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The Best of All Possible Worlds [Kindle Edition]

Karen Lord
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is a story of hope.

Grace Delarua, a civil servant with the

government of Cygnus Beta, remembers when the Sadiri arrived on their planet, a

galactic hinterland for pioneers and refugees.

This is a story of survival.

Dllenahkh, leader of the small group of

Sadiri settlers on Cygnus Beta, remembers the cool strong blues and gentle

sunlight of his home world. He also remembers the moment he was told his planet

was destroyed.

This is a story of love.

Now they must work together to rebuild his

decimated population by searching for the last surviving members of his race.

This is a story about finding the best of all possible


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Product Description


'a real delight to read' Fantasy Book Critic.

From the Inside Flap

When civil servant Grace Delarua is assigned to work with Dllenahkh from the new Sadiri settlement, her routine job in the government of Cygnus Beta suddenly becomes very interesting. The Sadiri were once the galaxy's ruling elite - until their planet's biosphere was poisoned, leaving Dllenahkh and his fellow refugees the excess males of a decimated population, desperate in their search for stability, security... and wives. Delarua joins Dllenahkh on a quest to distant communities founded by past Sadiri settlers. Delarua is impulsive, garrulous and fully immersed in the single life; Dllenahkh is controlled, taciturn and responsible for keeping his community together. Delarua shun deeper connections with men; Dllenahkh is part of a community that has lost most of its women. They both have a great deal to learn... The Best of All Possible Worlds is a magical tale of survival and identity: individual, familial, national, global and human.

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More About the Author

Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier and an academic at various times and in various countries. She is now a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel Redemption in Indigo won the 2008 Frank Collymore Literary Award, the 2011 William L. Crawford Award and the 2011 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Best of all Possible Worlds is a slightly strange novel. I suspect that I did not quite comprehend everything that's in it. The back story is treated as so incidental that I occasionally felt a little lost.

The novel begins with a bit of a shock: a disaster / genocide has befallen a race of humanoid aliens. One branch of the remnants from the disaster is now starting a colony on an Earth-like planet that is a kind of refuge for races and nations from across the universe. All are human(ish), and they either live in little colonies and settlements on the frontier, or in big urban cities. There, we meet Grace Delarua, a bubbly civil servant / scientist / researcher, who liaises with the newly arrived aliens. After a while, they decide to form an expedition to sample and meet many of the colonies on the frontier, to check for genetic and societal compatibility, in order to start a breeding programme to revive the near extinct race.

All of which sounds bewildering and high-concept and somewhere outside my usual reading zone. But, truth to be told, this is not really a novel about plot. Or rather: I ended up finding the plot incredibly incidental. The start is slow and confusing. Most of the middle is taken up with an episodic "meet culture, experience reaction, move on" or "have travelling adventure, experience reaction, move on" type chapters. It's a bit like watching a slide show or a nature documentary. Curious, but not perhaps hugely memorable. Some people seem to be very taken with the fact that the Fair Folk make an appearance of sorts, but I had no reaction to that chapter whatsoever. I think part of the reason is that our main characters are scientists, and therefore a little detached, even when in the middle of a grand adventure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but fragmentary 11 Aug. 2013
The concept of this book is very interesting, as are the characters. It is also quite well-written. The main problem I had with it was that it had a strangely episodic pacing, that gave it the feel of a collection of one-shots rather than a complete novel in its own right. There are some serious gaps in the storyline: a chapter will end on a cliffhanger and the next chapter begins days or weeks later, when the situation has been resolved, and we never get the full story about how the crisis was resolved. At some point I started to wonder if my file (I read it as an e-book) was damaged somehow and I was missing one third of the content.

It actually reminded me of some excellent fan-fiction I have read: sometimes a fan-fiction author will write a series of one-shots that are AU from the canon storyline. This book reads as if the writer took their one-shots, arranged them in chronological order, did some slight rewrites to fill in the biggest holes and called it a novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A genuinely delightful surprise 9 Dec. 2014
By Amy
A genuinely delightful surprise, Karen Lord's The Best Of All Possible Worlds is, well, the best of all possible worlds. A science fiction book that neither bores it's reader with intricacies of real-world science, nor goes too far beyond the world of plausible imagination. It remains grounded, largely due to the expertly crafted and incredibly human relationships between characters. Having read other reviews that described the plot as broadly meandering, I have to agree, but it was not unpleasantly so. In fact it was the meandering that made this otherwise fantastical story of aliens and psychics and space travel so accessible. It all felt so normal. A particular delight is the slowly and more importantly realistically developing relationship between the main characters - not just the him'n'her romantic pairing, but the subtle dynamics that build up between the entire group of characters.

