Read as part of
May 2003, Corgi
352 page, Paperback
Linyaari, healing, strange disappearances, time travel/alternate worlds, shapeshifters, beings with evil intent, loss, grief, terror, prophecies, listening to elders, a not entirely happy ending, tissues needed
Summary from Transworld
Acorna’s people, the Linyaari, are once more without a home. Though they survived the brutal attack from the cold-blooded Khleevi, the battle left their planet, narhii-Vhiliinyar, horribly scarred. Banding together, the Linyaari decide to rebuild both narhii-Vhiliinyar and their original homeworld, Vhiliinyar. But just as work begins to get under way Linyaari begin mysteriously disappearing – including Acorna’s lifemate, Aari.
Searching for Aari, Acorna makes an astonishing discovery: the remains of the subterranean world of the legendary Friends – a technologically advanced society that populated Vhiliinyar before the time of the Ancestors. What happened to the Friends? Where did they go and why has so little remained of their society? Acorna knows that to save Aari and the rest of the missing Linyaari she must begin to seek the answers – a quest that will once again take her deep into the realms of space to find the origins of her people…
Notice my cover - I have the pretty version! I saw the other version and yuck, I do not like it.
On with the story! I had read this one before...but I distinctly remember this is why I gave up reading it. I was distraught by the ending. I thought it was unfair, and how could the authors do that to Acorna? Now I totally understand why they chose that ending, and it provides an excellent premise for the next book, and will probably involve a lot of character development for all of those involved.
People disappearing off a planet for no reason is strange. I remember the first time I read it (and admittedly this time because I couldn't remember the details), I wondered what was going on. The truth of the matter is a little horrific. Acorna and the others get to meet with people from their distant past. They aren't as sweet and gentle as the Linyaari have been led to believe. There are a few issues which are only touched upon, but when you think about it they are horrific, and although this washed over me when I read it as a teenager, I can see why this is an adult book (although younger people could read it and not pick up on everything). It involves genetic engineering, torture for the sake of science and captivity.
Much of this story evolved around Acorna, rather than being based mostly on Aari. I enjoyed this because Acorna has to tuck away her emotions so she can be a useful member of the search party for her friends. Uncle Hafiz becomes more compassionate and less sly in his business dealings (he still worries about profit but he's grown soft over the years). There's little mention of Acorna's uncles, RK and Becker have quite a prominent role. As do the ancestors. They are really entertaining, and it's funny how much they hide from most of their species.
After everyone was upset at having to lose so much of their wildlife when the Khleevi invaded the Linyaari home world, the ending of this story is delightful. I was smiling and felt happy inside for what the discoveries meant for the Linyaari.
There is no shying away from the fact this is a sad book. It's good because it shows how well Aari has healed over time from his Khleevi torture. I'm looking forward to reading the next one because I'm sure he will be reunited with Acorna again (they have to be because there are 3 stories about her children).
Acorna's life continues to be full of adventure - this time there is a lot of sadness and heartache, but I still love her and all her friends just as much.
Check out more information about this and other books by Anne McCaffrey on her website.