Chanur's Venture by C.J. Cherryh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is my second read and I was hoping I'd enjoy it more this time. Unfortunately, no. It's not bad, but it lacks the sophistication and humor and therefore the bulk of the fun of her later works. It may be cool to see how much she improves over the years, or just treat this as a lesser novel with an alien-rich area of space. Above all, it's a merchantman kind of novel. Trade, cultural weirdness, and much enmity with certain species always getting in the way.
Of course, humans are the odd ones out.
And they're back! Or one is, and he's come bearing trade treaty! Enter greed, guilt, and more chase. :)
I think Cherryh is being a bit sly with the text, rewarding careful readers and turning everyone else (myself included) into chumps, however. She's not reinforcing big events with repetition, just slipping them in. :) It's great for her later series because she's got that skill down pat, but here? It tends to confuse or just reward later re-readers. Some re-readers. Me? I kinda wish I like the feel of this series more, but I don't.
I have started enjoying the deeper cultural aspects and oddities of all the aliens, however. The world-building is fun even if you can't hang a whole hat on it.
All in all, though, it reads with much action and adventure, which is kinda funny for aliens wrangling to get off space stations with their cargo intact and setting up back-door deals and alliances. But it's still fun for all that. :)
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