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Pawn (Sibyl's War, #1)
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(The Sibyl's War #1)

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  322 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Nicole 19 drinks and takes drugs to suppress voices whispering in her head. Bleeding out from a knife wound, thug Bungie waves a gun at her and ER doc Sam. Winged aliens speak to her, and kidnap all three. Content, she is still a pawn aboard Fyrantha, hearing directions from the live spaceship to Sibyls for human repair crews. Human leader Plato warns her explorations enda ...more
Hardcover, 347 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Tor Tom Doherty Macmillan
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3.40  · 
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 ·  322 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Pawn is the story of Nicole, a teenage alcoholic and sometime criminal who is whisked away by aliens from her dead-end life on Earth to a living spaceship called the Fyrantha, where she discovers she is a Sybil – a rare human with the ability to communicate with the ship. Working on the ship gives her a new purpose in life, but she soon discovers that secrets are being kept from her, and she is drawn into a deadly conflict between two different alien species on the ship; a conflict orchestrated ...more
May 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Fantasy Review Barn

Three people are abducted by moth like aliens and drafted into a work crew on a mysterious alien space ship. One, a doctor, is recognized as a talent and moved to medical. Another is a small time thug who immediately starts looking for a way out. And the third is Nicole who learns she is something special, a ‘Sibyl’ who can talk to the ship. After settling in to their new scripted and completely mundane life the trio start breaking the rules a bit and exploring their new surro
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, sci-fi, thriller, arc
Timothy Zahn kicks off a great new space opera trilogy with Pawn: A Chronicle of the Sibyl’s War. Zahn is no stranger to space adventure and Pawn shows he is still hitting on all cylinders.

19-year-old Nicole and frenemy/street thug Bungie along with the ER doctor they’ve kidnapped to treat Bungie’s wounds are in turn abducted and find themselves on the spaceship Fyrantha where they have been recruited as part of a maintenance crew.

Nicole finds that she is a Sibyl, which means with some pharmaceu
May 21, 2017 marked it as dnf
Shelves: meh, sci-fi, 2017-arcs
I don't rate books I don't finish, but this one fell to around 2 stars and never climbed back up. I kept skimming the meaningless tensions, hoping to find some meaningful progress, but it never manifest. The problem is the single point of view character: 19 yr old Nicole is kidnapped by aliens because she can speak with their ship and relay mechanical problems to the crew. Cool, right? This opens up all kinds of mysteries and worldbuilding questions. But instead of exploring that, we are stuck i ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sf
Zahn dusts off the ancient plot of the giant, uncontrolled spaceship wandering around and adds some fun twists. It's the start of a new series, while it doesn't end on a cliffhanger, the sequel potential is blatant. Looking forward to more.
Judy Lesley
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Two people are in the act of committing a crime in a hospital parking lot in Philadelphia when the two criminals and their victim are abducted by aliens. Next occupation - part of a work crew making repairs to an alien spaceship. Wow, the potential for this book was seemingly huge. Unfortunately the story just meanders along until about the last several pages where the reader and the abducted find out what the big bad space plot is all about.

I was surprised by this book because all the other Tim
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Nicole Lee does not have much of a life until she ends up on a alien star ship. Seems she is a Sibyl and can hear what repairs the ship needs. Then she becomes involved in a war between two other species and her life changes again. Nicole is a great character who changes as events come into her life. While she starts out as a street child she ends up with a job that can change the lives of all around her. This has interesting world building and character development. The backstory is woven into ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was disappointing. I've enjoyed every other one of Timothy Zahn's books that I've read, but "Pawn" was annoying. For one thing, I never saw a book talk about people grimacing so many times. Sometimes Nicole, the main character, just thinks about grimacing without actually doing it. Then there is the continuous insistence that Nicole's hometown of Philadelphia is unbearable. Yes, there are dangerous parts of the city, but this goes so far overboard for no reason.
I finished the book, but don
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
I didn't know about this book, even though Timothy Zahn is one of my favorite authors. Saw it at the library while looking for Judgment at Proteus.

