Friday, February 17, 2012

Tankborn (YA)

Tankborn. Karen Sandler. 2011. Lee & Low Books. 384 pages.

Kayla hunched on the bank of the Chadi River while below her, Jal, her slender, black-skinned nurture brother, skipped from one deep pool of the river to another, searching for sewer toads. 

What I liked best about Tankborn was the world-building. Sandler challenges readers with it in places, which I thought was a good thing. The society and culture, the vocabulary, it took work. Both to read and to create. But that is one of the more enjoyable elements of speculative fiction (both in science fiction and fantasy) visiting a place--a world--so unlike our own.

Tankborn is set on another planet. And our heroine(s) are two young women that have been genetically engineered. (Their genes have been spliced--animal DNA has been added to human DNA. One of our heroines "sket" is nurturing (I believe the book mentioned this coming from dolphins?) and the other heroine's strength is strength (I can't remember which animal this comes from.) In this society, those that are 'tankborn' are called GEN. The "N" stands for non-human, or does it?! So these GENs aren't even worth being the lowest of the low in the caste system. They're bred--artificially, of course--for servitude, for slavery. They are raised by nurturers. When they're fifteen, each receives an assignment.

Kayla and Mishalla are our two heroines. The story begins with Kayla's story, but soon Mishalla's story becomes an essential element.

I do NOT want to say too much about this one!!! I thought it was a compelling read, and as is often the case with science fiction, it is best to read this one without knowing too much.

Read Tankborn
  • If you're a fan of science fiction, particularly if you're interested in genetic engineering
  • If you're a fan of books set on another planet
  • If you're interested in social development, the development of different cultures, societies, caste systems, etc.
  • If you're a fan of dystopias
  • If you like a little romance with your science fiction (while romance doesn't dominate the story, it is definitely present)
  • If you're looking for multicultural science fiction (POC characters) 
  • If you don't mind new (created) vocabulary in your science fiction

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous,  8:52 PM  

This is categorized as YA, but I'm curious what age you'd recommend. How young of a reader would you say could enjoy this?

It looks interesting. I'm a huge fan of these kind of stories. I'll probably pick it up even if I don't pass it on to my students. Thanks for the review!

Becky 9:12 PM  

I'd say twelve and up. (Though of course, reading level and interest could some might pick it up a little younger than that. There is nothing in it that makes it inappropriate for a younger-than-YA audience.)

Kailana 11:50 AM  

I have wanted to read this for a while, but haven't had the chance yet.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic 12:22 AM  

I'm completely sold. Definitely going to read this one. Thanks for not including spoilers. It made me want to read it even more.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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