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Customer reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars

on 14 October 2008
After reading this book, the first thing I did was to go and look up the author to see if she knew what she was talking about.

She does.

She has an MA in physics from Harvard and her publications include - "Complex speeds and special relativity," Catherine Asaro, Am. Jour. Phys. April 1996

So, I think I'll read the space propulsion section of the book more carefully next time around - because this is a book that would repay a second reading even without the physics.

The novel has a few minor glitches in the writing style, especially early on when there's rather more 'telling' than 'showing'. This soon smooths out a lot, and besides, it was her first novel.

This novel shows us a complex future in which empathic abilities are closely tied into the military us of faster than light craft. This creates a cruelly ironic world where the people necessary to be the really high-tech military are also those who most feel the pain of another person's death.

Asaro works this neatly into her work and this alone would make a good novel. However, what I really enjoyed was that she wrote a romance that avoids the clichés. There was a point early on where I groaned and thought: "Oh Lord, standard romance cliche number four coming up - and it didn't happen!" I found the avoidance of the clichés greatly increased my enjoyment of the book as I was unable to predict what would happen next.

This is a book that I'll happily recommend to anyone who wants hard SF with a dash of romance.
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on 4 March 2003
Asaro has begun her Skolian Empire saga with a strong first novel. Sauscony Valdoria is one of the few true Rhon left in the Allied worlds. Only Rhon can rule ‘psiberspace’ and manipulate the invasive, essential Skolian Web (similar but on a totally different scale to the Internet), and for that there needs to be a Triad. Soz is one of 2 possible heirs to the military arm of the Triad, the other being her own brother (while another brother, Kurj, currently holds the position). Ambition, missions, secrets and manipulations have made Soz and her family distrustful of each other, while with their telepathic gifts they have an undeniable need for closeness – a need Kurj sees as a weakness.
Soz is not only telepathic, but also a bioengineered psi warrior pilot – thus on all fronts she seems to inspire fear rather than love. She’s long lived, and has a history behind her that brings much depth to the character, and the reader is able to read much into her actions as a result.
Jaibroil Highton is the Highton heir to the Traders – enemies of the Skolian empire. When Soz and Jaiobriol first meet, they find they are able to make the rare psi bond of true Rhon – essentially they are enemies, but the only true match for each other.
Asaro doesn’t make it easy for Soz, who is conflicted by many loyalties and also by her own drives, desires and ambitions. Ultimately events work around her until she feels she has no choice but to act, although the cost is high. By the end of the book, she has lost as much as she has gained.
A strong, complex, character driven novel with much in it as a vision of the future. The scientific elements are well thought out and well drawn, although I did get a little lost in the science of it from time to time. Nevertheless, a must for any Psi-Fi (ha!) reader
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on 9 March 2012
I just couldn't get into this novel and put it down after the first 40 pages. The dialogue is clumsy and the description shallow, failing to create the unique world that is so important to science fiction novels. There might be some good ideas in this but the journey to find them was just too tough for this reader.
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on 6 October 2001
An unusual tale of a futuristic "bionic man" crash landing & meeting a poor US streetwise girl who turns out to have desirable genes! This is the first Catherine Asaro book that I have read and may be slightly "romantic" for the male enthusiasts but still a very enjoyable read. Slightly too much technical data for me but the main characters and storyline are well filled out and the action is good with the romantic line fairly brief & not taking over for pages on end. Flows along & definitely worth a read.
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