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The Temple at Landfall by Jane Fletcher
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The Temple at Landfall is a light, entertaining science fiction story with a fantasy feel. It’s also set on an entirely female planet.

Lynn is a chosen of the Goddess, blessed with the ability to Imprint DNA and thus create new life. But from the age of twelve she has been locked inside the temple, guarded by the sisters, and given no choice as to her own life. When she’s to be transferred to another temple, Lynn suddenly gains a measure of freedom and soon a choice that could change her life completely.

Going into The Temple at Landfall, I was under the impression that it was a fantasy novel. It didn’t take much time at all before I realized something else was going on. As it turns out, the only fantasy element is psychic healing powers. The rest is science fiction with some fantasy trappings.

While I didn’t think the world building was exceptional, I did like how it combined science fiction and fantasy. I also liked some of the remnants we see of the original settlement, although I’ll leave you to the discovery of the specifics. I think the world building could have been a bit more in depth. For instance, I would have loved to see more of the native alien flora and fauna.

Actually, “could have been more in depth” describes a great deal of The Temple at Landfall. The characters were decent, although they still felt more like they’d been outlined than fully filled in. As you may have been able to guess, there’s a romantic plotline with another woman, Kim, a solider in the Rangers. While the beginning of the book is exclusively focused on Lynn, not too far in Kim begins getting POV sections as well.

Before I wrap things up, I feel compelled to mention how much I hate the cover art. It’s boring, ugly, and whitewashed. It looks cheap middle grade princess novel, and not a good one. Urgh. I have feelings about art, okay?

While The Temple at Landfall doesn’t rock my world or anything, I don’t regret reading it as it was able to provide a worthwhile level of entertainment. All the same, I doubt I’ll be continuing with the series. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a light f/f genre novel with a happy ending.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Sep 17, 2016 |
After finishing Rangers at Roadsend, I knew I wanted to read more of Fletcher's works. When a good sale came around, I bought almost all of her stuff in one go, although it was a while before I got around to reading any of them. The Temple at Landfall turned out to be just what I needed to help get me out of a bit of a reading slump.

One of my biggest issues with Rangers at Roadsend was its pacing. I'm happy to say that the pacing of The Temple at Landfall was much better, at least during the first half of it. I loved getting to learn a little more about the world through Lynn's eyes. The decision to transfer her to another temple came fairly early on, and there was even a good bit of action when Sister Smith opted to ignore all advice and move forward, despite reports of snow lions in the area. I loved Lynn and Kim's earliest conversations – Kim assumed that Lynn was just as foolish as Sister Smith, and Lynn corrected that impression quickly. The two of them had some very cute moments together.

While I enjoyed the forbiddenness of Kim and Lynn's attraction to one another, it did lead to some moments that were difficult to read, because I liked the two of them so much. I knew, pretty much from the instant that they acted on their attraction, that things could not end well – I just hadn't expected things to go so badly so soon. I was on the edge of my seat, hoping things would turn out all right for the two of them and wondering how Fletcher was going to get them back together after they were separated.

Even though I enjoyed reading about the two of them, I must admit that Chip and Katryn's romance in Rangers at Roadsend was better and more believable. For a good chunk of the book, I couldn't get over my feeling that Lynn's feelings for Kim could easily be puppy love. Kim was basically the first non-Sister Lynn had spent much time with since she was a child. Also, Kim was the one who protected and saved Lynn during the snow lion attack – it would be perfectly understandable for Lynn to develop strong feelings for her. I wish more of the word count had been devoted to developing Kim and Lynn's relationship after they met up again.

The weakest parts of the book, for me, were all the philosophical/theological/world-building conversations with the heretics. Those began maybe halfway through the book, and I felt they interrupted the flow of the story (certainly the pacing), felt kind of clunky, and just generally took me out of the story. The world-building information was worked into the story better during the first half of the book. I had enjoyed recognizing the science-speak in some of the Sisters' prayers (like the one that refers to “Himoti's sacred petri dish”). The discussions with the heretics broke that stuff down in a way that I didn't feel was necessary, at least not for that many pages.

Unfortunately, the more detailed look at the world-building that the discussions with the heretics and the appendix (extracts from the diary of Peter McKay, one of the founding colonists) provided brought some glaring issues to light that I might otherwise have been able to ignore. For instance, only one in one thousand people are Cloners, and one in ten thousand are Imprinters. Saying they're rare is one thing, but these more specific numbers made it difficult to imagine how the colony was even still alive. It takes even Lynn, who is widely known as a very talented Imprinter, hours to combine genetic information and help a single woman become pregnant. If only one in ten thousand people are Imprinters, I don't see how the number of births could keep pace with the number of deaths, much less allow the population to grow. As detailed as the world-building is, it doesn't always seem to be very well thought out.

Despite the issues I had with this book, I still enjoyed it. It hit all the right soft sci-fi buttons for me, and I'm glad I already own more books in the series. I plan to continue reading in chronological order, so it looks like next up is The Walls of Westernfort, which appears to take place right after the events of this book. The main character wants to be a Temple Guard. After the way the Rangers kicked the butts of the Temple Guards in this book (the Rangers are awesome), it'll be interesting to see if I can take this new main character seriously.

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 24, 2013 |
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'The Temple at Landfall' was originally published as 'The World Celeano Chose'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0952362538, Paperback)

In a world without men, imprinter Lynn has a vital gift--the ability to link strands of DNA to create new life. Owned by the Temple, protected and effectively held prisoner there, she leads a life of quiet despair, shut away forever from her family and the world outside.

Then into her life comes Kim; tough, worldly, and courageous, part of a squadron of rangers assigned to protect her on the arduous journey through the mountains to Landfall, the holiest of the Temple sites. Haunted by a tragedy in her own past, Kim is quickly drawn to the lonely young imprinter.

But as the two women grow closer, they know they are putting themselves in grave danger. For in a world where the Church rules the State, there are people who will stop at nothing to make sure Lynn can never escape....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:18 -0400)

Lynn feels more like a prisoner than the chosen of the Goddess. Transfer to another temple is her chance to taste a little freedom on the journey, but all does not go to plan and her dull life is shattered by the dangers and choices that await her.

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