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

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  683 Ratings  ·  32 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
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published October 25th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 20, 2016 Joseph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't wrap my head around the hypocrisy of the Wess'. It's wrong to interfere with other species. If you eat animals, you're a monster. If they are dead first, it's even worse. (If you eat them LIVE, it's ok? I guess? For some species, as long as they're besties?)

But genocide is totally A-OK, as long as THEY are the ones who do it.

There is no greater evil in this universe than the species the author is painting as the most noble of races.
Aug 09, 2013 Ghoule rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David King
Feb 06, 2012 David King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Dec 26, 2008 Damian rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
May 01, 2009 April rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
"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
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 every chapter
Kathleen Molyneaux

I love Traviss' world building and this book continues to deliver in that respect. It deepens our understanding of the Wess'har by showing us a glimpse of their sister culture (the Eqbas) and gives us an interesting view of Isenj politics. The Isenj character Ual really came into his own in this book and I was very upset when he was killed by his own people. I was less enthralled by Shan's "resurrection" and the subsequent love triangle between Shan, Aras and Ade. Two manly yet sensiti
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
Nov 15, 2011 Banner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, alien
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
Mar 12, 2015 Naïma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
La suite de la série n'a pas été traduite, et ce tome un peu décevant par rapport aux autres me dissuade de chercher à la lire en VO. L'univers, l'intrigue politique, les différentes races d'extraterrestres, les questionnements moraux, la technologie sont toujours aussi originaux, magnifiques et passionnants mais les héros sont ENERVANTS : Aras se comporte comme un toutou, Shan est trop sûre d'elle et trop interventionniste (j'ai eu du mal à la comprendre au tome 2 mais là c'est trop!), bref j'a ...more
Art Lyon
Nov 27, 2012 Art Lyon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 19, 2007 Lawrence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
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
Jun 21, 2009 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  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
May 02, 2009 Elisa Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 12, 2007 Celia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Jul 15, 2013 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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.
Nov 23, 2015 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoying this series. Traviss does a great job of bringing 4 very different alien species to life. Her human characters are also complex and well developed and she's not afraid to rain death and destruction down on humanity or to criticize us. I am thrilled that I found this series and am looking forward to the remaining three books.
Booknerd Fraser
Mar 05, 2014 Booknerd Fraser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Ryan Beck
Jun 15, 2009 Ryan Beck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 02, 2016 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
In this book we get to know more about the other characters like Ade, Lindsey, and Eddie. I enjoyed also learning more about the alien cultures and seeing their conflicts and interactions. This was an enjoyable book. It made me want to read the next one.
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.
Dec 17, 2008 Joshua rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 13, 2007 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Third in the Wess'har Wars series. Barely rates three stars - this series is starting to get a bit boring.
Jul 18, 2013 Chad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 17, 2010 Brownbetty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TBH, I'm not sure if this book is that good, or if I just enjoy the hell out of it.
Rift Vegan
Mar 26, 2008 Rift Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Wess'har War #3.
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.
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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 and BLACK RUN, the first books in her new techno-thriller seri ...more
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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)
  • Matriarch (Wess'Har Wars, #4)
  • Ally (Wess'Har Wars, #5)
  • Judge (Wess'Har Wars, #6)

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