Wilders (Project Earth)
by Brenda Cooper
Cover Artist: Stephan Martiniere
Review by Mel Jacob
Pyr Trade Paperback / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9781633882652
Date: 13 June 2017 List Price $18.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
In Wilders, Brenda Cooper has created a future world where mega-cities hold large populations and the land beyond them is wild and dangerous. When a young girl ventures into them seeking her sister, she has no idea what will ensue. Dangers threaten her, her sister, and the existence of the mega-cities.
As a young child, Coryn and her sister Lou were left orphans when her parents committed suicide. Her mother hated the city and had grown increasingly depressed. Once Lou came of age, she left the city. Coryn, with her robot Paula, grew up in an orphanage. She became a distance runner.
During one of her runs, she encounters an older woman. Despite the woman's age, Coryn finds it difficult to keep up with her. Eventually, they become friends of a sort and Coryn realizes her friend, Julianna, is one of the city's creators.
When Coryn reaches adulthood, she decides to take Paula and find Lou. However, if she leaves, there's no guarantee she will be re-admitted to the city. As far as Coryn knows, Lou is working on a horse ranch helping with turning the land back to its natural state and re-establishing bison herds and wolf packs.
Coryn has no idea of the natural or man-created dangers she will encounter outside the city or that others may try to steal Paula. Between the weather and rebels, she meets two young men who warn and help her.
In some ways, Coryn leads a charmed life. Rescuers appear when she needs them. However, she stumbles into a group of anarchists and semi-religious fanatics and faces execution by them. At the critical moment, she spots her sister Lou.
Coryn is disturbed by the allies Lou is working with to mount a demonstration in the cities to lobby for more resources. Then, disaster strikes.
Concerned about climate change, Cooper is focusing on that issue in Wilders, the first of the Project Earth series.
Characters are the heart of any story and Cooper offers a feast of different relationships in Wilders. She begins with an attractive young heroine. The warm relationship between Coryn and Paula her robot is fascinating as is the more distant one between the sisters, and the mentoring one between Coryn and Julianna. However, the one semi-religious sect depicted is somewhat stereotypical.