I've read most if not all of the original author's books in the series. The first one, House of Zeor is the best, and the second Unto Zeor Forever, is also pretty good. The major attraction of the series was how different types of people, natural prey and predator, come together to save society after a post apocalyptic society divided the human race into life source generators and life source predators.
The committment/connection the two sides forge to overcome their predator/prey relationship is intimate, though not in a traditionally male/female way, more buddy type. In the first couple of books, the main characters are male and her writing strengths seemed to be in hero/sidekick/buddy relationships. Later the author tried to branch out from thqt. I've never found that Lichtenberg writes very convincing female charactersm as her early ones were largely hysterical "rescue me" types. But conversely, I never found it necessary because the split humans had their own conflicts. The predators had superhuman strength and speed but also tended to be fragile in some aspects. The prey Gens are sturdier, in addition to creating the real life energy, so more self sufficient, but were preyed upon. So both species have strengths/weaknessness irrespective of sex. This series was a way of exploring societal roles outside of sex, via alien characters. That was common in the late 70s, early 80s sci/fi fiction. The interesting part of the series was seeing the two opposite beings overcome obstacles and come together to save society.
The problem with this novel in the series is that sime/gen aspect of rebuilding society together is missing/or depersonalized in this novel, as it came to be in the later novels in the series. But it isn't replaced with anything else compelling. I don't know whether the author got self conscious at the predator/prey relationship being compared to male/female. Or if she just lost the original focus of her series when she had a co writer join it, one that added a very Mary Sue character. Mary Sues typically come into a story doing everything better than the original main characters and just disparage the struggles of the first premise. Maybe it was meant to add a strong female presence that the original author couldn't write. But Mary Sues are so one dimensionally perfect they destroy any work of fiction they are associated with. The series seemed to try to make a shift and in doing so lost its original focus and voice.
This being the first new novel in this series in decades, I had to check it out to see if the original themes and author's voice could be found in it. I wish I could say that it did, but I couldn't find it. The main theme of predator/prey working together to keep civilization going, as well as the personal relationship between the two "sides" as they struggled to overcome their differences was almost entirely missing. This novel echos the trend of the series - it is missing the strong sime/gen connection, and it has nothing replacing it.
The main story deals with the problem a 3rd order channel (Sime predator) -- one who harmlessly channels energy from prey generators Gens) to other predators -- encounters with the fallout a fanfiction board is creating at a training school for channels. The fiction on the board is undermining the antipredator training that makes it possible for Sime and Gen to coexist. The BB aspect of the story has an 80s dated feel to it that is hard to dispel. But that would be inconsequential if there was some emotion to give the reader something to connect with. The channel does have a girlfriend - another channel. But neither one of them seem too involved with eachother, in spite of a couple of sex scenes, apart from their dealing with the problem the fanfiction board is creating. They are prepared to go separate ways after graduating. No earth shattering emotion there. There's very little interaction between the two sides of society - Sime predator and generator - no real coming together across their differences to solve a problem and no real personal relationship between the main character and any "gen" which was after all the whole point of the series.
That leaves the whole novel feeling flat. There's a lot of technical detail about channel's training, that seems to get more unnessarily gory as the series progresses. There some love scenes between the channel and his girl. The BB problem, the main issue of the story, doesn't seem all that serious and doesn't require any great coming together of the two sides of society to solve. The original flawed hero types, the Farrises, have a walk on or two. The Mary Sue types, the Tigues, have a brief mention as well. But the main character of this novel is sort of a third level bureaucrat working toward trying to make second level bureaucrat. There's no real personal relationship between Sime and Gen. There's nothing about the two sides having to work together to solve this problem. Or rather, there's a lot of talking about it, and a gory stint into channels training, but there's no personal interaction, no real reaching across the divide between a main character predator and a main character prey. The story suffers from too much theoretical talking and no doing. Telling us about the gulf and its resolution, not showing it in a personal relationship.
I don't know what happened to this author to make her shut down on her original themes. She was good at the sci fi buddy aspect (hero and sidekick relationships), and flawed heros. And while the theme was formulaic in that regard (right down to the hysterical female love interests that needed rescuing) the details of the Sime Gen society were interesting, and I enjoyed them. And what theme isn't formulaic? George Lucas made a fortune exploiting classic formulaic themes. The original stories were not perfect. But when the author tried to move away from her strengths, perhaps to expand, perhaps for some other reason, the series just lost its intensity and interest. I wish she'd stuck with her original premise and formula.
So while I can recommend the earlier books in the series such as House of Zeor, and Unto Zeor Forever (books one and two) by this author, I can't really recommend this one, as much as I'd like to. Unless you are a die hard Sime/Gen fan and just have to read it, this one had no spark. I was expecting to see some mutual problem solving across the predator/prey lines, and a mutual problem/ personal connection forged in the solving between sime and gen, as that was the original series premise. This had none of that and it just left me flat.