Aphelion Review # 12

The Ghost Sister

By Liz Williams

Cover Art by Keith Parkenson

Review by Dan L. Hollifield

Type of music/work: Sci-fi, first novel.

Liz Williams
Cover Art by Keith Parkenson
Published by Bantam Spectra Books, http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/spectra.html

General impressions of the album/book:

Outstanding novel! I couldn't bear to put it down. I snarled at each interruption.


Liz Williams has crafted a very believable world for her first novel, populated it with believable characters, and told a story that kept me turning pages all night. Her aliens are nicely done-- not cardboard cliche' critters -- and they react in a natural manner with her human characters. The humans aren't stinted upon either, for they come across as fully developed people also.

Thematically, its a "first contact" story featuring human explorers meeting the natives of an alien world. It also has several other themes woven into the story's tapestry. I particularly liked the alien's extra senses and the way they reacted to and interacted with their world. That was a very well developed element. Also included were ecological, technological, historical, and romantic elements as well as the conflict and adventure necessary for any rowsing good tale. And here I have to congratulate Ms. Williams on her world-building skills. She's created a memorable and unique planet and natives for this novel, I do hope that she can find time to revisit them for a future story. I'd like to see more of that world.

I must stress that this is not a children's novel. Ms. Williams deals with some very adult themes and situations-- which add to the realism of the characters rather than being used gratuitously. I am not in the habit of assigning ratings like the movie industry does, but if I had to guess I'd say that this was between PG-13 and PG-17 somewhere.

Background info:

The bio in the back of the book says that this is her first novel and that she is polishing up a second one for publication in 2002. From the sketchy information offered in the bio, Liz Williams looks to have led a very interesting life. No wonder her characters are so real. Her webpage URL is: http://www.arkady.btinternet.co.uk/Index.html

Review Copyright 2001 by Dan L. Hollifield

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