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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.
Mistwalker (Discovery) - Denise Lopes Heald Ver Day is a jungle planet, crawling with bugs and bities, dripping with mud, sap, and poison. Original settlement there was so difficult only a small minority survived, adapting to living on the planet. They're known as 'greenies' and have a green flush to their skin thanks to eating the local plants.Ver Day is going through a time of transition - population has increased in the few cities, and off-world immigration is on the rise. A push is being made to change the long-standing laws which limit 'tech'. Our story focuses around Sal, a hauler (someone who drags sleds of supplies to outlying settlements). Sal lost her family young, and keeps herself to herself, but she needs an extra hauler for her sled and the only muscle available is a 'newbie' (off-worlder). Newbies are despised because of their reliance on tech, their lack of common sense, and their tendency to die the minute you become attached to them. But with little choice, Sal hires the newbie on.Anyone who has read C. J. Cherryh's Angel with the Sword will be familiar with the bones of this story. Hard-living, independent, trust-shy poor woman meets educated pretty-boy with upper class troubles. There's a lot of hurt/comfort, a slow growth of understanding between two very different people - but a whole world of problems which could keep them apart.The characters are beautifully-rounded and sympathetic, and Ver Day itself is an inescapable presence, with its weather, its plants, and its wildlife. I swear these people rarely get a chance to wake up without having to pick off the latest bug or snake which has crawled on them while they slept.Overall a very satisfying read with a believable resolution.