Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jaran (Jaran, #1)” as Want to Read:
Jaran (Jaran, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Jaran #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,524 ratings  ·  222 reviews
The first book of Kate Elliott’s epic Novels of the Jaran, set in an alien-controlled galaxy where a young woman seeks to find her own life and love, but is tied to her brother’s revolutionary fate

In the future, Earth is just one of the planets ruled by the vast Chapalii empire. The volatility of these alien overlords is something with which Tess Soerensen is all too
Mass Market Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 3rd 2002 by DAW (first published June 2nd 1992)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Jaran, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jaran

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,524 ratings  ·  222 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Jaran (Jaran, #1)
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An example of what I would label "anthropological science fiction" -- the author creates an imaginary culture and most of the book is devoted to describing that culture, generally from the point of view of an outsider who has been removed from his or her own environment and must become immersed in the ways of the new culture.

In this case, Tess occupies an unusually advantaged position in her encounter. A member of a political an intellectual elite, she has already spent time on this planet
This review and other cool stuff can also be seen at Addicted2Heroines

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.

If you are a fan of books with lovely descriptions and long journeys of self-discovery? Do you enjoy books that are set on planets that closely mirror our own? Do you love books filled with details that show what an alien culture might be like? Most importantly, ask yourself this...Do I like reallyreally long books?
'Cause this bad-boy is almost 600 pages long.
Just sayin'.

Jun 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
A science fiction novel which has been compared to Jane Austen, if Jane Austen were writing about a young linguist running away from her position as sister and unwilling heir to humanity’s greatest leader (a former rebel who has been rewarded with power by Earth’s alien overlords), and who ends up stranded on an interdicted alien planet and adopted by a nomadic matriarchal horse tribe led by a man who is basically his culture’s equivalent to Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great in his ambition to ...more
Jul 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Jane Austen
Shelves: own
The first time I read this book, I was floored by how captivating, engaging, entertaining, and engrossing it was for a sci-fi (technically) novel. This is despite the fact that I was reading a double-spaced draft in a cardboard box: it totally drew me in. My handicap was that I had long-since fallen out of love with most of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, and had grown tired of worn-out plot cliches and two-dimensional characters. "Jaran" really surprised me. When I thought I knew where the story was ...more
So I got this book from a HumbleBundle female authored-SFF - in which I have others books to target for - so I actually did not have any expectation at all, considering it as a bonus.

I should have read the description and some reviews first before proposing it as a BR. Sorry, friends!

Tried 50 to 60 pages and it was a slog. Worldbuilding was weird and semi chaotic, the main female character was dull, and I just don't like the story when a woman entering a foreign culture then suddenly entered
So I give up on this book. I’m simply not in the mood for this and honestly I couldn’t care less about the plot, its characters or the intrigue.

This really isn’t a bad novel in itself. I appreciated especially that the author took her time to show us a different world with a different culture. Our heroine is stranded on the planet Rhui without the means to communicate to her brother, the Duke in charge of the planets in this territory. Tess attempts to get to the bottom of a supposed conspiracy
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The five word summary of “Genghis Khan meets Jane Austen” is accurate, but fails to encompass the rich world building and the wonderful story in this book. The heroine, Tess, is the much younger sister of the only human to lead a revolt against humanities’ (mostly) benevolent conquerors, the Chapalii. The Chapalii, having quashed this revolt, reward Charles with an interstellar dukedom. Making him the only human in the upper echelons of Chapalii society. Tess is his heir, but she would rather be ...more
Mar 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014, library
I wanted to like this book. For the first half or so, I was very happy and making favorable comparisons to Damar. (There will be major spoilers for the rest of the book. Enter at your own risk.)(view spoiler) ...more
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I haven't picked up this series since high school, and I found myself more engrossed as an adult than ever before. As a teen I mostly wanted to see an assertive heroine navigating her love life, as an adult I also appreciate the politics and supporting characters around her.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I have absolutely no idea what to think right now. Jaran combines familiar elements in a way that might be new, and yet when I look at it closely, might be derivative; events are telegraphed in a way that feels more obvious than organic; certainly a large part of the central relationship is nothing new at all.

