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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pretender by CJ Cherry (Foreigner #8)

Pretender (Foreigner, #8)Pretender by C.J. Cherryh

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb - Exhausted from a two-year rescue mission in space, the crew of the starship Phoenix return home to find disaster: civil war has broken out, the powerful Western Association has been overthrown, and Tabini-aiji, its forceful leader, is missing. In a desperate move, paidhi Bren Cameron and Tabini's grandmother Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, along with with Cajeiri, Tabini's eight-year-old heir, make planetfall and succeed in reaching the mainland. The brilliant and forceful Ilisidi seeks refuge at the estate of an old ally, and Tabini-aiji arrives at the door.

As word of Tabini's whereabouts circulates, clans allied with Tabini descend upon the estate, providing a huge civilian presence that everyone involved hopes will deter impending attacks by the usurpers. But as more and more supporting clans arrive, Bren finds himself increasingly isolated, and it becomes clear that both his extremely important report of alien contact in space, and even his life, rest on the shoulders of only two allies: Ilisidi and Cajeiri.

Can one elderly ateva and and eight-year-old boy—himself a prime target for assassination—protect Bren, a lone human involved in a civil war that most atevi believe he caused?

I found this book a struggle.  Purely a transition book, intended to get the characters from point A, through point B, to final destination of Point C.  There is a fair amount of travel involved, lots of personal angst from Bren as he decides the whole Atevi muck-up is his fault, and concerns well out of Bren's control or realm of human comprehension.

It is well understood there was a political upheaval that ousted the current regime and forced them into hiding.  No, not everything was the paidhi's fault.  Other people made decisions as well.  Bren, get over yourself.  The young heir was perhaps the most interesting aspect of this as it was a look at a young atevi, how they are raised, and how the "next generation" will be interacting more with humans.

So ultimately, I became bored.  I don't care for books where the sole purpose is to move characters around to prepare for the next book.  Yes, I count the Two Towers by Tolkien in with this, and pretty much the entire Wheel of Time series.

I'm not implying that Cherryh's writing is in anyway lacking, the world building, the look at an Atevi Civil war, and - as I noted above - the young gentleman himself, is fascinating.  The plot...not so much.  However, this won't stop me from reading the next one.

Recommended with slight reservations if you've been reading the the Foreigner series.  Not a stand alone book.

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