Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Shon'jir (The Faded Sun #2)" by C.J. Cherryh

This review is of a book that is the second in the Faded Sun Trilogy. There may be *ARE* spoilers for those of you who haven't read Kesrith. My review for the first book in the series, Kesrith, is here.

In the first book, the mri were a dying race. In this book, they're pretty much extinct. Although Niun and Melein are of the opposite sex, they're also related and of the wrong castes. Hope is pretty sparse for their survival, but Sten Duncan, their resident savior, is still fighting the good fight. Even though they're doomed.

Even C-3PO concurs

The Regul didn't win, but it's pretty clear the chances the mri will 'win' now are nonexistent. Between being outnumbered, the human governor's taste for an alliance, and Sten's demotion, not much is in the mri's favor. Even their sacred artifact, the silver egg-looking object, is in the hands of the humans. The dusei, however, continue to roam free, although they're no longer getting free meals at the mri compound.

The Plot:
As the last two mri cling to life in the care of humans, Sten Duncan attempts to save them from a life as test subjects. The Regul continue their machinations against him, as they try to convince the humans to rid the world of mri completely. Will Sten be able to free the mri, or will their problems be solved another way?

It isn't often that I don't empathize with a female character, but in Melein's case... it's obvious I don't care for her. Maybe in time, the reason why she alienates everyone and makes crappy decisions will be revealed, but I refuse to believe it's just because she's the she'pan and is intensely 'mri-stubborn'. I think the fact that we rarely get a look at the world through her perspective is only part of the problem, not all of it, but maybe I'm wrong.

Sten Duncan is pretty much the main character in this book. You might get a glimpse or two through Niun's perspective, as well as through the other political bigwigs (both human and Regul), but Sten is your mainstay for this book. Through the course of the book, Sten's loyalties evolve: he doesn't sit back and watch as the Regul try to reestablish their power- he fights it. And as the Regul believe everyone who happens to be younger are disposable, Sten may have an actual fight coming his way.

Shon'jir is clearly a buildup for a grand finale- and although my review doesn't reveal it, a lot happens in this book. The restive Regul (who, coincidentally, remind me of Jabba the Hutt) may have big brains, but I'm hoping the humans will wise up to what's really happening in this book. If you've read Kesrith, I would highly recommend continuing the journey with Shon'jir, as Kesrith's ending may have left you wanting.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a sci-fi sequel that doesn't disappoint!

Content: Ages 16+ for violence, a fight for species survival, and political un-niceties.

Page Count: 253 pages

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