By Karen A. Wyle
Humans were uncomfortable around the native sentient inhabitants of Tofarn. A group of human scientists decided to attempt to develop better understanding between the two species by implanting embryos of both human and Tofa in human and Tofa surrogate mothers. The hope was that the twins, called the Twin-Bred, would be more able to understand the languages, behaviors, and motivations of each species. The Twin-Bred did understand one another, and they were interested in being ambassadors to help human and Tofarn people get along.
I was intrigued by the author’s development of the Tofa. Physically they were not humanoid, but they were close enough that the humans felt that they should be able to have interactions with them. Tofa had 4 arms, or 5. They leaned instead of what we call sitting. They were taller than humans, and the area where humans would look for a face was featureless. There were not only physical differences from humans. They saw colors differently, tasted food differently, their speech, and their mannerisms- bowing, laughing, crying- were different. (I don’t want to give too much away, but let the reader discover the Tofa.) The Tofa other than the Twin-Bred seemed intimidating, partly because the humans were unsure of their intentions.
The main human character, Mara, and her story were less interesting than discovering about the Tofa. Mara’s twin had died, yet there was a connection with him that was not lost- unless it was her imagination. The feeling of the connection was a reason for her enthusiasm for the Twin-Bred project.
A question that I had was why did humans decide to settle a world that already had sentient inhabitants. I can come up with a reason, which, again, I wouldn’t want to say in a review because it would be a spoiler.
Upon finishing Twin-Bred, I checked to see if Ms. Wyle had other books, but there was only a short story listed. I recommend the book for people who enjoy detailed discussion about other species. There is not a great deal of adventure or action such as there would be in a space opera. The book gradually reveals information about the Tofa, but never enough that they become entirely familiar. Twin-Bred is a book that I plan to read again.
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