If Tomorrow Comes
By Nancy Kress
Hardcover, 334 pages
Thank you to Tor for sending me this book for free in exchange for my honest review.
Ten years after the events of Tomorrow’s Kin, If Tomorrow Comes explores what happens when a group of Terrans sets off on a long-awaited expedition to their kindred on World. A group of scientists, including Marianne Jenner, military and diplomats set off in the ship built to the specifications left behind by the aliens. But when they reach World, also known as Kindred, nothing is as they expected.
This sequel didn’t disappoint. Kress kept it fresh with a new setting and some new characters, but a few familiar faces turn up.
Dr. Jenner joins the crew of the Friendship on the first expedition to Kindred, known as World by the people who inhabit it, the planet the “aliens” came from over a decade ago. Disaster strikes before Dr. Jenner and the rest of the crew can reach World however. Once on the planet, the punches don’t stop coming – rather than the high-tech, advanced society they assumed the people of Kindred possessed, the Terrans find a simplified society and tech even less developed than that of Earth.
This poses a problem for the people of Kindred, as the spore cloud that wreaked so much havoc on Earth is headed there way. Despite using the intelligence of the scientists of Earth when they visited, the people of Kindred have not developed a vaccine to the spores that will most likely destroy most of their population.
Much like the first book, the majority of the story takes place in a lab and revolves around a team trying to develop a vaccine. Unlike the first book, the scientists are dealing with limited tech and resources and find themselves amid a group of hostile natives and “protected” by a small troop of trigger-happy Rangers. The tension is much higher in this book and we get a look at the lifestyle and society of the people of Kindred.
I enjoyed some of the new characters and was annoyed by others and I think this added to the tension that Kress created. Once more, I feel like I shouldn’t say much about what happens in the book. A) You need to read Tomorrow’s Kin first and B) the details are best discovered through reading.
The plot continued to take unexpected turns and I was once again very involved in Dr. Jenner’s lives, as well as some of the other characters. I don’t want to say that not a lot happens in these books, because I’m sure if I broke down the major scenes, a lot happens. But it feels like Kress accomplishes a lot of character development and action within a limited amount of scenes or environments.
Really, I’m not quite sure what I’m saying – surprising none of you. Let me just repeat that I enjoyed this sequel. I think it’s as solid as the first!
I suddenly realized that the prologue left me with some unanswered questions. Either this is something that will resolve itself in the third book, or I definitely missed a detail. If you’ve read this and you know that I’ve missed some explanation, please let me know! Until then, it’s just one more reason to look forward to Terran Tomorrow, which comes out in November (ugh, I have to wait that long!?)
The book ends with a cliffhanger (a…spacehanger?) and I can’t wait to read more. Whereas the first book focused a lot on environmental science and political tension, this book centers more around medical science and social tension. There are some similar themes that certainly link the two books together, but nothing felt stale or repeated. If you haven’t yet started this series and any of this sounds interesting to you, I strongly suggest you pick it up!