Calypso by Natalie Cuddington is Released
Justin's arrival with a team of Earthlings throws both their lives upside down. Earth is dying from the effects of global warming, and the team that visits Calypso, ostensibly to see if it can be colonized, has a more sinister plan in mind. They begin killing the adult Calypsians, burning their homes, and kidnapping the children. But why? Do they need hostages as bargaining chips to ensure their own safety? Or do they have another motive in mind?
Justin is appalled that his own mother would lie to him about the purpose of the Calypso mission and he teams up with Iva to escape the Earthlings. They become fugitives dedicated to freeing the kidnapped kids and defeating the increasingly cruel invaders from Earth.
Along the way, they get help from some unlikely sources: Carlie, a researcher from Earth who is horrified at the invading team's ruthlessness, and Brett, a gay soldier. Both have left their respective loves on Earth and feel betrayed by their own people. On top of it all, Iva and Justin are beginning to fall in love, which would make both of them traitors. Certainly there are enough collaborators on either side to make it difficult to trust anyone.
Natalie Cuddington's debut work is an exciting, well-plotted, coming-of-age, young adult science fiction novel that manages to combine the mystery genre with a romantic subplot detailing the awkward uncertainties and missteps of young love. Her narrative is crisp and inventive, the characterizations sharply defined and ringing with truth: Iva's trial by fire arcs her from being a nervous fraidy-cat girl with a tendency to cry to a strong, confident woman ready to take on the world. Any world.
Calypso reads like a novel from a much more mature author. It is certainly one of the best-written recent books in the young adult fiction genre, reminding one of Jeff Vandermeer's excellent Southern Reach trilogy. Natalie Cuddington is an author to watch.
Author Biography: Natalie Cuddington is a 26-year-old Ottawa- born author who loves poutine, her boyfriend, books, movies, photography and beaches, not necessarily in that order. Calypso is her first published novel.