I give up... I got over halfway, but I cannot finish this book. It is one of the most boring plot lines I have ever read. The main character is so childish and whiny, I just can't take it anymore. I know negative reviews generally don't get good clout here, but I have to be honest and warn off potential listeners to this waste of time.
This is not the right way to go about writing a story. There are reasons that we have rules about good writing. Why is it that an established author is allowed to break them, while beginning writers are chastised and told to "go rewrite"? This is unfair. We should be just as hard on big-name authors when they goof-up as we are on new writers.
The general rule is this: The protagonist of the story needs to ACT, not REACT. He needs to have a clear goal. The main character of this book is totally passive, and I have no idea what he wants to do. Everything happens TO him, because he is completely under the charge and authority of the alien Atevi. He cannot venture outside the boundaries they give him, and he cannot get any information that they do not deign to let trickle down to him. This results in endless pages of monologues about wondering what is going on. Well guess what? WE DON'T KNOW EITHER! All he does is ask where his guards are, and whine about not getting his mail. Finally I reached the point at which I couldn't stand it anymore. Seriously, what's the big deal about MAIL? Someone is trying to kill the guy!
I was reminded a lot in this book about how foreigners feel in Asian cultures, where concepts that Western culture take for granted can be construed as offensive or unintelligible. Maybe Cherryh used that as inspiration to create a similar situation between humans and aliens - and the Atevi do feel alien. Just not interesting.
It can be good to try something unconventional, and the plot and world that is developed here certainly qualifies. But it just doesn't work. I cannot believe Cherryh could build a nearly 15-book franchise out of such a weak, uninteresting plot line. I can only assume it must appeal to fans of her other work. However, this is the second Cherryh novel I have tried and failed to complete, so I have to conclude that her writing is not for me.
This is the first Audible offering I've stopped listening to before finishing. I'd read Tango's review of this book, referring to the protagonist as "A Sci-Fi Neville Chamberlain." Upon consideration, I chose to hope that Tango's perspective of the protagonist, Bren, merely reflected different sensibilities than mine. I'd read some Cherryh ten+ years ago and liked her work well enough. She tends toward long, slow paced stories which focus on world building rather than action. I'd hoped this particular reviewer was judging the protagonist harshly simply because the action was slow.
As I suffered through Bren's endlessly iterating ponderings over who had done what, and why, I myself kept remembering one particular line of Tango's review:
"Bren over-analyzes his own feelings and actions and everyone else's to the point that you just want to smack him."
I did, indeed, want to reach through my headphones and smack Bren. This man had supposedly competed with every other human on the planet to be sole envoy to the natives? I kept waiting for Cherryh to indicate that the reason the man was such a ponce was that his position was actually held in low esteem by his people, or by the natives. Or some other explanation of why such an incompetent person was the sole interface between the stranded humans and the native Atevi.
I gave up waiting for an explanation around hour 10 and deleted the files from my MP3.
The only good part of the experience was the narrator. If Daniel May ever narrates any other sci-fi, I'll listen in.
Sci-fi, detective, cozy. Only give 5s to those books I think stand above the rest. 4 is a good solid book. 3 is average, nothing special.
A friend of mine has been telling me to read C. J. Cherryh for years. I started one a long time ago, got a couple chapters in and dropped it (forgot which title). However, this one actually was very good book and I enjoyed it immensely. I think I will start reading some other of his works.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
Chapter one, you meet an interesting character, but the book is not about him. Chapter two you meet another interesting character, but the book is not about him. Chapter three you meet a not so interesting character and the book is about him.
I used to be a dido head and loved politics in America. I am now sick and tired of politics in America, so why would I be interested in a book that is mostly political about a made up planet?
Yes. And no. I enjoy reading but I don't always have the time to sit and read. I enjoyed Foreigner: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 1 when it first came out in paperback. I enjoyed again a few years later on a re-read. I really enjoyed it as an audio book. I am able to get my work and chores done. Daniel Thomas May does an excellent job with the pacing and voices.
I like the fact that the human protagonist isn't perfect and isn't always right. He sure does work to do the best he can.
Mr May sets a cadence in the speach of the Atavi that makes them seem foreign. He maked it easy to understand when some one else was speaking and more importantly WHO was speaking
yes all 15 hours in one sitting would be wonderful,not possible, however. I will be getting subsuquent books for a long drive I have coming up to pass the time. and for my daily commute.
I have never been disappointed with reading a CJ Cherryh book. So far the Audibles have done her books a great service.
Actually, this book takes place mostly 150 years after first contact. But there is still a cultural divide that makes working together almost, but not quite, impossible. This book does a great job of speculating about a language and a culture that is — dare I say it? — foreign to our own.
At times I was very frustrated with this book for the exact same reasons the main character was. At no point did I think that things were happening that didn't make sense. It was well constructed and was an interesting way in exploring a foreign culture. I look forward to reading the sequel.
Rarely do I purchase books in so many different formats as I have the Foreigner series. I own hardcover, Kindle, and audio. This series hooked me from the start, and has made it to the top of my "must have" list.
Yes, because hearing the narrator pronounce the names of the alien language is helpful. I also find that Cherryh can bog down just a bit in detail in the written word, but for some reason it isn't as distracting in the audio edition. Mind you, this is somewhat necessary during the first book since she is introducing a whole new world with the idea of what a alien-on-alien translation would be like.
When Bren realizes he has to split from his humankind in order to protect those same people. Sometimes he gets a bit pedantic or monotonous when Cherryh is getting just a bit lost in detail. This can be distracting. I get the feeling he want to get on to the next bit.
Sometimes he leaves me breathless running through passages, especially near the beginning when we are hearing new Atevi words for the first time.
Shortly after an attempted assassination of Bren, the main human character through out the series, realizes how alone he is and starts to hold on to Banachi and Jago. You can feel the building, well Bren and Cherryh would say NOT, trust-thing.
You have to listen carefully to the beginning of the book. There is a lot of history that is used later in this book and the following books. If you can keep it all balanced, it is a rich environment with building, believable relationships.
I've read this series and loved it, looking forward to each new book by this marvelous author. Now I'm incredibly happy to be able to listen to the narrator's excellent rendition of this Sci-Fi wonder.
Cherryh has created in this book a wonderful world with incredibly detailed characterizations that will take you on an incredible journey, and as the series progresses you can revisit this magnificent universe again and again.
Daniel May's narration is truly very good, and reflects the ambiance of the writing to perfection, in my opinion.
I've always enjoyed reading my favorites more than once (some every year in fact) and this new format has allowed me to rediscover them in a completely new way and to have them with me everywhere no matter what I'm doing.
I hope others can revisit this great series (as one is never enough) or discover it and delight in as I have and am!!
Yes to Daniel Thomas May, probably not from C.J. Cherryh, and definitely not anything in the rest of this series.
Maybe, but not this series.
The Dowager, the only character that seemed to HAVE any character.
The first 3/4ths of the book.
She really hypes how "different" the aliens are from humans, but in reality this book reads more like a person just visiting a different culture. The aliens are way too human-like, and the Ambassador is a fool altogether. Nothing happens in the majority of the book, and when it does it is underwhelming. I finished it only because I refuse to NOT finish a story once begun, but I won't be getting any of the rest of the series. The performance was well executed, Daniel Thomas May did a good job with bad material.