The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Torqed

May 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm (writing)

Torqed: The Quest for Earth – by Cynthia Echterling

The story begins with an intro from various perspectives where we discover that our protagonist, Torq, is the son of a human, far from Earth, and a G’Tari woman, a smaller paler people who bear litters of young, wear facial “catfish” whiskers and have large black eyes with blue-green swirls. The two races cannot interbreed naturally, but the couple had sought the help of a genetic scientist, and Torq is the result.

Sadly, he is orphaned at a young age and raised by G’Tari family. When it is time for Torq to choose what he will do as an adult, a message from his mother reveals that his father wanted him to travel in space and his mother hoped for him to go to Earth and seek out his father’s people.

Torq proceeds to gather resources and make arrangement with his uncle to venture into space, working out how he will get to Earth from there. And that is where his quest for Earth, and the adventures resulting from this quest, begins.

This was a fun read, as Cynthia’s stories are, but I did not enjoy it as much as her book, “Help Wanted, Human: No Experience Necessary”. The story is interesting and her races and world-building are delightfully elaborate, but I’m the type that prefers a focus on the story and some of her descriptions strayed off a bit into something reminiscent of encyclopedic inserts at times, not as integrated into the story as I prefer them to be, or as well as they were with “Help Wanted”. On the other hand, if you are the type that enjoys oodles of description, you’ll probably find this a 5-star read, because they are well-developed.

Also, while it is fascinating to see things from an alien PoV, I found some segments confusing, almost to the point of frustration, and had to re-read them a couple of times to get the point. The story is mostly third person directed, from Torq’s PoV, but I think the book would have been an easier read if either it was fully committed to one narrative form or the other, third person omniscient with less of an alien element, or first person narrative, which Cynthia does so well – then the alieness would have seemed more appropriate.

The characters are Cynthia’s strongest element, always vibrant and intricate. The story is worth reading for Torq, his family and those he encounters along the way alone.

When you read this book, be prepared for some of the formatting to be a little off at times, somewhat distracting, but Cynthia makes up for it with beautiful colour artwork , added to the story in various places.

I certainly would recommend this book, but I think you have to approach it with a particular mindset. Expect it to be as much documentary as it is a tale of exciting adventurous fiction.

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