on 2 August 2000
'Invader' is the second of the 'foreigner' trilogy (the titles are, 'Foreigner', 'Invader', 'Inheritor'). The foreigner of the first book is Bren Cameron, linguist and ambassador, and the only human in the complex, dangerous world of the Atevi. Much of the trilogy is concerned with Bren's attempts to make sense of the Atevi world before political demands from his masters - and his Atevi protectors - kill him or harm his family. The trilogy is a good read, provided you can accept the 'internal monologue' style (well, who else can you talk to if you are the only human, and talking to an Atevi might cause a major problem?). One major criticism is that just as the political situation reaches a major crisis - one anticipated throughout the trilogy - and things start to get very interesting - the story stops. A pity, since like all good books the reader is left wondering what happens next. Still, the trilogy is worth reading. Almost as good as Cherryh's 'Downbelow Station'.
on 28 January 1997
Upon finishing the first book of this series, I immediately went out and bought this sequel. Cherryh's vision of alien culture is immensely complicated, and I was utterly fascinated. Cherryh expands wonderfully upon the linguistic complexities and tangled atevi cultural mores she outlined in Foreigner. Cherryh's aliens ARE alien: every time the protagonist Cameron becomes complacent about his understanding of atevi thinking, he gets a jolt. Although I feel that sequels often lack something, Invader is even better than Foreigner. Cherryh fills out her development of Cameron as an intensely driven yet lonely ambassador for humankind.
on 29 June 1999
Invader is an excellent tale of alien relations and the problems which arise from their interactions. On one side are the unpredictable, sometimes underhanded humans, and on the other are the native atevi, steeped high in traditional, loyalities, and logic. The two groups could not be more different. And in the middle, Bren Cameron, the only sanctioned translator between the two.
The storyline has more to do with Bren's viewpoint than the return of the human's spaceship after a 176 year absence. The ship simply provides the conflicts for Bren to deal with. Bren spends a majority of story being highly introspective, literally questioning his every thought and word. He spends the almost the entire time dodging bullets, both literal and linguistic, while trying to maintain the balance of power between humans and atevi, without getting himself arrested or killed. Add a back-stabbing college brought in during his medical leave, and a couple of radical atevi groups, and you've got yourself more than enough to keep the story alive and the plot moving.
The characters are well developed, and their interactions were well done and thought provoking. The author brings in some very human situations, and sews them cleanly into the atevi mindset.
My only criticism is the occassional over-embellishment of the story. There were several points in the book were brevity would have been better suited. However, it is not so much so as to really detract from the book.
Overall, an excellent book. I would recommend it anyone who enjoys this sort of storyline.