Devourer of all books fantasy
This is the first book in the Honorverse: Stephanie Harrinton by Weber; a sub-series in his Honorverse series aimed at YA readers. The second book in this series, Fire Season, is due out October 2012.
The audiobook was very well done, with excellent narration and good distinction between character voices. It was a good book to listen to.
Stephanie has been forced to move to the relatively unpopulated planet of Sphinx when her scientist parents acquire land there. During one of her hanger flights Stephanie crashes into the forest only to be saved by another sentient species on the planet which she nicknames tree-cats. She bonds with a tree-cat she calls Lionheart and a struggle ensues to ensure the safety of this new species. The book switches between Stephanie’s and Lionheart’s/Climbs Quickly’s viewpoints. This worked well for the story and gave us an excellent glimpse into both sentient life forms (humans and treecats).
I listened to Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi earlier this year and you can’t help by think of that book when you read this one. To be honest this book is a less action-packed, less humorous Fuzzy Nation aimed at a YA audience. It is a decently done YA science fiction novel, but I felt like I was reading a watered down version of Fuzzy Nation.
This book does addresses some interesting issues like discovering and exploiting sentient species on a non-earth planet. Unfortunately the story is very simple and predictable. Things are incredibly very over-explained and reiterated again and again. The description is so repetitive and things are explained in such minute detail that the whole story felt very dumbed down.
Stephanie makes an excellent heroine. She is smart, funny, honest, and brave. The relationship she has with her parents is also really well done. You can tell that their family relationship is based on mutual respect; it’s a family anyone would be happy to be part of. Lionheart and his clan are similarly respectful and reasonable with each other.
There were things that puzzled me though; like why was language such a barrier for so long between the humans and the tree cats? Stephanie and Lionheart are friends for over a year and they still have trouble communicating. You would think if both species are so intelligent then they would eventually start using hand signals or writing to communicate. This was just a major gap in logic that bothered me throughout the story.
Things are fairly well tied up at the end of the book, and although this is clearly not a stand alone novel, it could be read as such.
Overall a decent if somewhat flawed YA science fiction novel. I enjoyed the heroine and her family dynamic, the tree cats were also interesting. The story was very simplistic though and things were re-iterated to the point where the story felt a bit dumbed down. Also if you have read Fuzzy Nation by Scalzi then you have already read a very similar story that is funnier and more action packed than this one. I would tentatively recommend to middle grade or YA sci-fi fans; I don’t think most adults will find much here to interest them. I would highly recommend reading John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation instead of this book to explore similar topics.
I like that this book gives some background to the Honor Harrington series. It was nice to find out how human-tree cat relationships began.
I could see this was going to be a good concept at the start. I didn't think the character was as intelligent as some of the others Weber has written about. But she is young, and acted accordingly. I do hope there are more to come. And that the story is expanded even more, as these are the stories I love to hear.
senior sci-fi connoisseur
I bought this book for the simple reason that I buy everything that this author writes. I did not realize that this book, whose primary protagonist is a 13-14 year old female, would not carry the tale of the tree cats, introduced in the popular Honor Harrington series, to the time when they would be highly considered and accepted by the Manticorian Navy. With just one real evil villain, it does tell the story of how humans and tree cats first met with no sex and no bad-words included. This would be a good book for a scifi leaning preteen.
It felt like the author found a 1,2,3 list of how to make money writing scifi for dumb girls.
"And girls love kitty cats, so maybe you can stick one in".
Painfully simplistic. Some other reviewers liked other books from this author, so I might try another, but this one was awful.
As I have been reading all the books in David Weber's Honor Harrington series over the last few months, I was hesitant to pick up this audio book due to Harrington fatigue. Still, when I seen it on sale I had to give it a go. While this book is more aimed at younger readers, it takes a look at the history of Treecats which is something that is interesting.
This book looks at the society that forms when all the members are empaths as their world is being invaded by mind-blind creatures. The parts of the book that are written from the treecat point of view are some of the more thought-provoking parts of the book. I did find their acceptance of the evils of humanity to be a bit of a stretch though. The fact that Climbs Quickly instantly takes a dislike to someone because he can tell the words coming out of his mouth don't match his mental state did match my personal view of how an empath would feel about lying. A society where lying is nearly impossible would be drastically different from our society.
The story is rather on the simple side and is fairly predictable, but it was still fairly entertaining to listen to. The motivation for the villain is simply greed, but the underlying societal causes of that greed are examined. As light reading/listening material, this book is great. There are a lot of though-provoking elements for younger readers and the universe is interesting enough that I will likely listen to the upcoming books in this series when they are released.
Avid Audible Subscriber...
Really liked this book. It is a introduction to a new planet and a new species. Only wish Audible had the rest of this series! I have not listened to David Weber's other books but I will have to explore.
I only listen to unabridged audio books, because I want to get the full story as the author intended, not a chopped up version. I wouldn't say that the audio book edition is better or worse because it has the exact same words in it. It can definitely be more convenient though, since it's it hard to read a book while driving, etc.
I like Stephanie because she reminds me a lot of Honor, and it's mostly about telling her story.
Honestly, I wasn't sure what to think when I saw that Khristine Hvam was reading this book (hopefully this series). I've listened to the entire Honor Harrington series read by Allyson Johnson, and was expecting to have this done by her as well. I think that Khristine did a wonderful job though, and it does make sense to have a different reader do the prequel series of Star Kingdom.
Most good books/stories are, and this one was no exception. I mostly listen to books while walking to/from work or exercising, and I found myself looking for reasons to do those activities to listen more.
Excellent book, can't wait to read/listen to the rest of the series.
I loved the story, I am hoping my 10 year-old-daughter will listen too.
The girl was terrific, Steffanie. SHe is a great, brave, and tenatious character which is just what tree cats seem to like.
No, but she is almost as good at the reader of the Honor series.
both in several places.
THis book was set way before the Honor Harrington character, the girl in the book is actually an ancestor several generations before Honor and the first persone to ever be adopted by a tree cat and this is the story about how humans and tree cats first made friends. Its a wonderful adventure and a great story!!