Stephanie Harrington had always expected to be a forest ranger on her homeworld of Meyerdahl until her parents relocated to the frontier planet of Sphinx in the far distant Star Kingdom of Manticore. It should have been the perfect new home - a virgin wilderness full of new species of every sort, just waiting to be discovered. But Sphinx is a far more dangerous place than ultra-civilized Meyerdahl, and Stephanie's explorations come to a sudden halt when her parents lay down the law: no trips into the bush without adult supervision!
Yet Stephanie is a young woman determined to make discoveries, and the biggest one of all awaits her: an intelligent alien species. The forest-dwelling treecats are small, cute, smart, and have a pronounced taste for celery. And they are also very, very deadly when they or their friends are threatened - as Stephanie discovers when she comes face-to-face with Sphinx's most lethal predator after a hang-gliding accident.
But her discoveries are only beginning, for the treecats are also telepathic and able to bond with certain humans, and Stephanie's find - and her first-of-its kind bond with the treecat Climbs Quickly - land both of them in a fresh torrent of danger. Galactic-sized wealth is at stake, and Stephanie and the treecats are squarely in the path of highly placed enemies determined to make sure the planet Sphinx remains entirely in human hands, even if that means the extermination of another thinking species.
Unfortunately for those enemies, the treecats have saved Stephanie Harrington's life. She owes them - and Stephanie is a young woman who stands by her friends. Which means things are about to get very interesting on Sphinx.
©2011 Words of Weber, Inc. (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
This story was great. It was fun and fast paced enough to keep my attention. Weber created characters that are about as realistic as possible given the sci-fi universe in which they dwell. They are internally consistent, well developed, and multidimensional. No flawless goody-two-shoes in the Star Kingdom … and that includes the tree cats! Having already read the Honor Harrington books I have wanted to know more about these endearing creatures. A Beautiful Friendship does a great job explaining the beginnings of the human/tree cat relationship.
It is possible that someone reading this before any of the Honor series might have some difficulty understanding this universe, but I doubt it. I am glad I read the Honor books first, but I suspect starting with this book would be just as satisfying.
All in all, this is a very entertaining book. The narrator was very good. She gave different voices to the characters without the accents being too intrusive. I really liked the way she portrayed the tree cats. I think there might have been a risk of the cats seeming like childish “animals.” However, she managed to avoid that and depict them as very small adults.
I can't wait for the next book in this series.
This is a very good book. Unlike the Safehold series there is almost no action, however even an action fan liek me enjoyed this book. The character development is astounding, even in the treecat's view. My only issue is that it is relatively shorter than the Safehold series, but I would still put it very high on my top 10 list. The choice for a narrator is also great, she was also able to pull of the male voices with enough definition that if the next spoken line was also a guy you could tell it was different person. I believe this series will be very close to Safehold in my favorite series list, and that alone is complement enough.
An excellent book to read in an afternoon. I'd highly recommend it. I've always enjoyed Weber's novels and he hasn't disappointed me this time. The reader is fabulous. My only complaint is when is the next in this series coming out. A definite read!
I love strong female characters, and I've been in and out of the Honor Harrington books for ages. They are good, but I've always been left a bit ho-hum.
Something drew me towards this one, as I've always been interested in the back story of the tree-cats joining with the humans outlined in honor harrington, but without exposition.
This tale is as powerful and as emotive as, "The Host," by Stephenie Merry. Another story that shook me to my roots.
The beauty of the relationship between the tree-cat and the two leg, balanced against the risks of surviving on such a dangerous fantasy science-fiction world is a thrilling, wonderful ride. I listen a lot when I'm walking for exercise, one day I was so engrossed I did two extra (1 mile) laps:)
Khristine Hvam doesn't get in the way of the narrative, and just tells the story. As a result, the listener is focused on the drama, not the voice. In my book, that's a perfect reading. Nice Job.
I really love this book, I cannot wait till book two is released in late 2012.
I originally purchased a hard back copy of this for my 11 year old daughter...knowing her taste in writers I knew it would be a good fit...I purchased it on audio so once she was done reading it she could listen to it--she enjoys re playing books-- I usually pre read or read books along with her so I know what she is reading and we talk about characters--I was not prepared to enjoy this book on the scale that I do...about 1/2 way thru I began resarching the author and currently have 2 of his Honor series in my wish list--now I am eagerly awaiting credit time! Highly recommended for kids and mom's too (thinking dad's might like it as well)
I think it only fair to share the one negative--there are some awkward pauses in the recording (editing I believe) that are long enough that I checked to make sure I had not drained my battery...it is not terrible by any means...that is why the performance received only 4 stars..
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.
If you are not familiar with David Weber's work or Honnervers, this is a great place to start. I have to warn you, once your hooked you will be hook by the great writing and the wonderful plot lines of Honnervers and the story lines.
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.
If you liked the Honnor Harrington series, you will love this new series. The stars have different names but this is Honor as a teenager when she first met the tree cats. Many of the names are different, but the crossover's are along the same story line. For example: she calls her cat "Stinker". If you haven't herd the Honnor Harrington series I believe most will still enjoy this very much as it is a stand alone series. I am looking forward to and am sure I will purchase the rest of the series as they come out.
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