Twin-Bred (Twin-Bred #1)
My rating: Science Fiction
by Karen A. Wyle
In many ways, Twin-Bred reminded me of China Mieville's Embassytown. In both, humans have reached out into space, forged a home on a planet already inhabited by another sentient species, and struggled with their limited ability to communicate with said aliens. And in both, the proposed solution is a kind of bioengineering involving twins.
Twin-Bred starts with the conception of this project, and proceeds with great leaps and bounds through the following twenty or so years. The sparse style makes it a little harder to engage with the characters, but Mara Cadell, the main character and the driving force behind the project, is intriguing enough to pull the reader along with her. In the first few pages we learn that Mara lost her own twin brother, who became her childhood "imaginary friend," and it's this experience that shapes her to propose the Twin Bred project.
Every person and group in this novel has their own agenda, and I'm sure the author must be well-versed in the politics around large Government-funded projects, because the layers of complex scheming seem plausible even in the more far-fetched moments of the plot.
All in all, this was an enjoyable and original read, with a novel take on the difficulties of culture and communication which are bound to plague inter-species contact one day.