All That Was Asked is one of those books that, even after reading the description, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. “Twitchy little creature”? It sounded a little like a Disney movie.
Happily, I was wrong. Very wrong.
Author Vanessa MacLaren-Wray sets us up on a hostile alien world with, well… aliens. The fun part, however, was figuring out who the aliens actually were (no spoilers there, I think). Several chapters in, when the “twitchy little creature” was babbling, an “ah-ha” moment struck, drawing me back to re-read from the beginning of the book to see what else I’d missed. For context, I never re-read chapters, but this had been laid out so cunningly I couldn’t resist.
From then on, I was hooked, drawn to the story like a comet to the sun. The author does a wonderful job painting a foreign society, and an emerging relationship, with long, skillful strokes. In fact, my only gripe at the end was that there was so much more of this interesting culture I wanted to explore—on both sides (no, I refuse to give spoilers!)—that I desperately hope a sequel is in the works to quench my burning curiosity.
It’s hard to say much more without giving things away. The characters are well-drawn and varied, the history just deep enough to whet your appetite, the relationships abstract yet rewarding (biting tongue…), and the twists and turns plentiful. If you’re in the mood for something different and refreshing, without going off the science fiction deep-end, All That Was Asked is a sure-win.