Since it takes forever to get to other planets, mankind has figured out how to grow humans in tubes and only release them when they have found a viable planet and the individuals have completed their training. While they grow in tubes, they get an education based on what is needed in the colony. I believe they are also genetically engineered for their jobs as well. A Farmer has more muscle and his training wouldn't include anything that a doctor would learn. The story follows Porter, the colony's psychologist.
The humans in their tubes are rudely awakened 15 years earlier than they should have been (this never really made sense to me and I'll explain that later) and the ship, Colony, has decided to abort the program. Aborting the program would kill all the people in tubes. Halfway through the abort, it decides that a viable planet has been found and that the people who are still alive should get a chance at surviving. The tube folks wake up in a rain storm while the ship is crashing and everything is being engulfed by flames. They all seek shelter and try to figure out what to do next, seeing as they have no shelter, food, or clothes. What normally would have occurred is Colony would have landed and set up shop. Everybody would have a job, a place to stay, and food. Since the ship tried to destroy itself, most of that stuff was gone.
So, these folks try to figure out how to do their jobs with only half the education they should have received. The management system has a few hiccups while this new society forms and a few people decide to leave the safety (and corruption) of their original home. Shenanigans ensue.
It took me a little while to get into it. I had a hard time with it. In the world of science fiction and fantasy, I always gravitate towards the fantasy, and I generally avoid the science fiction. There are a few exceptions, like "Ender's Game", but I definitely prefer dragons and magic to spaceships and technology. This book seemed pretty sci fi to me from the start, and my interest waned. Since I was stuck in a car, I figured, "I didn't dislike the book, I should keep reading to see if it's worth it." I'm glad I did, though I won't be putting it on my top 10 list any time soon.
The writing was strange. I can't quite pinpoint it. Something was off... maybe the voice. Maybe not. I don't know for sure. I know I had a problem with the age of the folks. At one point in the book, they are called teenagers, but they weren't supposed to complete their education and find a viable planet for 15 more years. If that is the case, they would be in their 30's when they are finally "born". There is no way that the characters are younger than 15, and they sound like they are in their 20's. It just doesn't add up. Also, these people eat the same fruit for over a month... there would be a lot more consequences to that than were covered in the book.
Relationships. This is a tricky portion of the review because the relationship aspect of this book is pretty significant. I say that, but the book would have been fine without the relationship aspect. I don't know that I'm giving anything away by telling you this, but the main character is gay. I can see how that goes along with the story, but the relationships that are formed aren't as big a factor as they are made out to be. There is a lot of "pairing off" in this book that I find unnecessary, but who knows, maybe things would really be like that. I'd like to think that if people were barely surviving would consider their ability to care for a child before procreating. I will say that I like the way he created the relationships with Kelvin and Tarsi. I don't think that could work any other way without there being an imbalance of affection. For the most part, though, I felt like it was a little forced.
The world was not thoroughly explored and I would have liked to learn more about it, but I don't necessarily want to read another book with these same characters.
There is something decidedly familiar about this book, and I cannot place my finger on it.
Overall, I found the book enjoyable, but nothing to write home about. Check it out if you're interested in a survival story with interpersonal drama, adventure, caterpillars, and a rocket.