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Search Image

(Web Shifter's Library #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  118 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The first book in the Web Shifter's Library series returns to the adventures of Esen, a shapeshifting alien and member of an ancient yet endangered race, who must navigate the perils of a hostile universe.

Esen's back! And the dear little blob is in trouble again.

Things began so well. She and her Human friend Paul Ragem have opened the doors to their greatest accomplishment
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Daw Books
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
[4.5/5 stars] Can I fanigirl a minute over a new Esen novel?? 😭😭

I have to say, even though I loved how the first trilogy ended, I had a true booknerd freakout when I heard there was another Esen novel in the works. Czerneda has long been my favorite sci-fi author, and amazing, funny, awkward, compassionate characters like Esen are a big part of why I recommend her books so often.

It’s abundantly clear Czerneda loves this character as much as her fans do. Her writing in Search Image showed so much
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alright, these books are not super deep. They don't make a lot of demands on the reader, and Czerneda does this stylistic thing a lot? That I don't love. Breaking a sentence up into sort of half a question? And then a fragment for the answer. But damn if I don't get so sucked into the plot that I stop caring after a chapter or two. Really the books are a lot like Esen herself: extremely eager, maybe kinda embarrassing, but ultimately hard to resist. And sometimes I just really want a fun book wi ...more
3 stars, Metaphorosis Reviews

Paul and Esen (an ancient energy being able to adopt other forms at will) are semi-retired, dedicated to a universal library of knowledge they hope will stop conflict between species before they get out of hand. But even nestled on a quiet planet, the flood of inter-galactic travelers brings
with it trouble out of their past.

I’m a fan of Julie Czerneda’s writing. I even have a rare (for me) fan fiction piece in one of her anthologies. And the Web Sh
Searska GreyRaven
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I 've missed these characters and this world so much. Loved it, and definitely looking forward to the next one. ...more
Bonnie McDaniel
This is the first Web Shifter book in fifteen years, and as such it has to bring the reader up to speed. The slow, languid pace of the beginning chapters is the main reason I didn't rate it higher. Once the story gets going, it's engaging, but it takes a loooonnnnnnngggg time to get there.

If you're a Czerneda fan, that doesn't matter. Esen-alit-Quar is one of the author's most beloved characters, and for good reason. She's one of the most alien protagonists I've ever read, but her personality f
Oct 17, 2018 marked it as tbr-hc
yay, now I have to re-read the original Esen trilogy
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Search Image is a spinoff from the Web Shifters series and the story picks up with Esen and Paul managing their dream, a library where all can come and learn as well as share. It was pretty cool how Paul and Esen planned the information exchange to take place, because that is how the library was expected to grow. Others would bring something to share (something that they deemed valuable) and in exchange they would receive the information that they wished to know. Although the library was in its ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yay! The little blue blob is back with more adventures with her small little web of friends and family. I especially enjoy the humor and wit that go into Czerneda's books. A few things toward the end of this didn’t quite make sense to me (and maybe because Czerneda's narrative style is a bit frenetic), but I enjoyed the ride and re-familiarizing myself with old book friends. I’ve forgotten a lot from the original trilogy and need to go back and read those books. I also really need to re-read all ...more
Esen and Paul are back! Paul's family now knows that, after being told of his death 50 years ago, Paul is in fact alive and well and running the new All Species' Library of Linguistics and Culture with Esen. The purpose of the Library is to try to head off misunderstandings between different alien species, especially the kind which lead to inadvertent genocide!

I have really enjoyed the adventures of Esen, the Web being (aka blue teardrop blob). Yes, she is young but that means that she is still
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once I started reading Search Image I could not put it down. I laughed, I cried; I’ll be honest, I hugged and smelled it quite a few times. I couldn’t help myself. I was so happy to have it in my hands. No offense to any other authors, but this was the best book I have read so far this year. It was amazing, and I cannot wait for the next one.
**I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

See more in depth reviews and recommendations on my blog:
William Howe
I tried

I just couldn’t get into the book.

Maybe it’s the 15yr old story that is being revisited. Maybe my tastes have changed (I loved the original trilogy).

I don’t know the characters anymore. Add in the multiplicity of aliens - and their names - and the whole thing is a nightmare goulash of wondering what is going on.

