97 points, 5 STARS!
The kinetically gifted, trained in mind/machine gestalt, are the most valued citizens of the Nine Star League. Using mental powers alone, these few Prime Talents transport ships, cargo and people between Earth’s Moon, Mars’ Demos and Jupiter’s Callisto.
An orphaned young girl, simply called The Rowan, is discovered to have superior telepathic potential and is trained to become Prime Talent on Callisto. After years of self-sacrificing dedication to her position, The Rowan intercepts an urgent mental call from Jeff Raven, a young Prime Talent on distant Deneb. She convinces the other Primes to merge their powers with hers to help fight off an attack by invading aliens. Her growing relationship with Jeff gives her the courage to break her status-imposed isolation, and choose the more rewarding world of love and family.
Instead, she had gone from one lonely tower to another. Yegrani’s ‘long and lonely road’ had been before her a long and lonely time.
I absolutely loved reading The Rowan. It was like this book was specifically created to hit all of my “Oh my god, I love it!” buttons. It is slow paced, taking the reader through the life of The Rowan. Perhaps a bit slower than some readers might wish McCaffrey to go, even. Yet I loved the pace, and I loved watching The Rowan grow up.
This is the start of a spinoff from McCaffrey’s The Talents series, several generations removed from the characters in those books, so it isn’t necessary to read The Talent before reading this (and I wouldn’t even recommend that you do). I’d guess at the very least seven generations have passed, if not more. Mankind has found a way to colonize space. And the only way they could do that was through the help of extremely talented Prime telekinetics and telepaths who work tirelessly to shift people and supplies and send messages across the galaxy.
Enter The Rowan. She was found as a toddler because she kept sending a distress signal to an entire planet. Her family all dead, she grew up a ward of the planet for the good of FT&T, who are the organization that employs the Primes. The Rowan is extremely powerful from an unbelievably young age. She grew up knowing she would be a Prime, and she grew up with everyone else knowing she would be a Prime. Which means that she was training to work even as a young kid. That is all she ever really does is work and study, even from as young as nine years old, except for some short vacations.
We follow The Rowan as she grows up. She is so incredibly lonely. It is heartbreaking. She works and she works and she works, because she doesn’t really have any peers. Everyone around her is an underling, they all answer to her. And then midway through the book, she gets trapped on a Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons for Story Reasons, which makes The Rowan even more lonely. Because she doesn’t have anyone and can’t go anywhere. It breaks my heart.
Until a colony planet, Deneb, is attacked by aliens and is requesting help from Earth Prime. Only, Deneb got The Rowan, instead. Which is the start to not only an amazing story, but a beautiful relationship as well when Deneb turns out to be a newly awakened Prime worthy of being with The Rowan.
I absolutely adored this book, and I honestly would consider rereading it at some point in the future. It just felt so right.