Space ships, action, adventure - all tied together with a strong dollop of romance and clan intrigue - make this a compelling series for a wide range of listeners, from romance to military Science Fiction lovers.The kompani see none as an enemy, and yet few as friend. The kompani exist in many places, living quietly in the shadows, thriving off the bounty that others have no wit to secure, nor skill to defend. Their private history is unwritten; their recall rooted in dance and dream. The Clan Korval is in many ways the opposite of the kompani. The interstellar trading clan is wealthy in enemies, and fortunate in friends. Korval protects itself with vigor, and teaches even its youngest children the art of war.
And when representatives of Clan Korval arrive on the planet Surebleak where the kompani has lived, secret and aloof, the lives of three people intersect - Kezzi, apprentice to the kompani's grandmother; Syl Vor, Clan Korval's youngest warrior; and Rys, a man without a world, or a past.
Necessity's Child is a standalone adventure in the popular and exciting Liaden Universe.
©2013 Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Clan Korval is on Surebleak, and the Bosses have started a school. Young Syl Vor, bored by himself in the clan house, moves to the city to live with his mother, Nova yos'Galan to attend school. Meanwhile, the Kompani have saved the life of Rys Lin pen'Chala, a Field Agent of the Department of the Interior who was beaten and left for dead near the underground home of the Kompani and found by Kezzi, a young apprentice healer.
Kezzi is caught as a truant by Mike Golden (Nova's "Hand"), and taken to the school where she meets Syl Vor. Syl Vor proposes her to Nova as his Sister, and they become good friends while building a bridge between the Korval and the Kompani. To tell more would be too much, however.
The story could easily be a simple YA addition to the Liaden Universe, but it actually explores more than that and introduces characters that I think will have a significant influence in the future. And to dismiss it as mere YA is to totally miss the point.
The reader is Eileen Stevens, who is also the reader for the Fledgling Arc of the Liaden Universe. I found her reading quite good, with characters easily distinguished while not being overly intrusive. If I had one complaint it is that when the story switches viewpoints and storylines, which it does regularly, Ms. Stevens didn't provide a "whitespace" break between the story lines. Even a 1/2 second gap would have helped clarity. But really, I'm nitpicking. A thoroughly enjoyable story, and highly recommended. If you're new to the Liaden Universe, this story is essentially standalone, but still probably not the best starting point. I'd start with Balance of Trade, Local Custom, Agent of Change, or Fledgling. Really, any would do, but I think personally I'd go for Agent of Change, which was the very first published book in the series, though not the chronologically first. IAC, if you're just starting, you have a treat ahead of you!
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
Space Opera, set on Planet Surebleak. Much MUCH richer as part of the Liaden Series, but comprehensible as a stand alone. One of my favorites in the series, even though the chief protagonists are only about 12 years old. These two kids outwit school-yard bullies and deadly Agents of Change. No magical dramliza to save the day (which gets boring). Instead, Nova's fierce and honorable son Syl Vor (aka "Young Dragon") must duke it out.
He's a fabulous character, a little lonely, at times bored, and striving to overcome his recent nightmare experiences on Runig's Rock, when he was hiding from merciless killers while protecting newborn twins. He's smart, stubbornly tenacious, sweet, and sometimes still adorably child-like.
Is the plot improbable? Yes, but not nearly as fantastical as most books in the series.
Secondary characters from the series include Ren Zel, Anthora, Tree, Pat Rin, Miri, Val Con, Daav, Shan, Padi, and Mr. Shaper, the neighbor. Nova plays a big role, but the others get only bit parts.
We see plenty of Syl Vor, the tween-ager, and his new friend Kezzi, a delightful girl of the romany-like Bedel People. She is training to be a healer and seer. Together, they confound bullies and killer-spies.
The scenes showing how Syl Vor and Kezzi became "friends" are a hoot!
Content: One sex scene involving M/F adults, some violence, death. No profanity.
The narration is decent.
A 50-something who loves sci-fi, cozy mysteries, thrillers, an occasional romance, and any genre if it is a good story. And especially if it makes me laugh! No vampires or zombies though - these are NOT sci-fi!
