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The V'Dan

(First Salik War #2)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  599 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Paperback, 389 pages
Published December 29th 2015 by Ace
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Start your review of The V'Dan (First Salik War, #2)
It took me some time to review The V'Dan after reading it. I have to admit I was somewhat baffled by it as I finished it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed The V'Dan even if less than the first book in the The First Salik War series; and not as much as the Theirs Not to Reason Why series books by Jean Johnson.

It's plot is not about adventures, but about diplomacy and the people that orchestrate it. Jackie might be viewed by some as self-righteous. I don't agree and concur with Jean Johnson, the respect
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the idea of a first contact series, and Johnson has created some likeable and interesting characters and species. However, this second book, even more than the first, suffers from some significant shortcomings.

As with her book A Soldier's Duty, Johnson adds a lot of superfluous detail that adds little or nothing to the story. Details of ship and station lay-outs, colors, etc., that play no part in the actual storyline add padding that actually distracts and detracts from the plot. I find
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at The Book Pushers

I grabbed The V’Dan because I love Jean Johnson’s writing. I have enjoyed all of her books, including her fanfiction, and her military SF series Theirs Not to Reason Why is one of my all-time favorites. If you like character-driven military SF, start with A Soldier's Duty.

But The V’Dan is the second book in her prequel series to Theirs Not, The First Salik War. I raved over the first book in this series, The Terrans, over at Reading Reality. I expected to
After I fell in love with The Terrans (see exactly how much in my review), I expected to adore V’Dan. Unfortunately, everything I ignored in The Terrans was emphasized in its sequel, and everything I loved so much took a back seat to the main elements (those things I ignored).

V’Dan continues the story of the interaction between two human civilizations: the Terrans, or the futuristic us, and the V’Dan, a civilization that grew up in a distant universe after they left Earth millennia ago in a time
I'm going to start off by saying that I'll probably keep reading the series. However, it is largely because I enjoyed the other series in the same universe as this book and getting more content that adds further detail to this universe interests me.

The book itself and this series diverges from the other series a little too much. The other series is more military sci-fi. There's actual combat and the characters use their psychic abilities. In this one... not so much..

So far, it seems to focus
I feel like there wasn't a lot of story movement, yet a lot happened in this one. I did get tired, much like the Terrans did, of how they were treated by the V'Dan. It was the same argument over and over, the same chastisement over and over, with the punishments slightly accelerating with each infraction. I loved Jackie's challenge to the Empress, really thought that would do the trick. I feel like the last brutal call the Terran's made at the end was the right one. You can only turn the other ...more
Basically reiteration is the bane of this whole book, and anything worth happening happens in the last 10% of it. This writing style of going through of what is being said over and over again drove me up the wall. Which is why it took me that long to read it. Disappointed. However, I'll still read Blockade as I like Li'eth. *sigh* I've got a headache now.
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Science Fiction
*Rating* 3.0

*My Thoughts*

The V'Dan is the second installment in Jean Johnson's First Salik War series. This series actually takes place 200 years before the Theirs Not to Reason Why series. In order to understand the intricacies and political shenanigans that take place in this story, you must read the first book called The Terrans. You have to understand that like all middle books, if you miss the first story, you miss the characters who were previously
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was both prepared, and entirely unprepared for this book.

The series is called, “The First Salik War”, but despite that title, the Salik (aliens whose preferred form of nourishment is live humans), have had exactly two small scenes across the two books.

Which seems crazy. On the surface, one would expect “The First Salik War” books to be military space fare, but instead, as of so far, these books are very much political fiction.

Based on this, as military space fiction, these books are sorely
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
The follow up to the first book is a bit of a let down. The action really happens near the end. We are now in the V'Dan world where Jackie is the Grand High Ambassador from Earth. Li’eth is returned to his world with new allies and a possible way to defend against the Salik. Unfortunately, the V'Dan are asshole racists. This is a dry book about diplomacy and xenophobia. I fell asleep three times trying to read this book. It is a needed book because it sets up of the big showdown at the end. Am I ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Following on the First book about first contact is a second book about diplomacy-almost completely devoid of diplomacy. The Terrans in this book are so condescending and holier-than-thou that I had a hard time getting through the book. In There's is Not To Reason Why the main character was arrogant and blunt because she was on a well defined mission-it worked for the story. The main characters in this book were a lot more pretentious than they should have been as diplomats in a new culture. They ...more
Friedrich Haas
These introductory books are slow for me. The detailed descriptions getting to know the cultures do drag, especially considering how little I was good with in the original series. Someday, these pre-quells will suit better. However, in casual conversation, she drops in the solution to the Time Paradox about killing your ancestor, and even though I'd heard it a million times on Dr. Who, it hit me fresh and with impact. That was nice. So I continue.

However, by the end of the book I am just glad
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aliens! Psychic powers! Game theory! I really enjoyed this book, so much so that I actually wanted to write a review. First off, I had never read any of the books by this author, so I greatly appreciated the recap at the start of the book which allowed me to read this installment with only a minimum of confusion. However, I also want to say that the blurb is a little misleading; the blurb makes this sound heavy on action and romance, when really it is about diplomacy and the romance was already ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, military-sff
This is the book showing how the Terrans and V'Dan begin their negotiations, the misunderstandings and cultural differences, the surprises they all find and the adjustments that must be made. It's the story of the first Terran Embassy on V'Dan, of the technology that each can trade, and the risks and rewards each face.