I'm surprised to rate this only 3 stars, the first such rating I've given Timothy Zahn. I didn't like it as much as I usually like his books, and I'm not entirely sure why. Part of it may be how it is only somewhat science fiction. Yes, they're on a spaceship, but this affects their day-to-day life so little that it hardly matters; in fact, some chara
This is the first book in a new series by Timothy Zahn. I am a big fan of Timothy Zahn but I was somewhat disappointed in this book. It wasn't a bad book but I have come to expect more from Mr. Zahn. This one dragged a bit in spots and the storyline has been used repeatedly by many authors over the years. Zahn dusts off the ancient plot of the giant, uncontrolled spaceship wandering around and people from Earth are abducted to be virtual slave labor once aboard. Nicole and street thug Bungie alo ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The idea was interesting, but there were several leaps and stretches. "A wizard did it!"(TM) is employed in key points to explain the settings. Why is it that in the known universe only humans can repair this alien ship? "That is how it is made!", of course. The surveillance capabilities of the Shipmasters are dubious at best, and seem enslaved to the plot at the worst. And the rest falls into place because Plato sits on the information against all odds - though he does explain it to the equally ...more
Timothy Zahn's "Pawn: A Chronicle of the Sibyl's War" is the first book in his "Sibyl's War" series. It had some potential, but suffers from two major flaws. First, for the first third of the book, our protagonist is a loser and perpetual victim. Suddenly (and literally between one page and another), she turns into a strong, decisive, warrior leader. There's no growth into that role. She just magically transforms. The second big issue is that the book is all about mushroom management. Not only d ...more
An Odd1
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action
Thrilling fights increase. Protagonist Nicole 19 matures, invents attack and defence strategies, instead of awaiting plans from vicious Bungie and snob Sam. Yet she childishly ignores warnings about danger to self and Earth, lets murderer go and kills savior. (view spoiler) Different species complicate conflicts.
Mandi Baker
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C.D. Gallant-King
I'm a big Star Wars fan. When I was a teenager, during the lull in Star Wars films between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, I devoured all the tie-in novels, games and comics that kept the spirit alive. By far, the best books in those early series was the Heir to the Empire trilogy by Timothy Zahn. I've heard some say that Zahn's books were even better than the original Star Wars trilogy of movies, and I'd be willing to consider that claim. He has an accessible, well-paced style that w ...more
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Bit ambivalent about this one. Once it got going it was an enjoyable read, and I liked watching the main character come into her own throughout the story. But it just took so long to get going. The first half of the book is an exercise in frustration. Nicole, the main character, is a total wet rag and pushover, and okay, you can blame it on any number of things: she's only nineteen, she's been in survival mode most of her teenage years (though we never get any back story as to why she left her g ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
TLDR: Feels like the first chapters of a really good book stretched out over way too long, featuring characters that make frustrating decisions while an author I normally love seemingly forgets common sense details standard in sci-fi.

(view spoiler)
Jonathan D
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
As I established previously, I am going to be stealing CinemaWins phrase that "so-and-so is always a win". In my book, while not all of his books are my favorite, "Timothy Zahn is always a win!"

I first read this book a few weeks after it came out in 2017 and it was pretty fun. I think that Timothy Zahn has created a fun, intersting sci-fi universe. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here in his newest book "Knight"(which comes out in April).

The book's plot is interesting, and somew
Brian Palmer
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, science-fiction
Perhaps a bit YA-ish, this novel is squarely within Zahn's usual range. Nicole is an alcoholic 19 year old in Pennsylvania who's been a lookout and petty accomplice to a criminal gang for years. She gets by on couch surfing and is trying to get accepted to do something bigger for the gang... when she gets caught up in one of the more thuggish criminal's schemes ... and then abducted by aliens.

Oh, that.

