Sunday, November 12, 2017

Peacemaker (Foreigner, #15)Peacemaker by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. It's almost impossible to describe what these books to do me, but I'll try. For anyone who's been a fan of this long series, you've got to be in love with exploring an alien society and love, equally, how difficult it is for humans to understand, navigate, and pull through in a world dominated by a species that thinks differently on a fundamental level to us.

The grand sweep of 15 books has built, layer upon layer upon layer, to our own deep understanding, and between the absolutely fascinating politics and the hope for peace finally becoming a real possibility and not just a house of cards, I'm stunned by the weight of the collective story.

Epic? Enormous? It can't even begin to describe how we've gone from an alien society locking off a castaway humanity on a small island in their homeworld, a humanity that, after misunderstandings built up, caused a war that they lost, is now required to hand over technology at a rate deemed *non-destructive* to the natives. A single translator/diplomat on the human side oversees this. The latest was Bren.

Fast-forward through 15 books, many political upheavals, hundreds of hidden dangers and pitfalls, broken communications and promises on both sides of the species, and throw in the returned human starship after generations of living among aliens, and another alien threat out among those stars. The Atevi are thrust into high-technology, getting the capability for orbital insertion before cell-phones or cars on the road, and see just how the traditionalists hate humans.

And here... on the eve of real peace in book 15, I'm sitting in stunned wonder at the long, exciting path that all of this has taken. I never imagined that translation, diplomacy, alien politics and psychology, and even just the oddities of tightly-controlled technology, can turn into something so... grand! Truly. The worldbuilding is one of the most awesome I've ever read, and I'm certain I would have gotten tired of it long before if it hadn't been for how much I'm invested-in and love the main characters. Bren primarily.

I know you guys can't see this, but I'm forced to wipe a tear from my eye. It's kinda overwhelming. I can honestly say that I've never read anything that has been able to quite pull this off... not just the fact of it, but the quality as well. :)

Am I a bit gonzo about this? Perhaps. I have a lot of investment in the series and I've seen it pay off in spades, so I consider this a partnership of sorts. A very happy partnership. I can't simply let the tales fly through my mind like normal popcorn fiction, easily forgotten even if I had a great time during the fluff. This kind of series has very, very deep roots. I'm intellectually invested in ways I can't even begin to describe with efficacy.

Do I recommend the whole series? Hell yeah. Double Hell Yeah.

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