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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Best of All Possible Worlds

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
Publisher: Del Rey
Publishing Date: February 2013
Length: 352 pages
Editions: Hardcover, Kindle
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis: A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all. –


3 out of 5 stars

Man. I have no idea how I feel about this book. I really did not connect with the book or the characters that much. Usually when I read a book, well the ones I enjoy immensely, I’m in what I term “reader zone.” In the RZ, I tend to ignore everything around me and just immerse myself with the characters and the world. I could not do that with this one.

Did you see the recent Star Trek movie with Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, etc? Dllenahkh is the older, time-traveling Spock. The planet has just been gassed to death and Spock has to help re-build his species. The Sadiri are largely unemotional (well, incredibly restrained anyway) and only Grace Delarua seems to notice when there’s expression in their restraint – slight tightening of lips, a flash in the eyes, etc.
As we travel with the group from Sadiri settlement to settlement as they’re looking for remnants of their culture, we run into a lot of references that just seem out of place for such a futuristic novel. Indiana Jones (“classic holovid”), mindmelds (star trek), The Seelie Court (I think the words out of my mouth at this time was, “Okay, sure why not”), etc. It’s a mishmash of popular (2013, OUR popular) culture that seems a bit disjointed and smooshed together, from the romanticized Asian idea of flying through tree tops and running over water and monk temples to mindships that are alive (Oh, hello Moira from Farscape!) to a different view of earth. There’s God, that all FOUR main alien cultures believe in, but there’s also the Caretakers.

I don’t know. Of course our own cultures would bleed into any sci-fi book, but I think it does just bit too strongly in this one and therefore derails the idea that we’re somewhere in a future (driving cars AND hovercrafts, mindships but riding elephants that you can speak to telepathically), sci fi, alien world that both is and is not Earth. This book just didn’t do it for me other than the blossoming romance between Dllenahkh and Grace. I enjoyed watching the little glimpses of them beginning to bend towards one another.

If you like very subtle and sweet romance with touches of sci fi, this book is for you.