Title: Frontier Incursion
Author: Leonie Rogers
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Opening lines: ‘…Shanna tapped one foot as she waited outside the records precinct…’
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Shanna has followed her dreams and joined the Scout Corps. The Scouts were charged with expanding their knowledge of Frontier, a planet their ancestors had crash-landed on 300 years before. Frontier has some very hostile flora and fauna and it is the Scouts who go out into the wilderness to explore. Shanna is the youngest ever recruit and it takes her a while to be accepted by the older kids. Scouts are all bonded with a Starcat a huge panther like creature that has beautiful glowing coloured tidemarks on their fur and some amazing powers. The Starcats chose their human and Shanna ends up bonded to two, Twister and Storm. Starcats and Scouts are bonded for life and work as a team. On a routine training patrol, Shanna and the other cadets are swept up in the greatest challenge yet to be faced by the settlers of Frontier. Now they find themselves on the very frontline of a war they knew nothing about, and suddenly their world has changed, and in ways never dreamed of by Shanna and her fellow scouts.
My thoughts: I loved FRONTIER INCURSION and I want a blue Starcat of my very own that will purr and hum to me! The story opens with Shanna being accepted into the Scouts the youngest person ever. Her family breeds Starcats so she is very familiar with living with them and training them. This knowledge of Starcats means that she is asked to train the rest of the new cadet intake into bonding and working with their own Starcats chosen just after Shanna arrives at the training school. Life on Frontier is routine and early on the reader is introduced to how the humans arrived, survived and then adapted to the environment, and there are three small settlements on the high plateau. Down ‘Below’ the planet is pretty much as it was when the humans first arrived. There was a long term goal to one day leave the planet but in reality most of the people are happy with the way things are. Then at the end of the chapter the reader gets a glimpse of an incursion of nasty, nasty critters called Garsal that have been slowly enslaving the universe and have their eyes set on Frontier. The Garsal mothership has landed unnoticed by the humans and have started to set up a new hive with the help of human slaves. However, despite their advanced technology they seem to be no match for the native flora and fauna. The Garsal send out two reconnaissance aircraft just as a huge storm hits the planet. The people of Frontier know how to batten down the hatches when these huge storms hit, but the Garsal aircraft crash and the noise is reported back to Scout headquarters. Shanna and the other recruits are subsequently sent out to investigate the noise in the care of a more advanced unit. What they didn’t expect to find was a crashed spaceship, neither did they expect to see the body of a giant insect at the controls. From this point the whole story moves towards the inevitable first contact between the two species, and I found myself torn between wanting to sit down and read the book in one sitting or savouring it – reading a little at a time as I did not want to leave this wonderful world. Author Leonie Rogers was very clever in how she introduced the Garsal’s – little snippets of information and what they were up to, at the end of each chapter.
The pacing of the story was great, starting off slow then gradually the tension built until the action packed climax. The descriptions were terrific, the strange animals and killer plants just came alive on the pages. As did the characters who all grew in experience as the story progressed, Shanna especially grows as a person through the book. Starting off as a simple farm girl living dependently with her parents she becomes an independent master at wilderness survival, learns how to deal with difficult people and never lose her sense of heart. As for her two Starcats, Twister and Storm, I want them – if I couldn’t have them then I would have any of the others if the truth be told. Taya is another character that shows great growth in her character and I feel there is more to her story that maybe will be followed up on in the next books.
The relationships between, and feelings of, the various humans contrasted with the impersonal interactions between the Garsal. The writing was wonderful and Leonie Rogers’ words pulled me into her planetary world, with its laughter; arguments; adventure; interaction between humans, between humans and their Starcats, and between Starcats and Starcats (Starcat romances are something to behold) and as all good space adventures should there is even sadness, yes I was moved to tears and this was the point that the tears fell:
“…There was something totally heartbreaking about a Scout sitting in the midst of the carnage, slowly stroking the silky fur of a companion who would never pace by their side again, whose tidemark will never flicker and glow, or a living starcat curled by the unmoving form of their Scout partner, those same tidemarks dimmed to the dullness of grief. The now bereft halves of loving partnerships were left to grieve in quiet peace…”
FRONTIER INCURSION is the first in a planned trilogy – ‘Frontier Resistance’ is not too far away from release which is good because I am already turning blue (as blue as a Starcat) as I hold my breath in anticipation. A truly wonderful reading experience
Rating: A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.
For more about the author – Click Here
Frontier Incursion by Leonie Rogers is book # 12 for AWW2014