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TPG reviews: Alone, by Carmen Capuano

June 25, 2013

Alone provides a fantastic premise which is reasonably well executed, though the ending will disappoint some

Loni is terrified. Her very, very worst fears have come to Life. Her Eyon Hatchling, her “Little” is about to be taken from her. Ok, perhaps not actually taken away…but once he is connected to his work machine, Loni knows exactly what will happen to him. He will be gone. Changed. Different. And she can’t let that happen.

Not now, not EVER!

Not that Little is prepared to let that happen either! Different to other Eyons, he loves his Pet Human, Loni, with every feather on his body. And if that means leaving his egg-mother and his home and all he has ever known behind, then that is exactly what he will have to do. And if it means protecting Loni from the brutal never-ending wars, which rage in the distant villages of Humans, well then, he will do that too.

Far across the land, San knows that things aren’t quite as they ought to be. Comfortable and secure as his life as a Human Pet is, he is convinced that there is something else, some truth that he doesn’t yet know… something… darker.

And he isn’t alone in thinking that either. Only a chance meeting with another Pet, sets him thinking that perhaps Humans had some other history, that they were not always Pets, kept in comfort but denied freedom of will. And if Humans had a different history to what was communally believed, could they also have a different destiny?

My rating: 3/5

I’ll start with this: on a technical level, this book is utterly horrendous.  From the very beginning it is filled with misplaced commas, excessive exclamation marks and ropy formatting.  Various words are capitalized which probably shouldn’t be, most notably “Pet” and “Eyon”.  In general, this book gave me the impression of an author with much raw talent but with little care for the editing process.

And yet, for much of the time reading it, I absolutely loved it.

The book’s concept is certainly a novel one.  In Alone, humanity is dominated a race of avian humanoids called eyons.  The creatures frequently take in human children to live as pets and servants; Loni and San, the book’s protagonists, are two such pets.  Their owners, like most other eyons, spend most of their lives hooked up to mysterious “work machines” and are consequently oblivious to the world around them.  Loni, however, is different in that she spends most of her time with her owner’s hatchling, who she calls Little.  When Little’s work machine arrive, the two flee in order to keep Little from becoming like the others.  San, meanwhile, leaves without prompting in order to discover the truth behind humanity’s place in the world.

Chapters alternate between Loni’s and San’s perspectives, with the final chapter incorporating both points of view at once.  Of the two, I must admit that I preferred Loni’s sections by a fairly long way.  I could genuinely feel the bond between Loni and Little as I read about them, making them very easy to emphasize with.  There is a real sense of progression in Loni’s chapters, as both she and Little learn about the world around them and vow to change it for the better.  San’s chapters were hardly bad, but their events felt quite random at times and I didn’t feel that he developed as much as he could have done.

My only major criticism of this book is the ending, which leaves almost all of the book’s plot threads open and seems intended solely to set up a series.  This is compounded by the fact that all other “Owners” books have been prequels so far, which leaves me to wonder if the author will ever go back to Loni, Little and San.  I really hope that she does, as it would be a shame to end their tale where it currently is.  Here’s hoping it happens.

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