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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
In Metal Bones by Kathleen Contine, Gaeth Spearman is expelled from his home on Earth as he has the contagious Steel Elbow virus. His older brother Leo accompanies him as they head to Oblurn, a place for people like Gaeth. However, the duo escapes the place as they find the treatment appalling and head to a space station called New Star City, hoping to find a way to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, on the planet of Whukogantu, a Sorvich named Tank is determined to win the yearly Ceremony that will grant him a journey to find his father. He succeeds but a chilling truth awaits him. Amidst the ongoing dispute between two powerful groups in the galaxy, the Onyx and the Sol Empire, Tank crosses path with the Spearman brothers as they try to stay alive to achieve their dream.
Kathleen Contine entices readers in a rollercoaster of fundamental human emotions and our way of responding to good and evil, love and hate, trust and deception. The story's POV alternates between Leo and Gaeth Spearman and Tank where the subject of loyalty and treachery connects them. I admired Leo’s selflessness as an older brother as he goes to great lengths to take care of his sibling. Gaeth deserves empathy but his anger, frustration, and mistrust lead to costly consequences particularly when the streetwise Sonja becomes the bane of the brothers' relationship. As for the Sorvich, I find Tank's determination and his commitment to the ones he cares about outweighs his brute strength. An engaging read, Metal Bones is about family, sacrifice, friendship, trust, and revenge. As the ending strongly suggests a possible sequel, I look forward to the story’s continuation.