Saturday, May 2, 2015

Review::Beyond Varallan by S.L. Viehl

Beyond Varallan (Stardoc, #2)Beyond Varallan by S.L. Viehl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beyond Varallan(A Stardoc Novel)by S.L. Viehl

This is the second in a series of at least ten books; so far I've gotten to 4 and they have several things in common. One is that they are very close to the same size which is somewhere around 150K words and that's somewhat more than the normal for this type of novel but not too far out of the ball park. Another is that unfortunately the main character does not seem to me to change very much, though lots of things happen to her that should push her in new directions. Also her romances, possibly because of the nature of her existence, are rather strange and as I've said before they seem schizoid in nature.

In the first novel Cherijo escaped her father and Earth, a place that is deliberately prejudiced against aliens: and seems quite xenophobic. She escapes to a planet where the understanding of many aliens is that humans have a distasteful habit: they spit. This made it hard for her to integrate; and it became worse when she bonded with a Jorenian, a race who mate for life; and she became part of her partners clan before her partner died. From there it is evident that these stories become an ongoing struggle of manners and customs between her and the aliens she has to live with and operate upon.

Still on the run from her father while in a Jorenian ship Cherijo finds herself frustrated while trying to find a way to stop all the rapid changes happening around her and possibly because of her. Her father has used his influence to send the League after her, while the Jorenians have removed themselves from the League; and while all this occurs the Hsktskt and League have gone to war with each other and the Jorenians are trying to remain neutral while at the same time being pursued by the League and Cherijo’s father.

This book is a book about the strange love and ultimate betrayal of Cherijo by many that she trusts, while she consistently uses her medical skills to try to keep both friend and enemy alive. I really enjoy the development of many of the cultures and beliefs of the aliens and in many cases the diverse strangeness of many of those. But so often there are aliens that come very close to Human, because of the cross species romance, and that reads a bit like Star Trek.

Throughout the story there is that oddness with Cherijo in her relationships that almost seems inexplicable. Thankfully as the story moves on we get information from her former Nanny, possible stepmother, through some sort of implanted information that begins to unfold, for the reader, the story of how Cherijo was made and possibly why, which all figure into the way she acts: I think.

By now as a reader you either come to appreciate Cherijo and her ongoing story or you might be disappointed since this one ends a bit close to being a cliffhanger.

I'm pretty much into it for the long run as I get to know this quirky character that calls herself Cherijo.

Good solid SFF that has a rather static main character but more than surprising supporting characters that she tries to keep alive despite the fact that many deserve death.

J.L. Dobias

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