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S. Usher Evans
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Markus Zusak
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The Outworlder

The Outworlder - S.K. Valenzuela There were so many things that I loved about this novel. While I've never been a fan of really hard sci-fi fiction, some of my favorite movies and TV shows are sci-fi (for instance, the new Star Trek movie, Firefly, Serenity, the Sarah Connor Chronicles). I've just never been able to find a book that seemed to fit my very picky tastes. The qualities I love most about those movies and shows I just mentioned are the great characters, the witty dialogue, and -- for Firefly and Serenity -- the intriguing universe it showed us.

Then I read Silesia. A-mazing. Finally a book that gave me everything I wanted. I absolutely love the characters...from Sahara, who is more wounded on the inside than the outside when we meet her, to Jared, who I have a secret crush on (don't tell anyone)...to Rafe and Brytnoth. Each one of the characters is unique. Each is compelling and sympathetic, and I loved their relationships and listening in on their conversations. I always found myself wanting to know more about them. And the beautiful thing was -- there always was more to know! Also, in some stories, the author introduces a second (or third, or whatever) viewpoint character, and I have a really hard time engaging in those plot lines, instead wanting to skip ahead to another character's segments. Not here. Even when I was dying to know what was happening to another character, I didn't want to leave the character I was currently following. That's a rare achievement.

One of the other things I loved about this book was the world...or universe, rather. I love how the author wove in elements of mythology and fantasy in the most unexpected ways. Every scene was so richly envisioned, I felt like I was walking with the characters...whether through the desiccating desert or the beautiful city of Albadir, or gloomy ruins or a gruesome prison.

There was only one bad thing about this novel. It ended. Now I have to wait for the sequel to find out what happens next! Grrr...