Read as part of
And also counting as part of
July 2000, Corgi
384 pages, Paperback
Fantasy (and a bit of Science fiction)
Occasions of moderate violence, torture, families lost and found, rudeness, misunderstanding between cultures, old characters, androids, a cat with attitude, telepathy, personal discovery,
Summary from Transworld
Acorna’s quest has paid off. With the help of her ‘uncles’ and the thousands of humans who love and admire her, she has found her true people at last. And they have found her – Khornya, daughter of the illustrious Feriila and the valiant Vaanye, who was given up for lost after the insect-like Khleevi destroyed their home planet. Abandoned in space as a baby, rescued and raised by gruff human asteroid miners, Acorna is at last among her own. The beautiful healing horn in the center of her forehead and the funny feet and hands that once set her apart now make her one with the telepathic Linyaari, who live on a lush agrarian planet where they pursue their peaceful dreams. Acorna’s people welcome her with a lavish costume ball – and an already-chosen mate! But Acorna still has much to do before she can enjoy the home she is offered. The legendary resting place of the lost Linyaari ancestors has yet to be found. With the help of the rogue spacetrader Becker and his cat, RK (RoadKill), Acorna must strive to right an unspeakable wrong and defeat an enemy even more cruel than the Khleevi themselves. In the search, Acorna and her new friends rescue another survivor, also given up for lost. Most importantly though, Acorna at last uncovers the Universe’s most carefully guarded secret – the true nature of the ancient link between the hoofed, telepathic Linyaari and the space-faring humans she has come to think of as her people as well.
Now Acorna has been found, its time for her to get to know her own people. She thought they would welcome her, that birds were be singing all day long and bees would be humming....okay so that part I made up. But she was, perhaps understandably, a little naive to think her people were more even tempered than humans. They may not yell at each other when they are angry, but there are ways to socially exclude someone.
Poor Acorna is separated from her family, who are sent off on a mission. Unfortunately those she is left with mistakenly believe that the trouble that is happening is her fault. Thankfully there are a few kind hearted Linyaari, who make life more bearable for Acorna. She looks like her own people, but she doesn't understand the more subtle customs, because she never grew up there. And, as she often mourns, there isn't a school where she can learn call the customs. She learns it from a grandmother who dotes on her, and a younger Linyaari which provided a refreshing review of events because Maati is a child.
I think what I like most about this book, is that as well as looking at the lives of all her previous friends and enemies (Kisla is a pscyho) as well as new ones, it is a fine example of modern day society. Like Aari, people can look different through no fault of their own. Some people are prejudiced and would have nothing to do with him. Others react shocked, but manage to regain their composure enough to treat him and be kind to him. Even if sights/events shock us, we should be steadfast and provide a comfort to people, rather than look horrified at them. I'm glad Acorna was so kind to Aari, and it helped that he'd actually been living with a human who puts points across in a blunt way that everyone can understand. It shows that people of different natures are needed to make a world work.
I was crying over some of the book, especially with the death song. Knowing the characters so well, I could feel their grief and terror as they find out who has died, and suffer inhumane torture. For me the torture fits in with the purpose that I'm reviewing this book for. The torture is an example of extreme behaviour that still happens in the world today. People are exploited all the time. Some are exploited physically, in ways that the girls used to be before Acorna saved them. Others have their skills used and abused, with very little rest, poor quality food and not enough medical care.
We may not have horns to heal people, but we can listen to them, provide hugs when appropriate and support people through difficult times in life. We don't have to go through the same things to understand what happened, or empathise with it.
I enjoyed Hafiz because he is very creative when he's in a tight corner. In some ways I wish that there was more of Calum, Gill and Rafik, but I liked exploring the lives of their companions, and learning so much more about Acorna's background. I hope they will feature in the next few books.
I particularly loved this cover :)
It's wonderful watching Acorna learn more about her own people, that although they are peaceful they can still annoy each other and be rude. She learns a lot by being with them, and it's a joy when she realises where her home is.
Please be sure to check out Anne McCaffrey's website.