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As the year 2000 approaches, the Earth is bracing itself for what could be its greatest disaster, as a rogue planet hurtles into the solar system. Government attempts to avert catastrophe are foiled by sabotage, and, on January 1, humanity's fate is sealed. Now, a bold group of survivors must piece together the future of a planet they no longer recognize. Ads in Locus. Original.
But that all comes later. What comes first and what makes the book work are characters we meet and get to know: Blind and orphaned Indian-Mexican Gena can foretell the future. Simon Chanowitz can read minds. He grows up to be a social worker who tries to stop the kind of abuse he suffered as a child. Mercy is a part Chinese, part Jewish healer who becomes a doctor. Black Lamont, is a lawyer with telekinetic powers. Best of all we meet Lily, a deranged punk bitch who Mercy heals and who, assisted by the knives up her black leather sleeves, is smart enough and tough enough to manage the world on her own, but loyal enough and fragile enough to love. (And there are at least another eight fascinating secondary characters.)
For a disaster novel to work, the reader must have people to care about, to root for and who have some hope of surviving in what is an otherwise hopeless situation. Navarro gives us that right from page one and sustains it through 469 pages. She gives us detailed backgrounds for each of the four main characters and introduces six of the eight secondary characters even before we find out anything about the rogue planet Millennium.
We know, to an extent, what's going to happen as soon as we learn that Millennium has been torn apart into several pieces by Jupiter's gravitational pull, but we don't know exactly how these characters are going to fit into the scenario. Navarro sets the stage and includes the Earth itself as a "character" somehow protecting what life it can: people are running amuck, anything female seems to be getting pregnant, it's obvious the center cannot hold and by the time Millenium comes to call, all we need to know are the basics and how the disaster is going to effect our people. Navarro offers it up without a blink and gets on with who we care about.
With the world literally brought to a standstill the heroes struggle and remain pure of heart, the bad guys get nastier and the survival game is afoot. Earth is divided into eternal darkness and unending light, with a narrow strip of gray for humanity to survive in. And if the gray is a little too Edenesque, we don't care. The good guys have deserved a little happiness and besides, the bad guys are out there mutating in the dark (or maybe the light, we don't know) and are sure to be trouble enough for our hardy band and all their babies.
Navarro, as she did with vampires in AfterAge and zombies in deadrush, once again offers us a premise that has been has seemingly been played out in several novels before. But she makes the game her own and racks up enough points for Final Impact (and the reader) to be a winner.