she will be forced to either accept her role in both worlds or forge her own path.

Malinda Lo's digital exclusive novella companion to Adaptation and Inheritance takes readers on a journey through Amber's past, giving fans a glimpse into her life on Kurra and a deeper understanding of one of Adaptation's most compelling characters.
I may be the odd one here, but I'd forgotten the role of Amber in Adaptation -- at least by her name -- when I read 'Natural Selection.' While I couldn't figure out how these Imirian characters fit in the world of Adaptation -- aside, of course, from the general -- I still really enjoyed it.

I'm actually quite happy I didn't know how they were a part of the novels as I was reading; it was nice taking in their story on its own, not trying to fit it into the bigger picture at the same time.

'Natural Selection' gives a great glimpse of life on Kurra. We learned just a little bit of what the Imirians were like in Adaptation but here, we get a real 'at home' look. It's especially great if you're going to read Inheritance, the second book in the series. Not only do you get a fuller picture of what it's like on Kurra and Imirian society, but of Amber, as well.

The story alternates between Amber's life on Earth, posing as a human and her life back on Kurra. The back and forth could get a bit confusing at times, with the transitions not always entirely clear. However, the parallels between what she experienced on Earth prior to returning to Kurra and what's happening during the ceremony line up perfectly. Both story lines flow very well and work incredibly well together. They work better told concurrently, rather than consecutively.

While not remembering who the character of Amber was, I really liked this digital short story. I liked that background on the Imirians, it gave me a leg up - upon starting Inheritance - on Reese and David. As they're figuring things out, trying to understand things, I already had some of that understanding.

Once I did remember who Amber was -- also upon starting Inheritance -- I really appreciated the character development she received in 'Natural Selection.' She's an intriguing character after both Adaptation and the short story and I couldn't wait to see what happened with her in Inheritance.

Rating: 9/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my copy to review

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