Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ARC Review: Wood Sprites by Wen Spencer

Wood Sprites
Author: Wen Spencer
Series: Elfhome (Book 4)
Publication: Baen (September 2, 2014)

Description: Even though they attend a school of gifted students in New York City, child geniuses Louise Mayer and her twin sister Jillian have always felt alone in the world, isolated by their brilliance. Shortly before their ninth birthday, they make an amazing discovery. They’re not alone.

Their real mother was astronaut Esme Shenske and their father was the famous inventor, Leonardo Dufae. They have an older sister, Alexander, living on the planet of Elfhome, and four siblings still in cryogenic storage at the fertility center. There’s only one problem: the frozen embryos are scheduled to be destroyed within six months. The race is on to save their baby brother and sisters.

As a war breaks out on Elfhome and riots start in New York City, the twins use science and magic to plow over everything standing in their way. But when they come face to face with an ancient evil force, they’re soon in over their heads in danger.

My Thoughts: Louise and Jillian are 9-year-old twin geniuses. They have just learned that their parents are not their genetic parents and are searching for information about their genetic parents. They are surprised to discover that their father is the genius who built the gate that has the side effect of making Pittsburgh shift between Earth and Elfhome on a scheduled basis and their mother is an astronaut who took off for Alpha Centauri. They learn that their parents stole their eggs; that they have an older sister in Elfhome; and that they have four younger siblings still in egg form in the cryobank. They also learn that those eggs are going to be destroyed in a short amount of time.

Naturally, the first thing the girls need to do is find a way to rescue their baby brother and sisters. In their research they learn that they are part elf and they learn that bad elves who want to start a war with Elfhome would like to find and use them. They discover a complex plot where elves who have been on Earth for hundreds of years are getting ready to overthrow the government on Elfhome and take over.

This was a complicated fantasy that seems to be taking place concurrently with Elfhome which is Tinker's story while this one is the story of Tinker's unknown younger sisters. I liked the combination of magic and science fiction. I liked the way the two girls depended on each other and loved each other. I liked their determination to protect their unborn siblings. I also liked that their personalities, strengths and weaknesses made them unique individuals.

Despite the age of the characters, I don't really think that this was a young adult book even though older science fiction fans will enjoy the story. It does have an epic fantasy feel with lots of political intrigue. For full enjoyment, I suggest reading the three earlier books in the series - Tinker, Wolf Who Rules, and Elfhome.

Favorite Quote:
"We took the first responders test?

"And probably aced it; yes, I know. You two are very, very smart but you're still children. I know this might be hard for you to understand, but it is the right of every child to grow up innocent. And it's the duty of adults to protect that innocence."

Louise eyed her with confusion. "Is this a sex talk?"

"No, it's not about sex. This is about growing up enough that you can make wise and intelligent decisions for yourself instead of having decisions forced on you. It's something that being smart doesn't help you with without time to know yourself and the world around you."
I got this ARC from Baen Books through Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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