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Matriarch (The Wess'har Wars #4)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  553 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
In thirty years, the invincible Eqbas will arrive at Earth to forcibly return the planet to what it once was—as retribution, in part, for the gethes' thoughtless near-extermination of an alien ocean-dwelling species. First, however, another world requires their attention: the crowded, ecologically ravaged planet of the swarming, insect-like isenj. Efforts to drastically re ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published September 26th 2006)
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Sep 20, 2008 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
This series continues to dissapoint. There are two more books in this series and now that I am four books into the series I will probably finish it (being that I bought all the books before I got to this point in the series). I am tired of the false moral dilemas that the characters are forced into. The problem is that the characters do not have a moral compass. They do not believe in an objective reality. They do not acknowledge a natrual or moral law. They do not acknowledge the difference bet ...more
David King
Oct 07, 2012 David King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Matriarch" is the 4th book in Traviss' Science Fiction epic, The Wess'har War Series. As it is the 4th book I would advise people to stay away from this review unless you have already read the previous books. For anyone interested in the series then you can find my review of the first book in the series here on Goodreads.

The story picks up right where the previous novel, "The World Before" left off, with the the Eqbas preparing to take a break from their planned journey to Earth so that they ca
There are few books that genuinely make me go ‘what the fuck’ while reading them, but this was one.

I have to say, it was a slow read at times, slower than most of the series, mostly because I couldn’t clearly see where it was headed, but that’s just nit-picking. The series is still one of the most enjoyable things I’ve read in a while.

Most of what I want to say here would be spoilers, so I’m not gonna do it. I will make vague allusions to some of the plot details though. The book continues in th
Matriarch, I suspect, marks the beginning of my dislike of the Wess'har Wars series. I was mostly ambivalent about it before, somewhat leaning towards "Eh, not all that bad", but this book is large, top heavy, and is really beginning to bog itself down in little things that I just don't care about anymore.

I liked the progression of the first three books in that you slowly go from so-and-so species are good/bad to something a lot more complex with a lot of different moralities being flung around,
It's not a bad book, just a very slow one - with so much action packed into the previous installment of the series, this one bogs down immediately in an endless daisy-chain of discussions about the morals of characters and ethics of their actions. A few tiny (though important) revelations are made, but on the whole the action pretty much crawls to a halt in this book, and it definitely suffers for it. There's a lot to think about, and some of the points are in fact quite interesting and sobering ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
The story and world of this book was phenomenal! I would have overlooked the many errors just for that alone, if there weren't so many. I'm shocked that a subsidiary of a major publishing company would put this book out in this condition. I read only about 30 pages and can't even begin to count the number of grammatical errors and duplicate words I encountered. Did no one edit this book before publishing? I expect this kind of thing from self-published ebooks (although I don't finish them either ...more
Apr 14, 2012 Banner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alien
My interest in the characters is the reason I believe I continue with this series. The first book is one of my favorite all time reads. This story is just dragging a bit but I still give it a three star and almost a four. Each book seems to pick up where the last left off with almost no time lag. I kind of think I know where this story is going not much surprising happens in this one.

The book deals a lot with the moral dilemmas of the various alien cultures. The author displays some bias toward
It continues to amaze me that this very English writer does not have a British publisher.[return]Matriarch is very much a mid-series book. So do not read this this unless you have read the first, City of Pearl, and the other works that proceed this. I was aware of some copy editing errors this time out which always annoys me. The issues this series deals with all seem to have been pretty much defined now. Althought the cast do have their individual character and moral values tested as much as ev ...more
Nov 06, 2009 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I've read the other books in this series, so it's nice to rejoin these characters. One of the things I like so much is the way the author handles all the different storylines. Some writers think it's clever to end each section with each different group of characters with a cliff-hanger and then jump to a different set of characters in the next chapter.

Traviss completes each scene before moving on to the next set of characters, and since they are all equally as interesting
Nov 27, 2012 Chani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still enjoying the series but it's getting a bit... war-ie. That's the thing that always seems to happen with long series books. They start out awesome with all the good bits taking up much more space than the boring politics and war. But as you get further into the series, and the awesome stuff gets used up and fades, all you're left with is the politics and fighting. But, still good none the less. Though I will add that if this book goes where I think it will go (Lindsay infecting the jell ...more
Sep 30, 2009 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Sheila by: Sharon
Shelves: sci-fi
Traviss isn't a very good writer. But I like the complexity of the story. I don't have a good grasp of the human characters and find the relationship distant and boring. The alien characters are easier to understand. Many people show great admiration for the protagonist, while I find her very inconsistent. There was an issue near the end of the book that could have been left completely out of the story and no one would have been the wiser. But she left a great cliff hanger and I will probably ke ...more
Pete Aldin
I'm not a big fan of series fiction. The only real series that have kept me interested are the Arkady Renko novels by Cruz Smith, the Stainless Steel Rat and the Star Wars novels.

It's probabaly no surprise (to myself) that I can't sustain interest in the Wess'Har novels. By this fourth installment, my attention is wandering. I've picked it up three times to read and put it down again after a few chapters.

