The Crystalline Planet
by S. B. Andresen
Balboa Press

"'What were you looking for? Why did they take you?' asked Sam."

Traveling across the galaxy and chasing after his best friend was not the plan. Sam was meant to stay on the Earthen Moon Colony, cementing his seat at the Assembly as a prefect. His open, empathetic nature makes him an effective diplomat. That career path will have to wait. Now, he is on the planet Iloora, searching for Chris.

Chris is what they call a "digger," or archeologist, and has been missing for months without any communication. His mission is to find new resources on nearby planets before Earth's people deplete theirs. Sam retraces Chris' tracks to journey through mysterious landscapes that vaguely reflect Earth's environments. Each Parcel or region seems spiritually tied to crystals. These color-coded minerals enhance the special properties of the habitat and the unique abilities of those dwelling there. Sam risks everything to find his friend. Trusting the citizens to guide him on his journey, a universal picture reveals itself. He sees a critical mission beyond bringing Chris home.

Andresen skillfully creates an enchanting future world. Her elaborate descriptions of the landscapes use all five senses, successfully building an escape for readers. The quick-paced narrative is compelling. The characters are defined with vibrant details and further developed through the storyline. The author also treats the dialogue with intelligence and emotional depth. With its mystery, wonder, and anticipation, this book is an illustration of strong science fiction. Andresen incorporates aspects of life that reflect our current world, including complex politics, the disparity between rich and poor, and the conflict of protecting nature in the wake of harmful development. It is an exhilarating read with a unique adaptation of other intelligent life. Fans of this volume will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of its sequel.

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