Another story in the Liaden Universe! Yaaaay! It is well-written, though it seems (except for one scene) that the target audience may be YA. Doesn't bother me at all, just realize that the majority of the story is from the viewpoint of young adolescents. The narrator did an OK job, though I wish the various narrators would use the same pronunciation of Liaden words! Or even the word Liaden! Also, pronouncing 'kompani' as if it were 'company' just didn't make sense to me. All in all, a good addition to the universe.
Rys Lin pen'Chala is left for dead near one of the entrances to the hidden kompani home in the seemingly abandoned district of the port city on Surebleak. Brought inside and nursed back to relative health by the Luthia, Silain, and her apprentice, Kezzi, he has some permanent damage, and is missing much of his memory. But as he recovers, bits come back, and he know he has terrible enemies known as the Dragons.
Syl Vor yos'Galen, Nova's son, is frustrated and bored by the absence of any companions even close to his own age. His older cousins are now off on near-adult duties; his younger cousins aren't yet walking. After some thought and a fortunate encounter, he comes up with the idea of attending the local school--not in place of his tutoring, but in addition to it.
And Kezzi, out with her dog, Malda, gets picked up by Nova's chief hand, Mike Golden, and is also taken to the school.
This story has as its main focus Kezzi and Syl Vor, and the roles they play in building connections among Korval, the Surebleak natives, and the kompani. But the Department of the Interior, while it has taken heavy blows, is not gone, and is as determined as ever to destroy Clan Korval. And that plan involves Rys Lin, who is becoming as closely bound to the family that is the kompani as it is possible to be.
Kezzi and Syl Vor are normal very bright children, and they have the normal problems of bright kids and new kids at school, which they handle in believable ways for kids of their respective backgrounds. The roles they play in the larger troubles are also those of real kids and not Magic Super Kids. Rys' bonding with his new family and struggles with his missing memory and divided mind is moving and well-handled.
As fun and exciting as one expects form a Liaden adventure! Recommended.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audible in exchange for an honest review.
4/5; 4 stars; A-
This is the review of the audio version.
I gave 5 stars to the book format. Why? Well, I have to say the way that Lee and Miller write can sometimes be confusing, especially on audio. They often have long, long chapters with lots of 'scene breaks' throughout. In the audio version of this book, its easy to get lost. As I listened I found myself thinking, more than once, that I was glad I had already read the book. I don't know if the narrator could have done a better job or not. I liked Eileen Stevens narration overall.
I LOVED this story, don't get me wrong. Here is my review of the actual story.
4.5/5; 5 stars; A
The concepts and characters introduced in this book open up a whole new range of intriguing possibilities for future Liaden Universe stories. I thought the idea of the Bedel people living on Surebleak as a separate society was brilliant. What better place to find dramliza than in a group of 'gypsy' type people, imbued with various gifts such as the sight and far seeing. I liked the variety of characters in the Bedel clan.
I thought that Syl Vor yos'Galan stole the show in this book. He was such a great character. (When I recently re-read Crystal Dragon I saw that Syl Vor is a a yos'Galan family name from way back. Tor An yos'Galan thinks about his grandfather Syl Vor living in his bedroom at the clanhome which was ultimately destroyed by the sheriekas) Although the story takes place after the Korval clan has been kicked off Liad, a person could read this book without having read any of the previous books and still feel satisfied. Reading the short story "Hidden Resources" would give a bit of backstory on where the clan's children were situated before they got settled on Surebleak. In the course of Necessity's Child, there is mention of the strain of the situation on Syl Vor and the dark time before which seemed to make him so somber. (Hidden Resources can be found in the chapbook 'Halfing Moon', available from Smashwords and other ebook sellers).
Another character I really liked was Rhys. His virtual re-birth in the Bedel clan was bitter sweet.
This book didn't really move the overall Korval/DOI battle forward, some of that is going on in other books thats run concurrently, but I thought it enriched the picture of the world being created on Surebleak and set the stage for interesting future developments.
I love this series. I really do.
This book rates in the top ten I have listened to.
To share that would be a spoiler because there were several that really stood out!
I laughed for hours.
Followers of the Liaden Universe series will be thrilled to have a new installment, but the performance is a real disappointment. Readers may decide they would rather read the print version.
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