It turns out that the strange voices Nicole has been hearing for years, the ones she associate
Sam Gor
May 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
So this is a new first of a new trilogy.
It was pretty bland.
The world building and the ending was good and enjoyable.
The aliens was promising but didn't deliver.

It definately read like a YA book such as Hunger Games and Maze Runner with the whole arena thing.
Yes, the twist at the end makes it a big WOW! and that's interesting but the set up was just boring.

No compelling characters nor character development to speak of.
This abduction started off well and the whole getting use to the ship was c
Wow! What a page-turner! Could barely put this book down!

Also, an angry cunning gangster is a fairly good tool to move the action along! Three people get abducted by aliens at the beginning of this book. They find themselves on an alien ship and are told that they will never see Earth again so they might as well just accept their new lives and get to work repairing the starship.

The angry man wants no part of this new life. He refuses to work preferring to explore the ship on his own, convinced t
Nathan Woll
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Bentrim
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pawn by Timothy Zahn
I’ve always enjoyed Zahn’s work. He writes a good story and his characters show moral strength. This book deals with a street smart girl who finds herself on a space ship.
Nicole is a street waif from Philadelphia. Her character is browbeaten and physically beaten by the gang she is associated with. The story allows her to develop some self esteem and begin to be the person she has hidden inside.
Zahn creates a great mini world within the Fyrantha, an alien warship/AI struggl
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-sci-fi
Zahn has a light, zippy style in most of his works that lends itself well to this sort of prison-ship mystery. The heroine, Nicole, is a petty gang member zapped into some sort of spaceship mid-heist with her erratic henchman "Bungie" and their victim. It's hard for them to figure out what's going on, but they mainly are repairmen contacted by the ship via clairvoyants like Nicole. She's being kept in the dark about a lot, and most of the tale is her discovering a bit about what is going on. The ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a hard book to finish, largely because the main character, Nicole, was so irritating until literally the end of the book. The ending was the only reason I gave it 3 stars instead of 1 or 2 stars. I guess what bugged me so much was her tolerance for and protection of Bungie, her abusive sort of boyfriend. By the end we figure out she just wants to protect people, to do the right thing, but through much of the book she struck me as weak. But the end was good, and in all fairness, her choi ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
(this is a review of the audio book version)

I've read quite a few zahn books and I enjoyed them. this book is quite the struggle to get through. I picked this one up not knowing it was a ya novel (and there's nothing wrong with it being a ya novel) but the main protagonist plays like a bad typical ya trope. nicole is a 19 year old minor member of a street gang and is so whiny and loyal to very bad people that makes her unlikable despite the noble things she does throughout the book. her lies see
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was full of shallow, immature, unlikable characters; multiple improbabilities; long, boring technical battle scenes, and blatant sexism, not just by the characters, but by the author himself, which I couldn’t forgive. Worst of all, I quickly figured out both of the secrets that he was saving up for the big dramatic finish, which made for a real anticlimactic letdown. Having read so many of his other books, I know he is capable of delivering three dimensional characters, witty dialogue, ...more
Tim Hicks
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Meh. Feels like a "bet I can write a novel in a weekend" book.
Nicole just isn't interesting, the setting isn't very believable, and the "arena" never really formed as a mental image. Things proceed slowly. Bungie is incredibly annoying, and is left alone for what seems like weeks at a time. THere are way too many mysterious characters who each reveal a small detail, and when it's all explained, it's just not interesting.

Won't read sequel.
Janet Sketchley
I found this one difficult to get into, in part because of the animosity in and among the characters in the first half, but by the half-way mark I was becoming invested. Having finished the book, I feel like this one sets things up for the rest of the series, which I think I'll enjoy.

This doesn't affect my rating, but the cover, as attractive as it is, is misleading about what sort of story is inside.
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Timothy Zahn attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his adviser became ill and died. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and he bec ...more

Other books in the series

The Sibyl's War (2 books)
  • Knight: A Chronicle of the Sibyl's War