Twin Landing by Rex Burke (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: Twin Landing by Rex Burke

twin landing by rex burke

Read Fantasy Book Critic‘s review of Orphan Planet, book one in the Odyssey Earth series here

Buy Orphan Planet, book one in the Odyssey Earth series here

Pre-order Twin Landing, book two in the Odyssey Earth series here

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Rex Burke is a SciFi writer based in North Yorkshire, UK.

When he was young, he read every one of those yellow-jacketed Victor Gollancz hardbacks in his local library. He’s sure there are still thrilling SciFi adventures to be told – even if he has to write them himself.

When he’s not writing, he travels – one way or another, he’ll get to the stars, even if it’s just as stardust when his own story is done.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB:  Typical. The colony ship, Odyssey Earth , travels fifty trillion miles without finding a habitable planet, and then two come along at once.

The mission is not exactly going to plan for the settlers of New Earth. In the aftermath of an accident that robbed them of their youngest crew-members, Captain Juno Washington and her second-in-command, Susannah, are contending with broken hearts and brittle feelings. Reeves, the AI, is feeling strangely out of sorts, the new security officer is behaving oddly, and the local goats have just gatecrashed the landing ceremony.
Things aren’t much better on the neighbouring twin planet, where the castaways are finding life hard without home comforts. Dana, Dervla, Manisha, Karlan, Bryson and Poole – six feisty teenagers with a nice line in condescension, eye rolls, and opinions about everything. And Jordan Booth, who just wants a hot shower and a quiet life.
When new arrivals threaten the mission, friends are separated and family ties tested. Meanwhile, as the twin planet starts to give up its secrets, Poole wants to go exploring. And Poole – everyone agrees – is an idiot who you wouldn’t let look after a hamster, so what could possibly go wrong there?
In the end, it all comes down to trust. Who’s on your side? Who’s got your back? And who’s coming to the rescue?

FORMAT/INFO: Twin Landing is the second book in the Odyssey Earth series, and will be self-published by the author on 11th July, 2023 in ebook format.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS:  I loved Orphan Planet, and I haven’t been able to stop recommending it to people. Twin Landing is also a hit.

Twin Landing picks up right where Orphan Planet left off. And right before it picks up, there’s a recap section, which I appreciated. The author tries to spend the first few chapters getting things running, while trying to organically work events from the previous book into the narrative. I see this going one of two ways for readers. I found the first few chapters a it repetitive on these terms, and would have preferred some trimming down there. But that’s pretty much the only negative I have to say about it.

It has all the things I loved in book one. There are dad-jokes which may or may not work for you, there is the hostility between the Jordan and the version of Reeves that he and the teens are stuck with, as well as the bickering teens who love each other but are stuck in the same space. For most of the book, the prose is exactly what I expected: crisp, and low on the unnecessary.

The book is evenly paced, even with the introduction of all the new points of view in the same book, which (mostly) add new characters to learn to love. The conflict here is not circumstantial, it is induced by a characters who is easy to hate as a villain. It is clear that that is the intent, and it is well done.

The theme of family and parent-child relationships continues in this book, and multiple flavours are portrayed with every new additional perspective. Jordan’s grief is further explored, but we also get to see him grow to be a father figure to the teens. I still think of them as children, and that’s a testament to how well these relationships are portrayed. The author maintains a good balance between providing page time for the crew that lands on New Earth and the six stranded members on the twin planet, while allowing them to accept different outcomes for their future. My favourite moments? It’s a tie between the ones with the children learning life planet-side, a certain conversation between Jordan and Reeves, or the moves made by a certain set of people to help a part of sudden introductions to the New Earth settlement.

I applaud the author’s approach to structuring this book, but you must know it ends on multiple cliffhangers. Of course everyone will be ok and that’s what we know we can expect since it is a feel-good series, but I still find I worry for many characters. There was a certain idea that I felt occurred to one of the characters late enough to help the book play out a bit too conveniently, but it doesn’t bother me enough to be anything but minor critique. Ultimately, this book wasn’t as positive a read as the previous simply because I went into it with more expectations, and I doubt anything will capture the magic of the read that Orphan Planet was.

CONCLUSION: Twin Landing is a fitting sequel to Orphan Planet. It picks up where the first book left off, and is sure to give readers new characters to care for, and worry about. I can’t wait to be able to read the final entry in the Odyssey Earth series, and in the meantime, I am sure that I will pore over pages of the rest to tide me over.

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