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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pearl of a Novel
From the moment I started reading I couldn't put this book down. I know that's a cliche but with this book it was true. The characters really leap out of the pages as 'real' people.
The main character, Shan Frankland, is one of those rare human beings, someone with integrity. Throughout the book she is struggling to keep her charges alive despite their best efforts...
Published on 21 Nov 2004 by M. Welsford

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Vegan heteronormative pseudo-environmentalist propaganda
First of all, let me start this sadly negative review with saying that I wanted to like this book. I really did. It had all the right elements for a good scifi contact novel - space travel, aliens, social and sociological commentary, and environmental impact. Unfortunately, this book, along with the remainder of the series, suffers from the author's lack of...
Published 19 months ago by Lilith


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pearl of a Novel, 21 Nov 2004
By 
M. Welsford (Isle of Wight, England) - See all my reviews
From the moment I started reading I couldn't put this book down. I know that's a cliche but with this book it was true. The characters really leap out of the pages as 'real' people.
The main character, Shan Frankland, is one of those rare human beings, someone with integrity. Throughout the book she is struggling to keep her charges alive despite their best efforts. The whole environmentalist theme of the book really appealed to me. And Karen's view of the future, one of human society being run by large corporations, while at once sinister is also very believable. And the vision of humans rapaciously spreading to other worlds is all too familiar to human history so far.
If you like your science fiction with a lot of realism, with a hard edge and without too much techno-babble getting in the way of a strong story, then this book is for you. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story.
Ripping yarn!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finest Science Fiction, 6 April 2007
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Ventura Angelo (Brescia, Lombardia Italy) - See all my reviews
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I think this novel is a rare treat for the most demanding readers of Science Fiction: clear and profound narrative, intriguing, original story, marvelously described aliens (Weinbaum and Vance come to mind) , interesting characters, plausible and competent in scientific speculation. The commander of an expedition to a forgotten Earth Colony on planet Cavanagh II believed extinct finds the colony alive, but also finds the expedition is less than welcome, as the humans on the planet have managed to adapt to the alien and complex eco-political balance under the surveillance of the planet appointed aklien Guardian, Aras. From this, the tale which unfolds largely from the POV of alien species, which the Author depicts with unusual skill and originality. No little green men with silly antennas, here, but truly alien beings here, thinking in alien ways. Isaac Asimov would have been delighted as I've been by Karen Traviss narrative art.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First in an excellent series, 21 Feb 2006
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First book in a very imaginative and fascinating series. One of very few science fiction books which has aliens who are both plausible and genuinely different from humans and other terrestial creatures.

The sequence is: Book One, City of Pearl
Book Two, Crossing the Line
Book Three, The World Before
Book Four, Matriarch
Book Five, Ally

Due in April 2008: book 6, Judge.

The series works best when read in this sequence.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more, more, more, 20 Oct 2005
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I began reading this series with book no. 2 for some reason and thorougly enjoyed that. I wondered how Shan got infected and decided to buy no. 1 - no regrets. This is an excellent beginning to a new series. The characters are neither one nor two dimensional but seem like real people. The definition of people is challenged in this book - even with regards to the creatures on this earth. Humans are seen for what they are - monkeys with power.
Environmental Hazard Enforcement officer Shan Frankland agreed to lead a mission to Cavanagh's Star, knowing that 150 years would elapse before she could finally return home. They all thought they would go to an unchartered planet - one that humans possibly could take over and make into their own. But alas, three separate alien societies have claims on Cavanagh's Star already.
With her on her mission, Shan has Marines and scientists. They meet up with the human colony, and are told by Aras - the Wess'har protector of Besenjey (the planet) - that they may not collect any samples of anything. Information will be provided. Being human ensures that this order will not be followed by all. From there on one catastrophe after another comes about for the humans away from home.
Shan discovers that Aras is something more than Wess'har. It turns out he has been infected by something called c'naatat - an entity (bacteria/parasite/whatever) that infects a body and adapts it so that it will survive anything but an explosion. She understands the implications of this. If humans get their hands on something like c'naatat they will go crazy.
There is a lot happening all the time in the book. Traviss has done an excellent job and I would recommend it to anyone wholeheartedly.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine new sf writer., 3 Mar 2004
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Good political sf: an interplanetary first contact novel which ruthlessly examines human ethics. No knee jerk reactions, no sloppy thinking. Fans of Ken MacLeod, C J Cherryh and Brian Stableford will like this.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for book 2 - Crossing the line!, 29 Feb 2004
By 
D Button (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Well done Karen Traviss! This is a very convincing book with all kinds of plots and sub plots taking place in a world far from home. Shan Frankland, an Environmental Hazard Enforcement Superintendent was five days from retirement. Now she's on Cavanaugh's Star which is 150 years from Earth with a supressed briefing and no idea what will happen next.
As the plot unfolds Shan finds herself infected with a biological parasite which means she can never go home......
From the very beginning the plot draws you in until you can't put the book down. This book has been called a stellar debut; well I agree, and I can't wait for the sequel in November 2004.
Look out for Karen Traviss, she's taking us places!
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4.0 out of 5 stars spare a copper, 13 Sep 2007
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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The start of a series of science fiction novels that introduces us to shan frankland, veteran policewoman working in environmental protection somewhen in the future. About to retire from her job, she is asked to go on a mission to a faraway world where contact has just been re-established with a long lost colony. The full details of the mission are buried in her mind and will only come out in due course. And the humans on this world are protected by aras, an alien with a dark past.

