Alia Tero by Lull Mengesha and Scott Spotson


Alia Tero, a planet cloned from Earth, presents both opportunity and despair for a bewildered young man named Darren Datita, who must deal with its strange rules, evolved from over hundreds of years of experimental society-building designed to enrich everyone. Everyone on Alia Tero must rotate every four months: this means leaving behind current jobs, roommates, lovers, and city of residence, to take on a fresh new life. While readers laugh at the pitfalls as Darren fumbles one new situation after the other, an undercurrent of restlessness—over just who runs Alia Tero—surfaces at unexpected moments.


This entire story revolves around Darren Datita. The reader follows him through his crazy life, high school forward. Darren is such a haphazard hero. He is rather sweet, although sometimes I couldn’t get a clear idea of what he looked like. I don’t know why this bothered me, but it was like I couldn’t see the full picture. Despite that he was quite amusing and fun! A great story arc where Darren grew and stayed true to the goodness within him. I also like Rachel. Likely because I was seeing her through Darren’s eyes.


What a unique premise. This felt like a science fiction but an analysis of culture and what a different reality of Earth could look like. If instead of the ‘family’ dynamic it was set up as a continual rotation. Darren gets to experience all of the different types of life but then tries to break/change the rules. He wants the bloodlines to stay together. Although the timeline gets really confusing in the middle. I was really enjoying it right up until the very nonsensical moment when Darren gets transported to Earth. I completely understand why the author did it but for me it cast a shadow across the entire story and undercut its brilliance. Although there were a few scenarios that were a little bizarre and almost unrealistic, it was an enjoyable read.


As always, the author’s writing is enjoyable and easy to follow. The cheeky story telling and flippant character, made for an overall enjoyable read. Although there was a mention on Santa Claus at one point and I couldn’t help wondering ‘how did Darren know that?’ Also when Darren gets a windfall the people who tell him he is now in a special group that “This has never happened before” and I just thought there was no way. Besides these periodic mishaps, the author weaved an interesting tale. Although a bit long, it was amusing to see Darren working from one system to the other.


3.5 stars (rounded down)

Overall a unique story with a charming main character that gets a little muddled in the middle. An amusing story!

This is a voluntary review.


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