The World Before
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The World Before (The Wess'har Wars #3)

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  473 ratings  ·  26 reviews

Three strikingly different alien races
greeted the military mission from Earth
when it reached the planet called Bezer'ej.


Now one of the sentient species
has been exterminated—and two others
are poised on the brink of war.


The fragile bezeri are no more, due to the ignorant, desperate actions of human interlopers. The powerful wess'har protectors have failed in their swo...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published October 25th 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 742)
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Paradoxical
What I enjoy about this series is how each species seem to become more and more complex with each passing book. It's slow going, but there's definite progression with both thought and actions--each character is becoming a little bit deeper and it's not out of the blue, just a gradual descent that seems perfectly normal. And I appreciate that in books.

At the same time, it's still wordy. The book is still feeling very long and dense, and not all that much seems to actually happen. You get little j...more
Ghoule
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Damian
Oct 12, 2012 Damian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of modern sci-fi, OSC, Arthur C. Clarke & other pioneers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
erforscherin
(4 of 5 stars)

This should be a textbook example of how to keep a good series moving forward smoothly. The introduction of a new species to the previously-established quartet of aliens quite literally changes everything, shaking up predictable patterns and introducing a host of open-ended moral questions (and, impressively, actually leaving them that way, without spoonfeeding any answers to readers).

The dialogue and descriptions remain as strong as ever - there's something worth quoting in nearly...more
David King
"The World Before" by Karen Traviss is the third book in the thoroughly enjoyable Wess'har series. Due to the highly integrated nature of this series of novels it is very hard to review this book without including some spoilers in relation to previous books so I would advise you to make sure you have read those books prior to reading this review.

The story itself picks up directly from the conclusion of the previous novel, "Crossing The Line". Due to actions of a small human contingent, the peace...more
April
"What am I then, then? asked Sergeant Bennett.[return][return]This sentence has become one of my favorite ""first lines"". It's a knockout, especially when followed by:[return][return]""Am I still human?""[return][return]To reveal more would be to risk telling a plot spoiler. This book begins with a punch, and it is one of the reasons I recommend reading the series from the beginning.[return][return]All six of the wess'har war books in the series can stand alone. Not every series deserves to hav...more
Banner
I'm really getting into this series. This book continues right where the last one left off (you really want to read these in order). The wess'har deal with the humans that have committed crimes against nature. The Wess'Har are truly the biggest kid on the block.

We are getting deeper into the aliens (both wess'har and isenj) moral philosophy. There were times that I actually got quite angry with Traviss at the inconsistency in the wess'har ethics. Then the inconsistency would be acknowledged and...more
Adr_enne
I have to say ... I enjoyed where this one went, but was a bit disappointed that it didn't wrap certain things up more clearly. And the third book in a trilogy, I was hoping for more of the future, so as to find out exactly what happened to the people and places that were set up in the end of book two and the beginning of this book. There's a lot of ground to cover though, so I understand. The worlds and people in these books are interesting and engaging enough that I'm off to see about other bo...more
Booknerd Fraser
This moved along a lot faster than the some of the preceding volumes; there were a lot more characters to keep track of. I thought there was a lot of drama for what was a largely obvious resolution, but that's probably due to my being spoiled by later book covers.

At the half-way point of this series, what impresses me is the depth of the characters and how the aliens can be alien.
Art Lyon
Except for the ending (which strains credulity for me), this was as engaging as the first two books in the series. However, given my experiences with other long series, I'm not sure I'll be reading the remaining 3 novels any time soon. It's hard to explain why, because I love the way Traviss writes and what she focuses on. It's just that I can only take so many iterations of new twists to the same characters' lives. Also, it's my understanding that the character focus of the subsequent novels ch...more
Chani
I'm really enjoying this series and I'm relieved that Traviss doesn't disappoint. Many author's first book of the series is great, but the rest dwindle becoming flat and boring, or they do a poor job on the first and you have to wait until later in the series to get the goods. Traviss writes with a balance and adds just enough new things to keep it interesting but not overwhelming. I was a bit annoyed by the love triangle but only because the solution was right there. It was somewhat disturbing...more
Lawrence
This third book (after City of Pearl, Crossing the Line) adds a new twist to the pro-environment themed novels of Karen Traviss: the Wess'har we've met in the previous novels are just a crazy faction of an even more radical race that believes if you can intervene to save living things, then you must. That is the very central theme of this entire series of novels, and the author uses almost every thread in the plot to illustrate some different approach to cultural intervention.

