Pretender by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'll just admit something to ya'll. This is my go-to series when I want to see great characters, great world-building, exciting politics and, of course, ALIENS.
The Atevi are hands down my favorite species of any series or franchise, and it's not because they're human-like black gods of such mathematical prowess as to make who university departments cower in fear, but because they're so *close* to us.
*close* But not THAT close. It's the differences that are a real killer. Just ask the Assassin's, Guild. Or the civil war or that niggling little feeling that a human can *just* about understand them at the core, but that understanding is nearly always *flawed* in such a way as to create world wars.
In this case, Bren, our wonderful interpreter and quickly-rising political nightmare, is caught in the middle of this world's civil war, with Tabini-aji struggling to regain control of the continent and space-footing.
It's full of great action and, dare I say it, TRAIN HIJINX. :) I really love this stuff. :) I have to say this one probably has the most action and political maneuverings out of all the other books, and I can't say it suffers any for it. Otherwise, it's pretty simple. :) And always fun.
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