For a first book in a new series, this is damn near opaque.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story. Well done to the author for striking the right balance between the same old helpful Esen that we adore and a story that is new and different from the ones that came before. I can't wait to see what surprises are in store for us in the next book! ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Of the 18 or 19 books I own, written or edited by Julie Czerneda, this is the first one I had some difficulty in following. Perhaps it was because it is so long since I read the Web Shifters trilogy and had forgotten some of the characters, perhaps it was the sheer number of characters with difficult to remember names, but here is a piece I couldn't make head or tail of: "Lionel's smile widened. Countless before Evan had succumbed to Paul's unconscious nobility, the warmth he emitted like a smal ...more
Henry Lazarus
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s been over fifteen years since Julie E. Czerneda had a tale about Esen, the youngest of six web-shifters who can shift to an individual on any species she has records. She and her human friend Paul Ragem have created All Species' Library of Linguistics and Culture on his original home planet. Then an old human friend, Evan Gooseberry arrives with a problem. The Dokeci Na have discovered a new intelligent species, and all their efforts to save them, have made the elf-like beings conditions wo ...more
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Czerneda, Julie E. Search Image. Web Shifter’s Library No. 1. Daw, 2018.
Although Search Image proclaims itself to be the first volume of a new series, it is really a close sequel to the original Web Shifter series. Once again, the potentially immortal shape-shifting alien Esen and her ephemeral human pal Paul sort through problems with their families, endeavor to keep Esen’s nature from being revealed as they try to build and protect a multispecies library. Once again, we are introduced to some
Nicole Luiken
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, sf-fantasy
It was lovely to read another Esen book; she is such a fun character. I was worried that, so much time having passed since I read the last one, that I would be lost, but there were just enough gentle recaps to reorient myself without bogging down the plot. In fact there were two plots: one resolved at book's end and one that I predict will stretch across the trilogy. I liked the complexity of Skalet's character, and how despite being on the same side as Esen, their tactics were miles apart. ...more
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
When I discovered that there was another book featuring Esen, I listened to my nostalgic feelings about my encounter with “her” 18 years ago and plunged in without rereading. The story did not flow for me the way I remember, but I have rounded “way up” the 3.25 stars it felt like to 4 based on the insights into important issues. You will have to read the book to find out what they are. I will watch for the next book and may even go back to the earlier trilogy.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Yay! Esen and Paul are back. I reread the original trilogy before this book came out and I loved it as much as the first time around. This novel (with an e novella in between) starts up soon after the last book ends. If you love aliens and adventure and mischievousness and some sadness give this series a try.
Caroline Ingvaldsen
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
First in the new series set in the All Species Library, featuring shape shifting Esen and her beloved human Paul Ragem, celebrating the extraordinary diversity of a galaxy populated by a seemingly infinte number of sentient species.
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting characters. The author loves to explore new and fantastic biology. Our heroes are likable, and their friendships sweet. Reminds me a little of a late career Terry Pratchett novel. Witty and light, even when faith things certainly doom. A fun read.
Brian Gaston
Jun 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a 4 for the hard science fiction fan. There is a lot of world building and explanation that bogs down the narrative at times. Having said that, the characters are great and the plot is good. Recommended for those that like this sort of fiction.
Jul 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. I usually enjoy novels written by this author but in this case, I could not even "like" or care about the characters. alas. I found it difficult to stay focused on the story. ...more
Breane Ross
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an arc of this book and love Esen! What a great character. Totally recommend this book!
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Charming book, fist of a new series, but based on a earlier series. Will have to look it up!
Samuel Lubell
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
Kelly Peasgood
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Czerneda's work. She knows how to elicit emotional reactions quite well--tears, laughter, outrage. Always fun! ...more
I want to come back to this one.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of my all time favorite authors! Her aliens with all the amazing and unique details really make them come to life, instead of making them feel like cookie cutters of the same thing.
I LOVED IT!!! It was wonderful! I hadn't read "The Only Thing to Fear" (being ebook only and I don't have a kindle yet), but thankfully it was ok to read without it.

It has been a couple of days and now that the high from the ending has worn off, I have more to say. I love that Evan is attracted to Paul and has feelings for him. I hated it at first. I was fine with it in that I'm happy for gay (or bi or what have you (not just another straight populated universe where I feel little to no rep.))
This has become my favorite series. I love spending time with these characters, and the stories are positive and full of insight into how people work.
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For over twenty years, Canadian author/ former biologist Julie E. Czerneda has shared her curiosity about living things through her science fiction, published by DAW Books, NY. Julie’s written fantasy too, the first installments of her Night’s Edge series (DAW) A Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow, winning consecutive Aurora Awards (Canada’s Hugo) for Best English Novel. Having completed her Clan ...more

Other books in the series

Web Shifter's Library (3 books)
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