Note: I’ve reviewed all three of the other books in the Tales of a Warming planet Series. Click on the names of the books to check them out:
Restoration is the fourth book in J. G. Follansbee’s Tales of a Warming Planet series, and in many ways it’s an interesting break from the first few books. Where the first two books focused on fugitives running from the benevolent (if a bit extreme) Bureau of Environmental Security, and the third book on a survival mission starring climate refugees, this entry slows down and takes a deep look at how dealing with the wounds humans inflicted upon the Earth affects people in a small town whose main income comes from agriculture.
We have two main characters and two other point of view characters. The book opens with Junie Wye, a rebellious teenager from California who caved in to her father’s request to move her to a small rural town in Washington. Separated from her boyfriend and most of her friends apart from the c-tribes (think like Facebook groups but way more advanced) she can use through her mind’s eye (computer in your head), she resents her father’s meddling in her life.
Ed Wye is our second protagonist, and he’s returned to the town he grew up in as head of the deconstruction of the dam that gives life to the farmers’ orchards in the surrounding area. A good friend of his from high school chose to hire him despite his terrible reputation in business, and this is his last chance. Right from the get-go, though, it’s clear that the town residents aren’t giving up the dam without a fight. By the end of the chapter, part of the dam collapses and nearly kills several workers inspecting it. And that’s just the beginning.
Like the other entries in the series, Restoration takes a nuanced approach in dealing with complex issues involving that planet’s well being. We get point of view chapters from one of the main antagonists, a woman Ed falls in love with who is a former prostitute, and the son of said antagonist that really flesh out the town and make it feel real. The BES gets one of of its darkest showcases here, though I can’t say why without spoilers.
Though the plot has much smaller stakes than the previous books, it never quite feels devoid of conflict and movement. Junie’s journey from spoiled California kid looking down on the rural hicks into someone much more…well… balanced for lack of a better term feels believable and engaging. Ed’s internal struggle matches the external world and we really feel the fire on his rear as the book moves along. Through most of it, you’re not quite sure who to root for because of how well drawn the other characters are. Those shades of gray add to the feeling that this is a world you could, but probably wouldn’t want to, live in.
4.5/5 stars, an enjoyable romp with decent tension and movement and a well realized theme, but the power-hungry prostitute trope just needs to go. I’ll admit, Syren was more well drawn than the rest.