Author L. E. Howel sent me an e-copy of Planetfall some time ago for review. Due to a computer snafu I just now got to actually read it.
Planetfall had me from the very start. The story hooked me and held me til the end. The action, intrigue, relationships were spellbinding, I loved it.
The story begins in space and returns to Earth. An Earth that has changed into something the space travelers don't recognize. It is a very complex mix of themes and genres. We have space travel (of course) dystopian society, political intrigue, military action, science, pathos, regret and reinvention and even a manner of the quest. A lot to put into one book. Although to be accurate, author Howel has had to continue the story in a sequel, so maybe it was too much for one book. But I digress.
Planetfall plays the tension between characters very well. They are so well developed that they will at times make the reader crazy angry and at other times our hearts break for them. I think this is what I like best about the story. The characters are not two dimensional cartoons that are only good or bad, they move along the continuum of human behavior realistically.
There is action/adventure, graphic violence, interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict, technology, political conflict, mutant(?) vs normal(?) you'll have to make your own choice as to which is which.
As a series, not all the problems are solved in the first installment (and I don't know how many installments are to come), so the ending (non-ending) is not a cliffhanger exactly but does lead into the next book. Fortunately, I was sent both books and have already started the sequel, but that is for another review.
Not much in the way of sex, romance of a sort, a lot of personal introspection, and heroic actions by several characters. Planetfall by L. E. Howel is the complete package. Enjoy!