I'm not a fan of C. J. Cherryh, but I have to admit I enjoyed this book. Well paced, aggressive action and doesn't have her usual annoying attempts to humanize her aliens. Human protagonist is totally lost and overwhelmed in a society that cares for his safety but completely fails to understand his emotional needs or social cues.
This was a very good science fiction novel about different cultures interacting. I liked how Bren Cameron has to figure out what's going on without inadvertently offending his atevi hosts. I look forward to learning what happens next in the second book in the series, Invader.
C.J. Cherryh uses a clever approach to write a story about "otherness". She places her lead character in a situation in which he has no control, and no knowledge of events. He is kidnapped early in the novel and remains a hostage to circumstance through the entire story. Interesting, but also irritating as hell. There is no protagonist, no antagonist - just a lot of action to people who can do very little to affect their environment except experience it with flair. This method helped emphasize the alien and the human, and was an interesting way to reveal a story.
If you like slow alien/human psychology oriented books, this is for you. A ship of humans end up on an alien world, and there is very little in common between the humans and the atevi. It might have been fascinating to see how aliens and humans interacted, but while the start of the book went at a good clip, about 1/3 of the way in it just completely bogged me down. Politics and head games, with aliens. Give me "lawyers, guns and money" instead please...
This is another of Cherryh's Alliance-Union Universe books.
In the first of a trilogy, (Foreigner, Invader, Inheritor), we find a planet that has never known another race until humans accidentally are stranded there, a race that does not understand the concept "love", but has more than a dozen words for the word "betrayal." In this book we find a man who is the sole contact between humans and the Atevi, and what happens to him when racial politics and human emotions collide.
A recommended read, but make sure you read this one FIRST if you read the trilogy.
At first, I was very confused by this book. It starts with, really, a short story setting the far background for the whole series. I think I wouldn't have spent as much energy with the first part if it didn't talk about specific names of people, but talked about them as their jobs. The first part is really ignored once you get into the main part of the book; basically, it is a throw-away part, except that I assume it sets the stage for some events to come (there is some foreshadowing about tying that first part into the story later).
After a confusing and slow-moving first part, Cherryh is quite successful in getting you hooked into the different characters, and their interactions. As the human, Bren, tries to navigate the various political and relational landmines around him, you really come to empathize with him, and then root for him to tie it up.
Luckily, he doesn't tie up everything, just diffuses the situation with a LOT of help from his "friends" (I know, atevi don't have friends). I say "luckily," because then we can enjoy more books that follow!
Not her best effort, in my opinion. The book hints of many ideas, but full development of same is lacking. This seems to be a popular book among genre fans, but I suspect more out of respect for her abilities than actual content.
It had been nearly 5 centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the Atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliancews were defined by individual loyalties, not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of Atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home. Now, nearly 200 years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no Atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into the Atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. the work of an isolated lunatic? The interests of a particular faction? Or the consequence of one human's fondness for a specieswhich has fourteen words for betrayal and ont a single word for love?
Cherryh has done it again---portrayed an alien viewpoint that is extremely not-human, but becomes, through empathy with the characters, something we readers enthusiastically wish to understand.