Book - 2015
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"From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Between Two Thorns, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity's future might be its undoing... Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi's vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown. More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony's 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret. Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi. The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart.."--
Publisher: New York :, Roc,, [2015]
ISBN: 9780425282397
Branch Call Number: SCIFI Newman Emma 11/2015
Characteristics: 320 pages ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

This is an atmospheric, character-driven story of space colonization built on lies and the slow reveal thereof, told through the viewpoint of Renata Ghali, whose 3D-printed engineering makes human survival possible. Newman's thoughtful exploration of grief and mental health makes this a worthy read.

JCLMeganC Dec 29, 2016

This turned out to be not so much a sci fi novel as a story exploring, in too much detail, one woman's personal struggles with members of her community and the consequences of her disorder. If I had been set up to expect that, I wouldn't have been so disappointed.

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SCL_Justin Feb 10, 2020

This book's a great example of the perils of secrets in a small organization. That the organization is a colony on a far-away world where everything could fall apart with no recourse to an outside authority if they're revealed made this a really great read. Religion, pragmatism and slightly abnormal psychology all intersect and Newman tells the tale really well (with an ending crying for more books, which do exist).

Jan 17, 2020

There are many half-truths among these colonists who fled Earth seeking a god. Even some of the colonists do no buy into the version of god the colony clings to. We, as readers, of course don't buy into it and much of the appeal of the novel is discovering the lies the faith is built. But are those lies to protect people or to just keep them in line. A grand romp to begin Newman's Planetfall series

May 19, 2019

The back cover summary of this book makes it look like your typical secrets get revealed sort of drama in a cool sci-fi setting, but it is so much more than that. The setting is a human colony set up on a far distant planet at the base of what the colonists call “God’s City”, some sort of enormous alien structure or plant-like organism. It becomes clear at the start of the novel that the main character, Ren, and the colony’s de-facto leader (referred to rather ominously as the Ringmaster), are hiding something from the rest of the colonists. Something that has to do with God’s City and their initial discovery of it.

Exactly what this secret (or secrets) is Newman reveals very slowly over the course of the book, giving more and more hints through dialogue and flashbacks, as bits and pieces of it become relevant to the story. And when everything finally comes to a head the truth is both horrifying and astounding. It’s definitely a book that will make you think.

RyanR_KCMO Dec 23, 2018

This book was great. Newman's book has all the hallmarks of great science fiction while at the same time turning her lens much more inward. These characters may be the first earth folks to colonize an alien planet, they may be settled beneath some structure they call "God's City," but this story is first and foremost about Ren. Ren is an unreliable narrator who is so focused on her own trials that the full extent of her knowledge and her deeds are not known until the very end of the book.

Pretty darn fun Science Fiction.

Planetfall is a slow, character-driven sci-fi novel that contains themes of colonialism and isolationism. The portrayal of the main character Ren's mental illness is heartbreaking and truthful. Recommended for fans of Ursula K Le Guin

Nov 18, 2017

First of all, I enjoyed this, and rushed to read the next in the series. That said, the ending left me cold. All the clues were there along the way, and when they all slammed together at the end rather than feeling a rush of satisfaction, my response was more "meh". She certainly knows how to string a reader along, in a good way, with what in retrospect is really a lot of detail and flashback explanations of the story line, but satisfying none-the-less.

JCLMeganC Dec 29, 2016

This turned out to be not so much a sci fi novel as a story exploring, in too much detail, one woman's personal struggles with members of her community and the consequences of her disorder. If I had been set up to expect that, I wouldn't have been so disappointed.

Aug 07, 2016

I'll keep it short:
Really interesting world
Interesting main character with believable anxiety and ocd tendencies
Solid prose

Incredibly slow build to unveil the book's central mystery. I got pretty bored at times but kept reading to find out what was going on.
On the flip side, the ending was rushed and had no time to explore the ideas it suddenly raises before its end

Mar 31, 2016

A complex character, Ren. I become so involved in her "now" and in figuring out what she is, how she is, I am distracted - no - blinded to the danger to her and to the colony.

As the book ends with catastrophic change only beginning, I assume there is a sequel coming.

My personal annoyance for the "cliffhanger" ending aside, this is a well written story based on an interesting premise. While not breathlessly awaiting said sequel, I did look at the library shelves to see if the author's The Split Worlds series was available, as Newman is a very good writer.


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