On his deathbed, Kia's father discloses a secret to her alone: a magnificent and unique diamond he has been hiding for years. Fearing he stole it, she too keeps it secret. She learns it comes from the distant colonized planet of Malem, where her father caught the illness that eventually killed him. Now she is even more convinced he stole it, as it is illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond.
When 16-yr-old Kia is training to be a translator, she is co-opted by a series of events into travelling as a translator to Malem. Using her skill in languages and another skill she picked up after her father's death, the skill of picking locks - she unravels the secret of the mysterious gem and learns what she must do to set things right: return the diamond to its original owner. But how will she find out who that is when no one can know that she, an off-worlder, has a Malemese diamond? And how can she bear to part with this last link to her father?
Kia is quirky, with an ironic sense of humour and a loner. Her sidekick, Agatha, is hopeless in languages and naive to the point of idiocy in Kia's opinion, but possesses the wisdom and compassion Kia needs.
|Publisher:||Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
J. A. McLachlan was born in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of a short story collection, CONNECTIONS, published by Pandora Press and two college textbooks on professional ethics, published by Pearson-Prentice Hall. But science fiction is her first love, a genre she has been reading all her life, and Walls of Wind is her first published science fiction novel. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto at Prospect Agency.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kia is a 16 year old girl with a troubled family life and a penchant for languages. When her father dies, leaving her with a mother who seems to despise her and a sister who won’t give her the time of day, she leaves home and starts school to become a translator. After being caught stealing to finance her new life, she is sent to Malem to act as a translator for a Select (a religious title, something akin to a nun or priest) named Agatha. This is the same world where her father contracted the illness that eventually killed him. It’s also the world where her father acquired the gem he gave her right before he died – a Malem diamond that it is illegal for anyone who is not Malemese to posses. I really enjoyed this story. Kia didn’t seem to be able to get a break at all, and even thought being sent to Malem kept her out of prison, it still seemed like punishment for her. Once she and Agatha arrived on Malem, the story kept moving at a pace that kept me reading, wanting to know what was going to happen next. Both Kia and Agatha were well developed, likable characters who learned and grew throughout the story. Sometimes I wanted to shout at Kia for her behavior, but considering her age it was perfectly appropriate. There was no cliffhanger ending, and it may turn out to be a standalone novel, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more adventures for Kia in the future. Disclaimer – I received a free digital copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
On his deathbed, Kia's father, an interstellar space trader, entrusts to her a diamond from the planet Malem. The problem is that it is very illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond; the penalty is death. In order to get away from an unpleasant home life, Kia engages in the occasional theft to get money to pay for translator school. Kia is caught by Agatha, part of the Order of Universal Benevolence; sort of like the religious police. Kia is sent to Malem, as Agatha's translator. Malem is a cold, wet planet, in great contrast to Kia's dry, arid home world. Malem recently got over a plague which may, or may not, have been started by Malem's planetary neighbor. Among the thousands of casualties was the Queen's young daughter. She blames Kia's father for not reaching the planet quickly enough with the necessary medicine. Kia learns that she cannot, for instance, go into a local tavern and say that she found the diamond lying on the ground. Diamonds are passed down from one generation to another, with the recipient keeping it for their entire life. She has to find its rightful owner. A young child contracts the plague. The requirement is that she is quarantined, alone for seven days, in the Plague House, a stone house in the middle of a swamp. At the end of that time, she either walks out of the House cured, or someone goes in to get her dead body. Agatha volunteers to enter the Plague House to take care of the child, even though it means almost certain death. While she is in there, Kia begins to get the idea that the High Priest is using the Plague House, and what it represents, to mess with the facts, and keep the people on edge. It involves Agatha not leaving the Plague House alive. Does Kia find the diamond's rightful owner? Does Agatha survive the Plague House? This one is really good. It's easy to read, and very well written. Having a main character of color certainly helps. This is recommended for teens, and adults.