4 ½ stars
Frohic needs to make it home, ideally without being killed in some unpleasant way. He’s a muto (or rhat), a small, rodent-like species that has a love of collecting things. Like most muto families, his is huge. The children are always piled in their rooms while their mother is exhausted and pregnant. His older brother, Deav, is supposed to be going to space as a smuggler to fulfill a contract. When Deav is eaten by a large predator, Frohic’s father is forced to send him in his brother’s place, or the rest of the family will be in trouble.
Getting home may be harder than Fohic had anticipated. He’s on the bad side of Grick, another muto indentured to the smuggling ship.
Frohic’s first mission is collecting debris from an ancient battlefield, which is on a hot planet with a strange humming creature that might just like a rhat for supper. If Frohic doesn’t find enough valuable scrap, he’ll be forced to keep working on the smuggling ship forever.
The Amazon description, which started with the usual sci-fi world building, then took a 180 as the main character broke in and told how that didn’t matter, hooked me immediately. (Click the link below to read it for yourself.) I loved that the main character is an alien. I don’t see many alien main characters, and I have a soft spot for aliens.
It was fascinating to experience muto culture and seeing how their view of family and death is quite different from humans since Frohic considered his family of something like twelve small, and doesn’t mourn the loss of his brother like a human would. There were a lot of little details like that which showed they were aliens, not humans covered in fur.
I really enjoyed the fast pace—it made the book impossible to put down. Since it was short, I read it straight through. It doesn’t have much Christian content, though Frohic does encounter a Christian. This person is one of the few decent humans he meets. It’s probably my favorite book that Kerry Neitz has written. I’ve read A Star Curiously Singing and his first two Amish books, but this story stood out to me because of its pace and because it was more of a fun adventure without as many deep themes as the other books. This story takes place in the multi-author Takamo Universe. Since my only knowledge of the universe is from the Rhats! series, I might have missed any Easter eggs. One doesn’t need to read the other books to enjoy Rhats!
I highly recommend this book for any fans of Kerry’s other books, or generally anyone who is into sci-fi, adventure, aliens, or loves rats.
Heat: None, unless you count the mother being perpetually pregnant.
Violence: Some action based violence, including a few intelligent aliens getting eaten by a large predator.
Genre: Space opera adventure
Age recommendation: 10 and up. Frohic’s age is unknown since he’s not human, but I’d guess he’s the equivalent of a teenager leaving home.
Availability: This book is available on Amazon.