Tess, as a political idea in a complicated power dynamic, is a fascinating character. As a person finding her way, her journey is much more typical: she's welcomed into strangers' homes
[3 and 1/2 stars] A solid and engaging first novel from Kate Elliott, with fairly minimal SF elements and a strong focus on world-building. There's a comment from Judith Tarr on the cover that the book reminds her of C.J. Cherryh's work, and I can see that resemblance - however, this feels less of an intellectual puzzle/ almost clinical analysis of culture(s), with more emotional investment on the part of characters, writer and reader (this isn't a criticism of either author's approach, as I ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Only took 4 years to finish it.
This review can also be found on my blog, Snowflakes and Spider Silk.

It's books like these that keep me coming back to sci-fi. Jaran is set in a the future where alien species and humans coexist rather delicately, vying for power. This is only one side of this story, however, and a rather small side at that. The majority of the book hardly reads like science fiction at all - the protagonist, Tess, finds herself learning about and assimilating into the jaran culture, one that is markedly
Christine Sandquist (eriophora)
Premise: The sister of an influential interstellar duke accidentally finds herself on one of the planets her brother is in charge of. She discovers a conspiracy amongst an alien race in addition to finding her own identity independent of her brother.

Review: Although I wanted to like this novel more than I did, the underlying message of "just embrace your gender identity and gender roles!" wasn't working well for me. The book's primary theme revolved around the protagonist, Tess, accepting her
Not exactly what I was expecting; Jaran reads like a fantasy but with other planets and an alien race thrown in. I was expecting more scifi. I liked this book but it took a really long time to get into. It was rather boring for a long time. There was a lot about Tess learning the culture, the language, learning to ride, and learning to use a weapon. I almost quit reading before I was halfway through, but the reviews I read said that it picked up after the halfway point, so I stuck with it, and I ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
It's not Kate Elliott's greatest, but it's readable and well-written.

It's about horse-riding nomads IN SPACE.

Let me say that again.


Overall, most of the book is pretty standard girl-meets-another-much-less-advanced-culture-and-then-becomes-enchanted-with-it stuff plus some frontier romance plus friendships plus aliens. And horses. In space. There is also a political subplot concerning the heroine's much older brother, which I wish was more extensive. Perhaps in
Althea Ann
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first book I've read solely by Kate Elliott, and the first she published (under this name.)
I'm not sure why I hadn't read anything by her previously, as I did love 'The Golden Key,' which she co-wrote.
'Jaran' was good enough that I'm now planning of reading more from her. It was a very enjoyable space opera. My one criticism, however, is that at times it seems a little unsure of where it's going, plot-wise. Our protagonist, Tess, is accidentally stranded on a primitive planet. To survive,
Megan Baxter
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
When I try to think about what I want to write about in this review, I have to keep coming back to Roger Ebert's famous and useful maxim "it's not what it's about, it's how it is about it." He's talking about movies, of course, but it's just as applicable to books. And that's where my troubles lie. I will defend strongly the idea that science fiction and romance should not be mutually exclusive categories, although I have to admit that I haven't loved the couple of entries into that hybrid genre ...more
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
So engrossing. I'm not sure what this sub genre of science fiction is called, but it really works for me. It raises the anthropological issues that occur when different alien races meet but is set in the context of one culture on a planet, not as a space opera ... just fascinating. It did have a few Dances with Wolves/Avatar-ish moments, but Elliot doesn't get quite that cliche, thankfully. I love books involving a lot of land travel, and Elliott's descriptive writing style perfectly frames the ...more
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
I love it. It's one of the few books I've ever started re-reading immediately after finishing, because the characters journeyed so far during the story - I just had to go back and see it over again. The balance between the science fiction and the fantasy is perfect, and the splash of anthropology kept my interest. The Jaran society Elliot has built is unique and completely believable. The characters feel realistic, and speak and act naturally. Nothing jarred, and watching Tess integrate herself ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kind of old-school (and loooong) SFF, but I loved this book - I was totally absorbed by Tess and Ilya’s relationship and the slow-burning tension between the two of them, set against the background of the Jaran culture. I also have a soft spot for those SF/fantasy hybrids, and this was one of them.
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf-for-adults
This was the second time I've read Jaran - but the first time in 13 years - and I loved it even more this time 'round. Fabulous, fun, smart and romantic space opera, all of it centered around a really wonderful heroine.
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, 9, ebooks, sf, 2013
I'm so glad these books are out as ebooks at last and I can reread them easily. I first read this when it came out and it was lovely to read again. I'm not going to dive into the next one immediately, but I'm looking forward to gowing back to Rhui again.
Huh.. Not what I was expecting at all!

