The Federation Anthropological Service would never officially have allowed Elana to be on this mission to the medieval planet Andrecia. If Youngling peoples found out that a supremely advanced and enlightened society like the Federation existed, it would irreparably damage their evolution. Stowing away aboard her father's ship, Elana suddenly becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back the invasion of Andrecia by an aggressive, space-faring Youngling civilization. How can she possibly help the Andrecians, who still believe in magic and superstition, against a force armed with advanced technology -- without revealing her alien powers?
Apprentice medical officer Jarel wishes that the planet the Imperial Exploration Corps has chosen to colonize didn't have a "humanoid" population already living on it. The invaders don't consider the Andrecians to be human, and Jarel has seen the atrocious treatment the natives get from his people. How can he make a difference, when he alone regrets the destruction that his people bring?
Georyn, youngest son of a poor Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a terrible dragon on the other side of the enchanted forest, and he is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat it. In his mind, Elana is the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove he is worthy of defeating the dragon and its powerful minions. Despite both Elana's and Jarel's inner turmoil, Georyn's burden is by far the heaviest. Ultimately, he must pit his innocent faith in the magic of his Enchantress from the Stars against foes who have come from a world beyond his comprehension.
I thought the cover was beautiful, though unassuming, but after reading the blurb above, you see why I had to follow my hunch and pick up this book. Turned out, my hunch was completely right! This isn't really the type of book you rave about (however I may rave--as that is what I do with books )it's more the variety that leaves you thinking and makes a lasting impression.
The characters were well thought through. And though I felt Elana (main character) acted a little young for her age, by the end I could see clearly how she'd matured to view life in a better way. Georyn came through as the slightly wide-eyed innocent he was meant to be. And the interactions between them felt utterly natural.
Characters: 5 Stars
And what a wonder-full/mysterious plot! An interesting mix between Sci-Fi and Fantasy that Sylvia Engdahl pulled off marvelously! It was a cohesive story that represented a section in Elana's life. And I recognized that this was only a very small portion of something much bigger. The fate of a world did rest on her shoulders, but it was refreshing to read a story about growing better and fighting for what is right, even in the little things.
Plot: 5 Stars
Switching between first-person POW with Elana and a classic rendition of Georyn's side of things, it was quite enjoyable to discover how they each viewed different phenomena--such as the giant machine that Georyn sees as a horrendous, fire-breathing dragon. Pushing Elana through difficulties she'd never before considered, and showing how those choices apply to life in general, was extremely thought-provoking and gave more hope for the future.
Style: 5 Stars
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Sci-Fi /Fantasy
Author Site: Sylvia Engdahl