The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have complete respect for Cherryh. I've been reading her for almost thirty years and I've made it through most of her novels, but as with most writers and their works, there are a few you can immediately connect with and a few you can't.
Don't get me wrong, I think this novel is pretty solid when I think about it in isolation with the rest of Cherryh's work, but I don't think I'd ever call it a classic. It definitely has some really cool elements, however, which is somewhat marred by my enjoyment of her other works (like the Foreigner series)... namely, the first contact and the focus on language, translation, and cultural misunderstandings. Add that to the fact we're reading this entire novel from a lion-like humanoid, it seems like it could be a winner, right?
Well, yeah, I suppose it could be... assuming Cherryh hadn't completely outdone herself with Foreigner. :)
Or the fact that there were a few weak aspects of the Hani worldbuilding, or Captain Pyanfar herself and her choices...
Or the fact I never really got into any of the other characters... Tully the human, included.
Even so, there's lots of space action and more alien action. What starts out as a benevolent turn then becomes a huge political disaster for the Hani. It just gets worse when the ramifications threaten to topple the peace between all the aliens in this far-flung corner of space. All in all, I think it is deep-down impressive as a novel of ideas, exploration, and events. It should be mentioned that it connects with the rest of Cherryh's expanded universe, as well.
I just wish I had connected more with the characters!
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