The Earth Family Smith

The Tumuerian Dream

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
335 Pages
Reviewed on 06/22/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Earth Family Smith is a work of fiction in the science fiction and political satire sub-genres and was penned by author Chun-Tien Leung. Written for young adult audiences, the work is the opening novel to The Tumuerian Dream series, which takes us through the many adventures of a human group that crash land onto an alien planet. Our central figure is Cameron Smith, a teenage girl who escapes with her family and siblings from a climate-ruined planet Earth, only to find a whole host of new problems when she is separated from the adults and left to fend for herself and protect her siblings in a strange new world.

Author Chun-Tien Leung has crafted a truly excellent young adult science fiction adventure, and one which beautifully mirrors many of the persistent issues of modern-day living within its fantastical plot journey. The orange-skinned figure, for example, who accepts no illegal aliens in his lands, is a delightful touch which is realistically rendered into this sci-fi world, but will also have adult readers giggling and rolling their eyes at his militant ways. For teen readers, the central character of Cameron is a figure whom readers can empathize with for her struggles, and the plot shapes her well as she develops her bravery and talent for survival against the odds. The dialogue too was an impressive feature for me, keeping teen readers engaged with snappy lines and realistic speech. Overall, I would recommend The Earth Family Smith to all YA readers looking for a fun and action-packed sci-fi epic.

Liz Konkel

The Earth Family Smith by Chun-Tien Leung is the first book in The Tumuerian Dream series. Earth has fallen from destruction due to climate change and pollution which has forced its inhabitants to flee. Cameron Smith is among those fleeing the planet in hopes of obtaining a better life with her younger siblings and parents but nothing goes according to plan when the trip to New Terra finds the three children separated from their parents and alone on an unknown planet. The three children are taken in by a new foster family that defends them from the portion of the population that views them as illegal aliens. They soon find themselves helping with the political situation on their new planet as the children must fight to stay in their new home and face threats of being deported off the planet with no place to go.

The story is a timely satirical tale that uses science fiction to explore serious situations going on today, seen through the adventure of children facing deportation on another planet and separation from their parents. The adventure and themes are reminiscent of Lost in Space with the Smith family leaving earth behind only with a modern twist as the family is separated and the Smith children are on their own. Several themes are explored throughout which take an up-close look at immigration, deportation, and separating families, at the root of the Smith children’s plight as they’re taken away from the only home they knew on earth and separated from their parents on another planet. The aliens are reflections of human society where some come to the children’s aid and foster them, giving them a family and protecting them, while others wish to deport them off the planet to places unknown. The aliens’ politics are reflective of human politics and allow for Leung to use them to show a political atmosphere through the eyes of children. This is an important story that is told with heart, sincerity, and truth aimed at young adult readers but can appeal to all ages. The Earth Family Smith is a poignant and necessary story - an emotional, honest, timely, and satirical adventure that explores a climate ravaged earth, deportation, immigration, and politics.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Leaving Earth seems like the only alternative for many as the planet is dying. But, seeking utopia on a new planet may not be the ideal option as political intrigue and discord exist universally. That’s what the Smith children discover when they crash land on the planet Tumuera, which wasn’t their destination. Some of the inhabitants of Tumuera are friendly, but there are others who seek the deportation of all non-Tumueras. Although Cameron, the oldest of the Smith children, works hard to contribute to the new society, to fit in and be accepted, there are others who seek their demise, for leaving the planet without a viable spacecraft means certain death for the Smiths.

Chun-Tien Leung’s science fiction novel, The Earth Family Smith: The Tumuerian Dream, is the first book in a new series. The plot is well laid out and develops with lots of technical wizardry and drama, keeping the reader engrossed in the new world excitement. There is an element of political satire in the story as the new world greets the crash victims with divided opinions, making it evident that even in a new world with a new culture of living, thinking sentient beings are not immune from politics. As one would expect, violence erupts as the evil faction confronts the newcomers and demands their expulsion from the planet. The characters are well developed and believable and the reader has to love the tenacity of the oldest Smith child, teenager Cameron. The wonders of the new world and culture are introduced as a ‘wow’ factor. The second Smith child, Barry, can’t contain his excitement as his active mind demands answers to countless questions, so typical of a techno-savvy kid. It's rare that a book really captures my interest and imagination, but this one was definitely an exciting read, a real page-turner.