It's also the story of Jackie and Li'eth as they cautiously explore their rare Gestalt bond.

(view spoiler)
The 2nd in a trilogy was painful, but also an interesting take on the complexity of setting up an alliance between two groups of the
Same species but with very different cultures. Lovely reminder of the utter stupidity of discrimination.
Jackie is a fantastic, intelligent, tough as nails, empathetic, sweet, funny and terrific character.
Marcela (BookaholicCat)
3.5 Stars
I rather enjoyed this book, but I must admit that it is not very good. The author gets too hung up on protocol descriptions. And clothing descriptions. And speeches. Those are arguably the worst. Yes, I understand the whole lack-of-jungen thing is a big deal, but the repeated speeches about how unacceptable the V'dan behaviour is can easily get on your nerves. Plus, it is seriously unbelievable in some places. I understand prejudice can be insidious, but the V'dan have been hit over the head ...more
Yikes! What a fast-paced action-filled book!

First contact is ever so much harder when you are in fact the same Human species BUT your cultural expectations are so different! [The V'Dan people had somehow left Earth for their new world thousands of years ago but they do recognize that they did not evolve on their new planet V'Dan.]

Ever heard of "white privilege"? Ask anyone who is not Caucasian/part of the "majority" culture and you will quickly receive an earful!

Especially when the arrogant
From first contact to embassy to war.....

The detail in this world is amazing and the thought given to how a simple thing can mean so much when relating to an alien species or an alliance of alien species is so amazingly depicted that you can’t help but feel what is happening in this book. You are a part of the proceedings from page one to the end...and now this fascinated reader is off to the next book in the series!
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-sci-fi, r-ace
Very good 2nd novel! The first contact story continues, as well as the cultural struggles, and more of the PSI theory is expanded on. There is a lot of exhaustive detail in this world building. I am looking forward to the final book and (hopefully) more on the precognitive angle.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as the first one. The whole thing with the v’dans not being able to see if the Terrans are adults is just ridiculous.
May 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f
This author doesn't seem to understand how diplomacy works. Or depth of character. Or clash of cultures.
Per Gunnar
This book is more about politics and social interaction than most of the other books in the First Salik War as well as Theirs Not to Reason Why series of books from this author. As such it falls a bit outside of my comfort zone which is why I was surprised at how much I actually liked this book.

Jackandra MacKenzie is sent to the V’Dan homeworld in the capacity of both military commander and ambassador for Earth with the mission to negociate a treaty between V’Dan and Earth. The mission is
“The V’Dan” is the second story in the ‘First Salik War’ series by Jean Johnson and continues the saga started in “The Terrans”. Jacaranda (Jackie) MacKenzie and a group of her fellow humans have transported Captain Li’eth Ma’an-uq’en and his surviving crew back to his homeworld. The cultural differences between the long-separated people who share a common background but place a vastly different value on skin pigmentation causes a diplomatic nightmare. Finding a way to establish a rapport with ...more
John (JP)
At its core this book is about Earth's first contact with aliens and its affects on both cultures. The book has some merit in that it mocks racial prejudice. The V'Dan are born with tattoos that change as they get older. Humans who are directly related to them aren't born with then. The V'Dan use this difference as an excuse to treat Humans as children. Humans have their own prejudices to deal with. They are frighten by human sized Spider like aliens who are more advanced than they are. All the ...more
Arrrggh i hate cliffhangers. So a warning for those who hate it, you should wait until the series is complete before picking up this series. Now im gonna be really frustrated until i get the next installment.

It was well written, only in the middle we sometimes got too sidetracked with scientific/philosophical musings about the similarities/dissimilarities between specific word/objects, etc. of the two cultures.

But overall it was a nice read and i'd rate it as a 3,5 star.

For those familiar with
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I loved Jean Johnson's Theirs Not To Reason Why series and liked the first book in the new series, The Terrans, so it pains me to say that I did not like The V'Dan at all.

I knew going in that this book was not military SF, and instead would focus more on first contact and diplomacy, but I didn't expect the difference to earlier books to be so stark. For about 90% of the book, the plot is just meandering with no sense of urgency, no real stakes, no dramatic tension. It is almost entirely
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Li’eth, a prince, and his rescuer, Jacaranda MacKenzie return to his home world V'Dan to help them in their war. Diplomacy runs into prejudice and drives much of the this story.

Why I started this book: This book flows directly from the first The Terrans. If I had realized that The Blockade isn't out until November 2016, I would have waited a little longer.

Why I finished it: Very interesting story and it opened my eyes a little to the problem of prejudice. I admit that I spent a little time,
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Berkley/Jove Authors Bio

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
(1)romance author, science fiction author

Jean Johnson currently lives in the Pacific Northwest, has played in the SCA for 25 years, sings a lot, and argues with her cat about territorial rights to her office chair. She loves hearing from her readers, and has a distinct sense of humor.

Other books in the series

First Salik War (3 books)
  • The Terrans (First Salik War, #1)
  • The Blockade (First Salik War, #3)