Honestly, this book wasn’t what I expected at all. From the blurb, I sort of thought it might be an action sort of book or something along the life of Vatt’s War series by Elizabeth Moon. This book, however, focused outside of the action – there are many social commentaries and philosophical discussions on “humanity”, communities and relationships.
The story is primarily told from the perspective of Grace Delarua whose job is to ensure a smooth running communities (smooth integration of others into the Cygnus Beta society and assisting in their survival etc). One of the most recent tragedy was the annihilation of Sadiri which wiped out its inhabitants and is, therefore, in inhabitable conditions. The Sadirians who were off-planet are now without a home and are seeking to found a new home with similar living conditions to ensure the survival, not only of their race, but also of their culture. Grace is filled compassion for the Sadirians and are the appointed government officer to assist in their search for a new home. She found herself drawn to the Sadirians and their appointed Councillor, Dllenahkh.
Most of the book is of the search of a new home for the Sadirians – a trip around Cygnus Beta collecting genetic and cultural information on the taSadiri, organising exchanges, and of course, getting into trouble here and there. Not only was Grace facing challenged professionally but also personally. She needs to learn of who she really is and to face her challenges head on.
I thought this world was really quite fascinating and whilst I appreciate the commentaries, at about 3/5 of the way, I was wondering whether there is a point of this story at all. Unfortunately, I am one of those who needed a point to a story –there has to be a purpose to make it all worthwhile. Did I find one in this book? Not particularly or at least, not to my satisfaction. I’m actually finding it hard to compartmentalise this novel… sci-fi, yes, but the ending is more romance than anything else… romance, errr not really, since you can barely feel any tension (romantic rather than sexual) throughout the book. Oh, did I mention that the Sadiri is very non-emotional? Hhhmm… that will make it hard for a romance novel…
The world building was the most enjoyable for me though it wasn’t quite as developed as I wanted it to be. The travelling around the planet where many settlements with variety of cultures sort of made it hard as while there are many attributes to explore, you’ll be moving on in the next chapter. That was made what I found slightly frustrating –there were too many settlements to explore in the 300 pages that what we see (read) is just “in passing”. Of course, the main focus is supposed to be the Sadiri but there were too many other distracting things…
If you are looking to pick up this book because it’s tagged ‘romance’ in a sci-fi setting… let me warn you that this is not the typical romance. As I mentioned above, you can’t feel any romantic / sexual tensions at all for most of the book (that’s a good 90% of it) even though you know something’s supposed to be happening… Overall, this was a pretty average and too boring book to explore.
Thanks To Random House Publishing Group & NetGalley for the privilege to read & review galley
- If you want to see what science fiction is capable of in 2013, you ought to pick up this book (musingsofamildmanneredman.com)
- ‘The Best of All Possible Worlds’: after total destruction, a tentative romance (seattletimes.com)