A great follow-up to Balance of Trade, and I certainly hope there will be more in this series.
This is the first book I read by C.J. Cherryh, and still one of my favorites. Not as complex as Cyteen or Downbelow station, it is in the same universe, with politics, azi, and a capable but flawed central character. Sadly, the reader is not suited to the book- for one thing is pretty much simply READ, with no significant change in voices. It is even difficult to tell the difference between the nonhuman majat and the other characters. More even than that, the reader's voice seems more suited to light works. No Cherryh book is other than dense and somewhat dark, even her juvenile book is not sweet. Almost literally my first impression was that the reader was doing the story as light fiction and Raen as an ingenue, which even at the opening when she was 15 was inappropriate. I'm sure this was unintended, but more depth is needed here. The tensions in the story are pretty much lost in the reading. I will finish the book, because the story is so good, and partially because I know where the stress points are supposed to be located. After the first few chapters I was inclined to discard the Audible version, and probably will not listen to this version again. Do yourself a favor- buy a copy of the book and read it.
Cherryh is a wonderful world-builder and this is one of her best. I've got a shelf full of her works - no, two shelves - and have re-read them often over the years. Admittedly, her intros are often long and may be sometimes dry, but always are important and set the story in its proper place. The readers do a great job. I will listen to this one again, and look forward to the sequel, Regenesis. Highly, highly recommended.
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