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Nature's Confession    by J. L. Morin order for
Nature's Confession
by J. L. Morin
Order:  USA  Can
Harvard Square, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Cli-Fi is a rather new Sci-Fi subgenre in which nature/climate is in some way central to the story, sometimes even a character. I have not seen much of it for YA audiences, so in that aspect, J. L. Morin's Nature's Confession is novel.

In the future, Earth has been taken over by pollution and an evil emperor, whose whole goal is to oppress, both the Earth and its inhabitants. Boy (many parents choose not to name their children until age sixteen) is one such inhabitant. Boy, though, is immune to the mind-numbing that goes on in society, and through a mysterious client, gets a job creating a living computer. Boy's sister Kenza also plays an important role in battling the emperor by assisting Valentine, the daughter of Boy's client, in creating an android.

Boy is hunted by the emperor, and the android, Any Gynoid, comes to take his family (minus Kenza) to the planet Phira. On Phira, they obtain a pet, who seems to have some higher purpose in life. Boy's dad goes on a time-traveling mission with Any, and Boy's mom gets involved in government. Soon, though, they are sent to another planet for one final battle to save Nature from the emperor.

Nature's Confession is a mish-mash of so many sci-fi plot devices, and none of them gel or really make sense. Many plot threads are not fully explored and left dangling, while other key elements to the story are never properly explained. Time seems to move in an odd manner. For example, Boy is fifteen at the beginning of the story, but more than a year seems to pass before he is named, and even then, he states at one point that he will be named the next day, but when the narration switches to their pet, he claims some time has passed between that statement and the naming.

Character motivations also do not make sense. For instance, Any Gynoid looks like a leopard woman, yet Boy's dad thinks she is human until their mission is well advanced. The language is also a little off for a YA novel. Morin likes to use big vocabulary, which is not a bad thing as it does stretch the mind, but then there will be a word that sound very much like teenspeak, such as complainy. Also, the word grok, which was coined in Stranger in a Strange Land, is used often, which is rather jarring, especially since many teen readers will not be familiar with the source materials.

J. L. Morin tried to create a YA novel that highlights the importance of protecting nature, but too many concepts were dumped in without being sorted or pared down, making Nature's Confession a very confusing read, especially for its intended audience.

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