the 2nd of the 'foreigner' series certainly steps up the action from the 1st installment, but we're still wading through an awful lot of Bren3.5 stars
the 2nd of the 'foreigner' series certainly steps up the action from the 1st installment, but we're still wading through an awful lot of Bren's musings and insecurities. kinda hard to sort all that out when working within a society that often considers blunt questions about one's motivations and loyalties to be thoroughly, inappropriately rude, though, so Bren muddles through the best he can. since the series is described as made up of sub-trilogies, and this one ends as unresolved/abruptly as the first, i've gotten the idea now that these 3 books are really more one story split into 3 volumes. and thank goodness i also have the 3rd here....more
the anniversary edition calls the foreigner series Cherryh's masterwork, and in rereading this first book, i can see the glimmers of what has the potethe anniversary edition calls the foreigner series Cherryh's masterwork, and in rereading this first book, i can see the glimmers of what has the potential to be pretty amazing... and yet also remember why i stopped there rather than going on to the rest after the first time i read it over a decade ago.
foreigner is a slice out of the life of Bren Cameron, translator to the government of this end of the alien world that a spaceshipful of humans are marooned on. people have been stuck on this planet for a couple of hundred years, and there was already a well developed society there first. these people don't think like humans, don't act like humans, and don't understand plenty of fundamental human concepts...but they look human enough to confuse the attempts to bridge these gaps.
Bren spends a good portion of this story being drug around like a piece of luggage, lamenting his failure of total understanding of what's going on. my younger self was bored in places with Bren's lack of action and the time he spends contemplating the situation he's in rather than doing something about it. my older self is intrigued by the glimpses of a truly alien society, one that others misguidedly think humans can understand if only we have the right words, while failing to note the basic biological differences in hardwiring and response. it's a very neat idea to contemplate the wrongheadedness that this other being, that's just a bit taller and a bit darker, walks likes us and talks like us, so must have the same desires and drives if only you can find the right word to explain it.
the pacing is still a little slow, and Bren is an object as much as a character here, but the abrupt, unresolved ending has me jumping straight to that long-neglected 2nd story....more
a wonderfully ideal palate cleanser for those of us that like lightly trashy fantasy in-between our srs bzns fantasy, this series opener hits pretty ma wonderfully ideal palate cleanser for those of us that like lightly trashy fantasy in-between our srs bzns fantasy, this series opener hits pretty much every note just right. there's a nicely imagined world of magical and mugglemundane people, an engaging plot, leads with solid chemistry, and villains that are deeply dastardly (indeed, if there's anything really wrong with this book, it's that everyone is pretty one-note). oh, and, hey, pretty hawt to boot. special bonus points: you know that obnoxious crap where the plot of a standard romance novel is fueled mainly by miscommunication? well, in this book right here, the heroine gets all worried over something imminently practical she's done, starts to get nervous about overstepping her bounds, and the hero says, "wow, i was such a bonehead to have not done that earlier. thanks for being awesome," and then the plot continues on just fine without the unnecessary silliness. i'll definitely be picking up more of Beardsley's stuff....more