ALIEN TASTE is the first book in the UKIAH OREGON series. I liked it very much. Having already read the fourth book in the series, DOG WARRIOR, I already knew many of the characters and concepts, but I feel the novel did a great job at easing the reader into the craziness that is this series’ world. (Then again, there was also much less craziness in ALIEN TASTE than in DOG WARRIOR, so there is that…)
The characters were all well realized, but the highlight was Ukiah. I found the portrayal of Ukiah, his interactions with more normal humans, and his slow journey of understanding what was happening around him genuinely persuasive, interesting, and moving. Something I found particularly impressive was how Wen Spencer integrated his heightened senses and photographic memory into his character, using them to create behaviors that set him apart from other people, rather than (as is done in many novels) just giving him these abilities and having them be things he uses when the plot needs to move on. His tracking abilities were also an incredibly fascinating exploration of the senses beyond sight, and inspired me to pay a lot of extra attention to the sensory details in the world around me and how authors/books translate those into words. His photographic memory and the portrayal of how he uses it was also very well done, as it was rarely used merely to advance the plot, but was integrated into the character as something that he uses on a daily basis.
It’s worth saying again is just how many novel concepts there were in this series, and how well Wen Spencer introduces each of them and integrates them all with each other.
Cover Art: I like the rain. It could be worse… but I feel the picture is not a good representation of Ukiah.