The Touchstone Trilogy
An omnibus edition.
- Lab Rat One
The complete Touchstone Trilogy, containing "Stray", "Lab Rat One" and "Caszandra". Rescue is only the beginning...
On her last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walked out of exams and into a forest. Surrounded by the wrong sort of trees, and animals never featured in any nature documentary, Cass is only sure of one thing: alone, she will be lucky to survive.
The sprawl of abandoned blockish buildings Cass discovers offers her only more puzzles. Where are the people? What is the intoxicating mist which drifts off the buildings in the moonlight? And why does she feel like she's being watched?
Increasingly unnerved, Cass is overjoyed at the arrival of the formidable Setari. Whisked to a world as technologically advanced as the first was primitive, where nanotech computers are grown inside people's skulls, and few have any interest in venturing outside the enormous whitestone cities, Cass finds herself processed as a 'stray', a refugee displaced by the gates torn between worlds. Struggling with an unfamiliar language and culture, she must adapt to virtual classrooms, friends who can teleport, and the ingrained attitude that strays are backward and slow.
Can Cass ever find her way home? And after the people of her new world discover her unexpected value, will they be willing to let her leave?
Andrea K Höst was born in Sweden but raised in Australia - mainly in Townsville, Queensland. She now lives in Sydney.
Andrea writes fantasy and science fantasy, and enjoys creating stories set in worlds which slightly skew our social expectations, and most especially give her female characters something more to do than wait for rescue.
Her novel "The Silence of Medair" was a finalist for the 2010 Aurealis Awards for best fantasy novel.
She is currently working on the YA Fantasy novel "Hunting".
Touchstone consists of five primary books, and includes one additional book that complement the series but is not considered mandatory reads. The current recommended reading order for the series is provided below.
69 ratings, 59 reviews, 0 posts
Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K Host. I purchased this book after reading a sample of Andrea K Host's -And all the Stars-. I had already put the three books in my wish list prior to that. But after reading that sample I had a feeling I should just buy the whole and totally unrelated trilogy. I read through them in three days. People have told me that writing in first person is hard to do. They have given various reasons why it does not work and sometimes those reasons are conflicted. Some even suggest that it's this decades fad to write in first person. Because this is written as a diary it's naturally in first person. Andrea nails first person right on the head, and right out of the box. Cass is such an engaging character in Stray that she sucks you right into her story at the beginning. There is not doubt of Andrea's world building abilities and her strong characterization. But what really got me in this story is in the chapter February when Cass's birthday arrives. And I'm not giving anything away, other than to honestly say I was so into Cass by then that I nearly cried. It's not often a book does that. And then there was Lab Rat One. And by now this series is peopled with a couple of handfuls of characters that you would think you'd need a score card but there are more to come and Cass has a way of making sure we don't lose track of who is who. Or maybe I should say that Andrea does. It doesn't take long before Andrea does it to me again. Even though Cass sometimes begins to sound a bit whinny I just get so into her whole dilemma that I can't help but feel what she must be feeling. So by Caszandra the third installment, you would think I was steeled and ready to handle it. But, Andrea through Cass has a way of now drawing you into her life and the extended family of people around her. This series of books is one powerhouse. Well told tightly packed. Emotionally charged. But what really got me was how it all touched me. I would need more stars if I gave a star for every time I was greatly affected by this story. J.L. Dobias
28 ratings, 7 reviews, 0 posts
Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K Host. I began reading the Stray which hooked me because it reminded me of some of Robert Heinlein's later works where people could take a a left turn in just the right way and end up in another dimension. Maybe even get lost as his character JOB did. And Cassandra is such a dear character- reminding me of one of my favorite book critics whose not afraid to use the f**k word. I could see her as this character when she discovers she's lost F**Kity F**K. Sort of jarring as an opening sentence. This novel is done from a first person perspective and that works well for this story. Contrary to what many believe, first person is not what makes this YA its the YA in the story that does that. This is a sort of Young Adult story so it throws one that it starts right way with this type of language-or at least it does us older folk. Her full name is Cassandra Eloise Devlin. She's been living a sheltered life in Australia and the last thing she wanted today was to get lost on the way home. Well at that age it's a bit embarrassing to get lost. But with this the wrong left turn thing going here it's going to take a while for Cassandra to figure out that she's not just lost. She's LOST. The good news is she has her wilderness survival kit. The bad news is it has everything she might need if she's lost in Sydney. Not much use for where she's at. At one point she's speculating New Zealand- she's still thinking just a bit on the shallow side of the galactic pool. In the next few pages I have sympathy for Cassandra because she's going to do a lot of camping. I hate camping. And she's being forced to do it while still rather lost all the way around. Of course this camping becomes survivalist pretty soon, which is totally different from camping- not that I like it any more.(at least camping usually has the full range from survival roughing it to places that have electricity so you can charge your gadgets and stuff.) No there's not hope for that. Things have gotten real by this time when Cassandra has found all sorts of mysterious flora and fauna. They look almost familiar but very much strange and unfamiliar. And very much wild and dangerous. After wearing down her few useful tools and walking endlessly she comes across a settlement. Unfortunately it seems to be abandoned. Having some time to relax a little and become frustrated by her lack of survival skills Cassandra also has a chance to check out the new world to make some few observations about things. (These become handy later but for now its mostly her own curiosity.) She tries unsuccessfully to make her own materials for bedding and clothing and other house items. Thankfully there are others who know of this world and settlement and who also seem aware of the openings between dimensions and worlds through which Cassandra has stumbled. A team of these people show up at her settlement and a couple of them scare the daylights out of her when she wakes up to them hovering over her. At this point though she's sick and feverish so she's more relieved than frightened. Taken to a hospital like environment she is poked prodded and injected. She doesn't understand the language right away but there seems to be a technology that helps her with this. Once she starts to learn things she realizes that she's considered a savage and that she possibly will never reach their level. When it finally dawns on her that they're treating the savage like a lab rat she begins to balk and that's when her true character kicks in. They say that they will try to return her to her home, but they don't have a clue yet where that is, though they seem to know how to do it once they find it. Later we find its not so easy to do that. Of course at this time Cassandra also begins conflict with the people who saved her and it interferes with whats up for her future. This is a sort of Science Fiction fantasy and almost Paranormal romance, which will contain some romance for Cassandra down the road. But with the speed bumps she creates for herself in the first two books it's going to take a while. I loved this story as Science Fiction. The characters were every much as engaging as I hope for. I'm a character driven story lover and don't much care that all the science is believable nor do I demand a long explanation of the science for validity. It's a bonus that there's a cute romance story that comes out eventually and of course one whole underlying thread that's resolved at the end of the trilogy. I think YA and Sci-Fi and fantasy and paranormal romance lovers will not only love this book but whatever else Ms Host has in that great mind of hers. Keep it coming Andrea. Sural