Lesley Jones

In The Earth Family Smith by Chun-Tien Leung, with civilization on Earth almost wiped out by climate change and the Red Plague, the only chance of survival is a new life on the planet New Terra. Waiting to board the Ark III to begin their new life is the Smith family, Cameron, her two younger siblings Amilee and Barry, and their parents. When the children awake two years later, they discover their capsule has crashed landed on a planet known as Tumueria and their parents are missing. As the children leave the capsule, desperate to find their parents, they are met by a group of aliens called Arap-Musoogums. Some welcome the arrival of immigrants while others are threatened by their presence and want them to return to their own land. As the children try to adjust to their new surroundings, they face bigotry, hostility but friendship, and kindness too. They realize the problems of division, hatred, and destruction of the planet for greed they left behind are the same on New Terra. The children must do everything possible to pacify their enemies if they are to survive but with a new commander-in-chief supporting the deportation of illegal immigrants, will the children be sent back to Earth and lose any chance of ever finding their parents?

The Earth Family Smith by Chun-Tien Leung is exceptionally written and draws you into the lives of Cameron and her siblings immediately. The descriptive narrative and the emotions felt by the characters are relayed in great detail. Even before the Smith family leave Earth, their treatment is very similar to that of immigrants in Western society as they face bureaucracy and inhumane conditions. There are many powerful yet subtle messages throughout that will resonate with the reader. From political corruption to the battle against diversity, freedom of expression to bigotry, social injustice, and climate change. The characters are relatable and their personalities really shine through in their dialogue and behavior. Cameron's huge heart and her determination to encourage everyone to be the best version of themselves. Barry's intelligence and inquisitiveness and Amilee's sharp wit and common sense. I also loved Qetu, the Arap-Musoogum who adopted the children as her own. The conflicts between different groups, born out of misinformation and ignorance, brought great depth and realism to the story. The relationships between the characters were developed gradually and made for some very interesting reading. There are some great moments of humor too as the aliens and children learn about each other. A compelling read that will make you question your attitude to people deemed different than yourself.

Rabia Tanveer

The Earth Family Smith is the first book in The Tumuerian Dream series by Chun-Tien Leung. This is the story of three siblings as they try to survive in a strange new world. Earth is about to be destroyed by climate change and the Smith family is not planning on staying on the planet when that happens. They are ready to get out of there and go to a new planet that is safer; however, that plan goes awry. The three Smith children are separated from their parents and they crash land on a planet called Tumuera where they are unwelcome. Although they are saved by a handful of people on the planet, the children still have to fight hard to show the inhabitants of Tumuera they are worthy citizens. However, things are not easy. Cameron, Amilee, and Barry will have to prove their worth, work hard, and fight an adversary if they want to survive.

The Earth Family Smith by Chun-Tien Leung is an incredibly easy to read story that I just breezed through. Cameron is a smart girl; she is opinionated and she is not afraid to take a chance. Moving to a different planet was a big move for her and she lamented the loss of the comfort Earth brought to her, but Tumuera proves to be a place where she can become so much more than just Cameron. Being the oldest of the bunch, she took on a lot of responsibility and the author did a great job of providing her with the opportunities to grow. The setting of the story is very imaginative, the plot is riveting and the overall ambiance of the story is very interesting. The pace is just right to keep the reader interested without making them feel rushed. I enjoyed this story and now look forward to the next novel in the series. A well-written story with room to grow.

Bernie

I bought this book for my middle grade daughter.for books to read during the Covid19 Pandemic. She finished it in a day and right away told me she loved it. It took me a little longer to finish reading, but I did and I pleasantly surprised by how good the book was. It’s a sci-fi adventure story about immigration, a theme that hits home with me in many ways. As an immigrant myself I can relate to this story and saw much of myself the main character Cameron when I was a young immigrant. As a mother I identify strongly with the Qetu character. Her story arch was the most surprising to me and one that hit me the hardest. I cried at the end. My daughter loved how Cameron started out as a lost teenage girl on an alien planet, but later discovers her true potentially. And all the young characters in this story speak to her concerns. She also identities with the many important themes such as the environmental, inequality and injustice. This book really got me thinking about what’s going on in America today. With the pandemic and the police protest, this book was the most timely novel I ever read. And I think my daughter who is still young enough and doesn’t know the full story of what’s going on in American politics will get why many Americans elected Donald Trump. The Earth Family Smith is a wonderfully imaginative story that is relevant to today’s concerns. I recommend everyone read this book, not just young readers but all ages and backgrounds.