The story continues...more
Sheila
Jun 21, 2009 Sheila rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: if reading the series, yes.
Shelves: sci-fi
The reason I like Sci Fi is it allows us a chance to look at our own culture/sociology and either laugh or cringe. What's great about this author is, unlike some series, she has some drastically imperfect aliens trying to tell us their better. But other than that, this is a continuation of the love story with more twists. And, again, an interesting ending. Spoiler sort of: Why don't people just tell the truth instead of withholding information? It would make it so much easier. Secret, secrets, l...more
Elisa Wilson
The true horrifying strength of the c'naatat virus is revealed in Shan's survival of in the vacuum of space. Ade and Aras make a decision with far reaching and possibly horrific results on the ocean world of Bezeri. The Eqbas Vorhii, literally the world before of the wesshar are called in to intervene on one world, only to find themselves drawn into the problems of many worlds. Unfortunately for those worlds they are prepared to deal with these problems.
John
As in the previous volume, though the basic story is a good one it's buried beneath shovels full of character-developing angst, fretting, domestic interactions, minor encounters that don't advance the plot and repetitive flashbacks. To judge from the GoodReads reviews it just gets worse in the next three volumes, so I'm done. Too bad that the author took this course, because along with the robust major plotline she also creates some intriguingly alien aliens.
Celia Powell
I was so glad to find this book in a little Melbourne sci-fi bookshop - I loved the first two books in this excellent series. It is unfortunately very hard to talk about without mentioning major plot points, especially as Shan is actually dead after the last book. We meet the wess'har from the World Before & learn about their plans for Earth. I will leave it by saying - really fantastic, some very tense moments, loved it.

Re-read - October 2010
Joshua
And the woman-centric, vegan-promoting, religion-indicting series continues. This is a fun story line but all the background messages are so stupid. Continual condemnation of religion, of politics, of the press, of how humans are liars and cheats. Don't waste your time with this nutcase author.
Ryan Beck
This felt like more of a transitional novel, which makes sense given its placement as third book in the series. Lot's of setup, but less action than the prior two novels (City of Pearl and Crossing the Line). It still maintained my excitement for the rest of the series.
Karen Ireland-Phillips
What happens when a culture fanatically devoted to ecological balance, the Wess'har is asked to remediate a world overrun by the dominant sentient species? Chilling but less engaging than the first two books in the series.
Simeonberesford
And Ms Traviss continues to continues to marry very different themes and pose awkward questions with no easy answers in this series that for all its SF trappings is very much about today.
Chad
Progression continues to be slow but rewarding. My only criticism is that the central dim view of humanity is sometimes a bit overdone. A couple of the big plot twists were also quite predictable.
Jim-mike
I'd give this about a 7 out if 10. It's still interesting reading, but each book reads like a chapter in a larger book.

Craig
Third in the Wess'har Wars series. Barely rates three stars - this series is starting to get a bit boring.
Brownbetty
TBH, I'm not sure if this book is that good, or if I just enjoy the hell out of it.
Rift Vegan
Wess'har War #3.
Susu Carter
Susu Carter marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 2014
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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, as well as regularly hitting the bestseller lists with her Halo, Gears of War, and Star Wars work. A former defence correspondent and TV and newspaper journalist, she lives in Wiltshire, England.
More about Karen Traviss...
Sacrifice (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, #5) Bloodlines (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, #2) Hard Contact (Star Wars: Republic Commando, #1) Revelation (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, #8) Triple Zero  (Star Wars: Republic Commando, #2)

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