Rating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

When I realized that the next book I had chosen to review was a sci-fi book that involved twincest, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. But as has been happening lately, my expectations were shattered and I enjoyed this story a lot more than I ever thought I would. I will admit that sci-fi isn’t usually my thing, but a well-written story is. In Signal to Noise, Andor creates a fascinating world that is desolate and grotesque. Then she fills the world with some evil villains and endearing heroes and a few that are morally ambiguous enough to make it interesting. In the end, she created a story that will appeal to sci-fi enthusiasts as well as those of us who just want to be entertained.

Theo and Bastian Kautzer are 16-year-old twins who have been living on the planet Noise for the past three years. They were the only survivors when the planet was attacked by alien forces in what is now referred to as the Incursion. Planet Noise is the main supplier of hydronium, which is valuable to other planets since it fuels almost everything. The Kautzer twins expected to be quickly rescued once the Federated Planet Organization (FPO) arrived for another supply of hydronium. They never did come, however, and the boys have been trying to contact the FPO for a rescue for three years. When the FPO and Pangalactic Corp, a mega-congolomerate who requires hydronium, unite to return to Noise, it is to secure the mine that provides the hydronium, something in which Pangalactic has a huge vested financial interest.

Lieutenant Daniel Bane has been assigned to lead a crew of eight to Noise to secure the colony, not expecting to find any survivors. When the crew discover that the Kautzer twins have survived three years of attacks on their own, they are impressed. What they find when they try to extract the hydronium, however, is the stuff of nightmares. The army of Armors that led the Incursion three years ago has become something much more horrifying than they could ever imagine. The crew and the twins soon find themselves fighting for their lives long enough to get off the planet for good.

The Bastian twins have been together, all alone, for three years. They have a bond as twins, but they are also powerful Psions, which means they have a psychic connection as well. So while, yes, there was a graphic element of twincest here, it was balanced by two tough, frightened boys who love and protect each other above all else. They were adorable. I mean, there’s no other way to say it. It’s very difficult to find any fault with their relationship. When the rescue crew arrives, they do experience anxiety about the way their relationship will be perceived, but their behavior in their world is not illegal, just looked down upon by people with religious objections. What I’m saying here is that even if you get a bit squicky when there is incest involved in a story, you should still give this one a chance.

The most impressive feat that Andor achieves in this novel is the creation of her world. It was detailed and easy to visualize, while at the same time setting you on edge with it’s creepy unknown alien force. The description of the Armors was wonderfully disgusting, and the encounters that the crew has with them keep you on the edge of your seat. I could definitely see this book as a very successful movie.

If I’m being nitpicky, there are probably a few flaws that could be pointed out. I found the insistence that Bane had on waiting for direction from above before they evacuated the planet to be frustrating. And it had tragic consequences. The whole Psion powers thing seemed a little convenient in the second half of the book, and I would’ve liked to have known more about it.

Other than that, I think your enjoyment of this book will be mainly influenced by your personal taste. I’m sure sci-fi fans would enjoy it even more than I did, but it’s also accessible to those of us who are kind of dumb when it comes to these sort of things. I recommend it as something different from the norm.