Aopato by Margaret Afseth
Book DescriptionSonia appears to be a typical grandmother at seventy-five. She thinks her worst fears have been realized when she is forced to move into a city senior complex.
She has always felt she was different. When a tiny sphere appears out of empty space, informs her she belongs to a lost race, she is not surprised. As the device knocks her in the forehead, a whole new reality opens up, and Sonia finds herself responsible not only for the welfare of dysfunctional family, but also holding the lives of a rag-tag inter-racial band of survivors. She calls these the invisible ones: Aopato (Ah-or-atos in Greek).
Sonia's life goal will forever be the safety and happiness of those in her care. Why should it be any different now?
But there are those who oppose her, believing she has neither the skills or qualifications to carry out her function. Added to a contentious daughter and jealous brothers is the fact that the species has a natural vicious predator intent on eliminating all of their kind.
How could agape love be sufficient to conquer such hurdles? Will this struggling new remnant die at its birth?
Why we recommend Aopato
This book is very interesting. I found that while it did not really grab me at the beginning, it must be said (primarily due to the opening being set in the "present day" on Earth), the complexity of the alien civilisation that is developed is what is intriguing about this book. The worldbuilding is plausible and very well-structured. Although quite complex in terms of relationship structures, Afseth handles this aspect very well, gradually building up the picture of how the race survives. I especially appreciated the red herrings that surrounded the climax of the story.
The characters are realistic and sympathetic, in that the reader can easily identify with their pitfalls and aspirations. This enables one to buy into the story even as it is complex. Some sequences are repetitive in nature, but Afseth avoids it becoming boring.
And of course, there are surprises along the way.
This book is for readers of all ages.
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