Now I've finally finished it, (and the familiar characters, plot and context made for reaso
Celia Powell
Nov 20, 2010 Celia Powell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I sometimes got a little lost on the Isenj politics and their civil war which results from the intervention of the Eqbas, but otherwise this fourth book in the Wess'har Series was very enjoyable. I loved Shan's developing role as matriarch in her household of two males (Aras and Ade, and their corresponding close relationship as housebrothers). And the Lindsay and Rayat strand of the story is fascinating. It is, however, so complex as to only appeal to those who have read and loved the earlier p ...more
Apr 19, 2009 Joshua rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yawn. Another pro-woman pro-abortion pro-Europe yawn-fest. Guys are bad, except those subservient to women. All humans are evil except vegans and Earth First nutters. The moral superiority coming from the author makes me want to gag. And now she wants us to believe the main woman character is in a romantic relationship with two "men"? Give me a break - nothing could be further from believable except a world-dominating federal Europe (400+ years hence? really?).
However, I am just as stupid as her
Elisa Wilson
Jun 05, 2009 Elisa Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really great series. In this book we see the result of Aras and Ade's bad decision in "The World Before", and Shan's reaction to it. The fate of the nearly destroyed Bezeri still hangs in the balance, but it's not looking good. More is revealed regarding this mysterious sea dwelling civilization and it's history.
Jun 14, 2011 Gentlemanvillain rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book violates the 'show don't tell' rule too often, has a very, VERY awkward method of excavating internal monologue, evokes strange cliches where the aliens all understand humans but the humans don't get aliens very well (except in the book's scenario, everyone is an alien so it doesn't make sense) and has no real climax, resolution or characters worth following.
Jul 01, 2010 Jhutson456 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Overall a good book, but so far my least favorite of the series. I can't quite pin down why, but it is. I still give it a 5 star rating because the series is awesome, and this book is not wasted. As with any series, there has to be a best and there has to be a worst. This one, thus far, scores in the shallow end of the pool. Still worth the read though.
Picked this up at a library sale for 50 cents. Glad I didn't pay more. I was turned off by the foul language in the first two pages. Why is it so hard to write adult fiction without swearing? I hear too much of it in the "real" world, I don't need to read it, too.
Guess I'll go back to young adult books. There's less chance of finding that there.
Karen Eckberg
I'm simply engrossed in this Wees'Har series. The characters continue to evolve. I read "World Before" in 3 days. The themes of family, ecology, and responsibility continue to swirl about in this 4th book.
Feb 02, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another enjoyable book. In this one we learn more about the Berezi. We also see more of the complications in Shan's personal life, and in the wars and relations with all the aliens. I finished this one quickly and then went on to the next one.
Jan 09, 2015 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
sci fi for the future

Real thought provoking sci fi. Characters with bottom and a great story to tell. Think about a universe where all species were of equal value and apply that formula forcefully.
Mar 02, 2014 Adr_enne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am really, really enjoying this series. Every book moves forward with more information, more detail and more complexity to the story lines. This is book four and I'm still rushing to buy the next one right away!
Booknerd Fraser
Mar 08, 2015 Booknerd Fraser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This series keeps getting better; there's a long more going on in this than the previous one; there's also a lot of emotional depth. The title is intriguing as there are three women who it could refer to.
Dec 30, 2007 Lawrence rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Umm. Boring? Continued exploration of the clash of cultures between humans and an advanced pro-environmental race of aliens, now with two other races that are "humans-could-turn-out-this-way" examples. And one side plot involves two characters living underwater. Dumb.
Mar 25, 2015 Chad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series is still interesting, but it's book 4 and still rehashing the same ethical debates over and over again while the main plot moves at a snail's pace. And whenever a character decides they dislike someone, they go WAY over the top in their hatred. It's almost cartoonish.
Apr 02, 2009 Arlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting viewpoint of aliens toward humans and how mankind feels he is special, the beloved of the gods. Interesting how dominance is established in the aliens' matriarchal society. Good read.
Ryan Beck
Sep 20, 2009 Ryan Beck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still reading this one, but it's been a big upgrade (for me) over The World Before. It continues a great series...
May 01, 2011 Vivian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I liked the first two books in this series. I didn't like books 3-5. And I'm definitely not reading book 6.
Surprised at the number of slang and curses a page.
Too many boring repetitions and explanations.
Too slow!
And sex scenes are ugly and out of place.
Apr 28, 2016 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still really enjoying this series. but don't have much new to add. Will sum up when I read book #6.
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#1 New York Times best-selling novelist, scriptwriter and comics author Karen Traviss has received critical acclaim for her award-nominated Wess'har series, and her work on Halo, Gears of War, Batman, G.I. Joe, and other major franchises has earned her a broad range of fans. She's best known for military science fiction, but GOING GREY, the first of her new techno-thriller series, is set in the re ...more
More about Karen Traviss...

Other Books in the Series

The Wess'har Wars (6 books)
  • City of Pearl (Wess'har Wars, #1)
  • Crossing the Line (Wess'har Wars, #2)
  • The World Before (Wess'Har Wars, #3)
  • Ally (Wess'Har Wars, #5)
  • Judge (Wess'Har Wars, #6)

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“People who wouldn't dream of drowning a puppy in a barrel full of water think nothing of killing a fish the same slow way.” 4 likes
“Humans don’t connect their actions with what befalls them. Don’t they perceive time as linear?”
"They do,” said Aitassi. “They just don’t see why they should do anything individually to change their future to the one they want. All eight billion of them.”
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