So I loved the Crossroads series by Kate Elliot (Spirit Gate, Shadow Gate, and Traitors' Gate) I was expecting more of the same... and I sort of got it... maybe.

This is supposedly a science fiction story - there are aliens and spaceships and other trappings of scifi, but the meat of the story is set on a "medieval" world among a whole bunch of steppe horse-lords :) The titular "Jaran" tribes. If you have read Outlander then you have the same kind of idea
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was not what I thought it was going to be.

I picked up this book because I had heard it dealt with a matriarchal culture and I was intrigued. I enjoy reading about matriarchies, and I was hoping for a woman-focused book with a lot of strong female characters interacting with each other, shaping events, taking action, and basically exercising a great deal of agency.

That's not what I got.

The people in this book, the Jaran, are basically matriarchal "in name only." Women are supposedly
Jess Mahler
I wanted to like this more than I did. It was a solid story with interesting world and characters, it hooked me enough I wanted to keep reading, but I always picked it up with a sigh. Not sure if it was Elliot's writing style or something about the story that was hitting me wrong without me knowing why.

If you are interested in sci-fi adventure that involves a mix of high and low tech cultures, it's worth checking out the sample on Amazon and seeing what you think.

This book is on the Fiction
Claire McFall
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this.

I spent all last night reading and was only at 25%... and had that delicious feeling of knowing that there was ages and ages of it still to go :)

I confess I found all of the different characters from outside the main tribe hard to keep track of, but it was a really (really) enjoyable read.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
An easy read; strong female character, really neat cultures. Space, aliens, natives who have no idea the former exist, heirs, wars, spies. And a part near the end that almost made me cry at work. Kate Elliott never disappoints me.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
im not saying that i stayed up until 3am to finish this despite needing to wake up at 4am but . . . thats exactly what im saying. ughh, i enjoyed reading this, cant remember the last time i stayed up all night just for a book. but it's physically and emotionally exhausting. a girl could only take enough amount of conflict of emotions within 24 hours. and this book has me feeling all sorts of shit in all ends of spectrum. won't probably read the sequels as well cause i dont want to put myself ...more
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So so good!
Really! It really really is...4.5Stars... but not quite 5 hence I rounded it down.

This is a re-release and to be honest I was baffeled that I missed this. I could have sworn I read all of Kate Elliotts books. After reading this I did a search around and realised that I it wasn't at my local library nor did my favorite book stores stock any copies of it. SO I am beyond glad that they re-released this. If you like Kate Elliott this is a MUST read.
This is Elliott at her best. Clever
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Ladies of Mandrigyn (Sun Wolf and Starhawk, #1)
  • Shadow Magic (Lyra, #1)
  • The Wind's Call (The Broken Lands, #4)
  • Valor's Trial (Confederation, #4)
  • Wheel of the Infinite
  • The Bloodbound (Bloodbound, #1)
  • The Wizard Hunters (The Fall of Ile-Rien, #1)
  • The Truth of Valor (Confederation, #5)
  • Path of Fate (Path, #1)
  • The Better Part of Valor (Confederation, #2)
  • With Unclean Hands: An Andrea Cort Story
  • Inda (Inda, #1)
  • Valor's Choice (Confederation, #1)
  • Swordheart
  • The Cloud Roads (Books of the Raksura, #1)
  • The Heart of Valor (Confederation, #3)
  • An Ancient Peace (Peacekeeper, #1; Confederation, #6)
  • The Golden Key
See similar books…
As a child in rural Oregon, Kate Elliott made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction, often with a romantic edge. It should therefore come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight.

When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely

Other books in the series

Jaran (4 books)
  • An Earthly Crown (Jaran, #2)
  • His Conquering Sword (Jaran, #3)
  • The Law of Becoming (Jaran, #4)
“Luck is only my lover, not my wife," replied Bahktiaan easily. He drew his saber. "If ever I wed, it will be skill and intelligence."

"Tedious bedfellows," said Sergi.”
“When you have a full and eager heart in you, you must not go to a man whose heart is empty and weak.” 2 likes
More quotes…