Against all the odds, an unlikely friendship begins to develop...

An excellent read and the kind of book that makes you want to rush out and buy everything else by the same writer. Shan is a believable character whom you can relate to. and the writer and the character being british means the slang she uses is totally believable. Aras also is a very interesting creation. Whilst not a lot happens at points in the book, it's still good enough and well written enough to keep you turning the pages. and this is well rewarded with some interesting developments in the last third. the fate of one character sparked a bit of an emotional reaction in me. and that is a sign of good writing.

Now then, let's go and order her next book. I can't wait to find what happens next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 24 Oct 2007
By 
Roger Cawkwell (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I don't need to give plot details as other reviewers have done enough of this but I've just finished this book & found it engrossing & would recommend it as containing a balanced mixture of action, convincing intelligent alien life & relevant issues (ecology, sanctity of life, damage done to individuals, cultures & environment both intentionally and by accident). The plot moves ahead at an appropriate pace (for me at least) although in retrospect I thought I noticed one glitch in continuity (will have to read it again to be sure).

I note that reviewers of some of the later books in the series say it tails off but I will definitely be reading the next one & then we'll see.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Vegan heteronormative pseudo-environmentalist propaganda, 3 Jun 2013
First of all, let me start this sadly negative review with saying that I wanted to like this book. I really did. It had all the right elements for a good scifi contact novel - space travel, aliens, social and sociological commentary, and environmental impact. Unfortunately, this book, along with the remainder of the series, suffers from the author's lack of understanding of biology, environmental and otherwise, and strong desire to glorify veganism and soy crop production as well as heteronormative relationships. I don't mind heteronormative relationships myself, however, I find morale-preaching on the subject in a scifi novel misplaced and not a little bit annoying.

The book attempts to examine life and (co)-existence of sentient species and the environment, but fails miserably because the author does not appear to remember that not just animals with cute eyes are 'alive', and that one cannot live without eating anything that is alive (plants, mushrooms, etc.). As a result, the book shoots at an interesting target but misses it too widely to be good reading.

What could have been an interesting and entertaining read with some philosophical depth, ends up instead as author moralizing on a subject she knows little or nothing about beyond the "it's good if we were all vegans and didn't eat cute animals". Which is sad.

If you like your scifi books with cultures/ideas/science that make any sort of sense, don't bother with this book. Buy Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh instead. If you can ignore glaring inconsistencies and non-stop environmental and relationship moralizing for the sake of decently written pew pew action (which isn't my thing, but to each their own), then I guess this book is ok.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and had been downloading book 2 as soon as I had finished, 28 Feb 2013
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This review is from: City of Pearl (Kindle Edition)
Karen Traviss is one if my favourite authors now. Her story telling takes your imagination to other worlds and tells of a story that may one day happen in the not too distant future.
It will have you spell bound with her story line and descriptive writing
A beautiful book that will leave you salivating for more
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City of Pearl
City of Pearl by Karen Traviss
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