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Cherry Pickers by Bonnie Milani (Review)

The best way I can describe this is superbly fun and outrageous story is to reference three other pieces of entertainment. The last book I read that had spiders in it was Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It’s a mammoth book filled with zoological (is that the term for insects?) facts and exaggerations that ground the reader in a world where spiders are not only sentient but more advanced than humans.

What I felt when reading Cherry Pickers was that Cherry Picker is to Children of Time, as Star Wars is to Dune.

Bonnie Milani doesn’t need chapters dedicated to the intricacies of her spiders’ culture. All that’s needed is the relationship between the spiders and the human colonists, in this case, prisoners on a prison planet. Why is there a prison on a planet filled with giant spiders? Because we want their silk.

Simple. What Milani does incredibly, and no

t just in this book (I’ve read Monkey’s Luck and Home World previously), is use an easily understandable colloquial language and shorthand references to bring us a lived-in universe. Nothing in Cherry Pickers needs further explanation because Milani is a pro at this great tactic, delivering us a realised world without having to rely on heavy exposition.

Instead, we get a frenetic, heartfelt story which sounds nothing more than comedic if I were to say it’s about a teenage girl, looking to get her leg over to be considered a woman—but it’s so much more than that, and all within 80 pages.

If you’re not already reading Milani, I ask you, why the hells not?


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