If I had once criticism (that robbed the book of it's fifth star) it's that Lord at times breezes over her world too quickly. Whilst repeated, extensive info-dumps tend to put off a reader, I found myself wishing she would explain a little more; not because I couldn't understand the world, but because I was genuinely interested enough to want to know more about it.

For those who prefer long exposition to illustrate an unfamiliar world to them, I cannot recommend this book. Lord very much adopts a 'pick up and run with it' approach to the story, with characters bandying about phrases and racial preconceptions as though the reader is one of their own. However, it was this that I found so engaging as it allowed the reader just enough to get by, and letting them fill in the details of the wider universe on their own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Have you ever had such glowing things to say about a book that you struggled to find the right words? Yeah. That. That's where I am with Karen Lord's [insert word of glowing praise here] novel. So, rather than try to find the right adjectives, let me note what I most loved about this novel. There may be some spoilers in what follows, so proceed with caution.

* Lord obviously respects her readers' intelligence. She doesn't take the time to infodump or explain everything. This is a true first-person narrative in the sense that the narrator knows things and her imagined audience knows those things too, so why would she explain them? Lord expects her readers to put the pieces together into a coherent whole and I love that.

* I love that this is a very human story set against a remarkable backdrop. The focus is on two people and the story of how they slowly fall in love. Lord explores a unique universe full of sci-fi awesomeness, but that is all just background for the relationship forming between these two characters we come to love, admire, and root for. Brilliantly done.

* The Best of All Possible Worlds. Wow. When the mindships' capabilities are explored for the first time, the title takes on a whole new significance. I don't know if Lord was exploring in story the philosophy and theology behind Luis de Molina's attempts to reconcile God's sovereignty with human free will, but that is where my mind went. The title and the tragedy makes me suspect this was Lord's intention and when I made the connection, I had to set the book down and think.

* And yet, the novel was so very readable! We're introduced to lots of new terminology and yet Lord helps us to understand as she invites us to inhabit this imagined world.

* It was funny, fascinating, fun, and so very enjoyable.

When award season rolled around, I would have handed over all of the 2013 awards to Lord. This novel deserves them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars This book takes a while to get going. A ...
This book takes a while to get going. A friend told me it was a "Sci Fi Romance novel" and I agree. You should go into it looking at the hearts of the characters.
Published 7 months ago by William Donelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 9 months ago by Mr. Kenneth Otoole
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing for Redemption in Indigo fans
Poor story, poorly told. Such a shame that the writer chose to publish something that may have been written simply as an exercise in churning out x number of words per day. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Reviewer00001
4.0 out of 5 stars Well this was a nice surprise
There were certain familiar trends in this book which were done very nicely. The Sardiri are a human(oid) race whose mental discipline and rigourous emotional control have led them... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic high-concept sci-fi
Reminiscent of Zelazny/Le Guin. Great world building, novel ideas, interesting story and well written relationships. Read more
Published 17 months ago by S. Peake
5.0 out of 5 stars New author for me and I loved it
I found out about this author from SFX magazine, I have picked up books from there and enjoyed so I thought I woul: give this author a try. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Mrs Andrea Coates
4.0 out of 5 stars an engaging read
Well written and in depth look at the strutures of society and the way we interact, wrapped in a sci-fi / fantasy tale that makes compelling reading
Published 23 months ago by Sarah Webster
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle study of differences and tolerance
Good to see the tradition of using sci-fi and fantasy to look at how societies and peoples interact is being continued. Read more
Published on 21 Mar. 2013 by Victoria F
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart and Fun
Absolutely wonderful - the first adult science fiction novel in years that I've really, truly loved. Read more
Published on 7 Feb. 2013 by Stephanie Samphire
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