Read as part of
And also for
July 2001, Corgi
384 pages, Paperback
Space travel, very big bugs, some violence, chilling moments, tissues needed, mild romance & inuendo (off-screen), family and friendship, dissonance, a cat, courage, bravery, holograms used for all kinds of purposes,
Summary from Transworld
Although she has made peace with her Linyaari heritage, Acorna knows that only by returning to the frozen stillness of space will she ever truly feel at home. But the solitude she desires must wait.
Answering a faint distress call leads Acorna into a strange, intoxicating perfumed world of intelligent and sentient plants. There she finds a burned-out space ship with all the signs of a Khleevi attack. And suddenly all that Acorna holds dear is in grave peril. Because the devastation that was wrought here was no isolated occurrence, but the opening move in a planned onslaught that will decimate the two races to which Acorna is culturally, emotionally and genetically tied.
Facing the annihilation of both her races, Acorna must discover the Khleevi’s weakness – and strike first.
Before I chat about the book, I must draw your attention to the cover. I love the cover, it fits in with the others and gives a good feel for the kind of girl Acorna is.
Sadly I don't have that cover. Here's mine.
I rarely hate a cover, but I don't like this one at all. In my personal view, it gives entirely the wrong impression of Acorna and the book. The clothes (in my view) are too tight and inappropriate. If I didn't know the story, I would have put the book back on the shelf because of the cover. I don't know why there are two different styles, but I'm glad there are. Hopefully most people will have read the first few books and enjoyed them, so won't be put off like I was (not everyone will be, but a few might).
Back to the book which is amazing :) It's a little strange that on re-reading the series I understand it and love it more than when I was first introduced to Acorna. It's been over 10 years since I read them, and that's a long time, long enough for my perspectives on many things to change. As I read it I knew what the major events were as they crept up, but I'd forgotten all the smaller details. I realise that is probably to be expected, but I don't recall caring so much about everyone. The last time I read it I wasn't keen on Aari (so bad!). I thought he ought to get a grip, and possibly that Acorna was wasting her time. I didn't like Uncle Hafiz that much, thought he was rather selfish and narrowminded (traits in my former self!). Now I see that he always keeps business in the back of his mind, but he dotes on Acorna and does want the best for her which includes her people, and also the children she protects. He admits he isn't keen on children, and at one point in the story he is on board a ship with a lot of children. Due to misadventure he has to find ways to keep them entertained and he does a remarkably good job. He puts all his skills into practice and creates something highly entertaining. Don't make the mistake that I did and think that he isn't good at self-defence. He found a way to use the entertainment as a means of defense.
Defending people isn't left solely to Hafiz. The Linyaari themselves have to face up to facts that if they don't want to be destroyed, they have got to take action. However the best thing about being allies with humans is that someone else can take over the more violent parts :)
The violence is much needed, because the Khleevi are back. The details about them made my stomach churn. They truly are a parasitic race who are evil to the core. They wreck everything. Although the Linyaari would like to believe there is good in everything (well, a few might), there isn't.
Acorna's relationships with previous characters are a pleasure to watch. I love it when she gets reunited with and concerned about her human uncles. The children that she rescued are back - they play a part in this story. I found it really funny because Khetala, who was taken into prostitution before Acorna saved her, tried to convince some holograms that how they dressed/what they were meant to do wasn't appropriate or the only course of action. She's so passionate she tries to tell everyone, regardless of whether they are real, the better option in life.
Acorna's people are definitely more accepting of her now. There is one who isn't, but she causes trouble and eventually get their due at the end. Unfortunately there is tragedy in this one, and I was crying away. I found myself tearing up for Aari as he had to remember more of his torture with the Khleevi. His and Acorna's friends care about them both, and give them a little push so that they can be together before it's too late.
The Linyaari are still fighting the Khleevi but the war is coming to a head. As much as her uncles - and her Linyaari family - would love her to be safe and away from the conflict, they know and accept that Acorna's place is in the heart of the action.
Find out more about Anne McCaffrey on her website