For five years the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands have lived with the Ynaa, a race of superadvanced aliens on a research mission they will not fully disclose. They are benevolent in many ways but meet any act of aggression with disproportional wrath. This has led to a strained relationship between the Ynaa and the local Virgin Islanders and a peace that cannot last.
Emotional prose and distinctive characters highlight an incredible story that will touch readers’ hearts and minds ... A compelling tale of invasive occupation and emotional uprising, Turnbull’s debut is complex and enthralling. It’s a must for all libraries, and the writer, who crafts speculative stories with black characters on par with Octavia Butler, is definitely one to watch.
... combines a solid, modest gravitas, a homey quotidian ambiance, a sophistication of character development, and some genuine SFnal strangeness into a unique and savory gumbo ... A native of the region before taking up residence in the USA, Turnbull has the setting and citizens of St. Thomas in his bones and blood, and he conveys their reality to us gracefully, colorfully and with a minimum of hand-holding ... Turnbull illustrates life on the island and the patterns of culture that contribute to the climactic mini-apocalypse with sensitivity and flair. He charts the personal arcs of his characters with insight and ingenuity ... Ultimately, this deft, low-key, exacting, surprising, yet predestined story assumes the contours of the classic account of two cultures at cross-purposes, misunderstanding each other through a welter of good and bad intentions, tragedy resulting.
Turnbull’s light touch here is effective: the connection he draws between historical Caribbean slavery and alien occupation is firm and unsparing, but unsentimental. The fevered heroics of alien invasion stories and human resistance can be thrilling; sometimes, though, they read like a sleeper waking from a nightmare and re-litigating the dream, convincing themselves it (colonization, enslavement) wouldn’t happen to them, not that way. Turnbull is more interested in probing the complexities of resistance, what it means to answer violence with violence and what these cycles signify to occupiers and rebels alike ... Turnbull’s honesty here is important: the world we’d like to see, that we think is so obviously a better one, is hard to get to, because it leaves out the need for reckoning, symmetry, satisfaction that drives our sense of justice.