Sunday, October 30, 2016

REVIEW: Inheritor (book) by C.J. Cherryh

Inheritor is science fiction, the third book in C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series.

Review:

I waited too long to review this, and now my memories are a bit fuzzy, but I'll do the best I can.

In Inheritor, Bren is once again trying to make do with incomplete information. The book takes place 6 months after the previous one. Bren has been separated from Jase for a bit, and that separation makes their already strained relationship worse. Jase doesn't seem to be handling the culture shock of living among the atevi, living on a planet, and speaking mostly Ragi very well. Bren has his own frustrations and worries – after the events of the previous book, he doesn't dare go back to Mospheira for fear that he'll be arrested or otherwise prevented from leaving. Mospheira's conservative element has become more powerful, and the rift between Bren and his family (and all other humans) continues to grow.

I know that a lot more happened but, again, it's been a while and I'm fuzzy on the details. What it comes down to is that, although I didn't dislike this book, I didn't love it either. This was a bit disappointing, since I'd enjoyed the previous book so much.

I enjoyed getting to see Banichi, Jago, and Ilisidi again, and there were several nice moments that made me smile or laugh. I liked the glimpses of Jase's difficulties adjusting to his new position – not just the work involved in trying to learn a new language, culture, and social expectations, but also adjusting to living on a planet rather than on a station.

That said, I was frustrated with several things. One of them was kind of my fault: I started reading this book too soon after finishing the previous one. I thought it'd be like Invader and start right where the previous book left off. Instead it was 6 months later, and readers were treated to lots and lots of recapping that I didn't particularly want or need.

I was also frustrated with Bren, who expected more from Jase than I thought was fair. In Bren's mind, Jase wasn't just the ship paidhi-in-training, he was also a potential friend (yes, Bren's quest for friendship continues). However, Jase wasn't as open and friendly in person as he'd been in their communications in the previous book, and Bren was disappointed. That disappointment kind of irked me, because Jase didn't owe him friendship. I know, I know, emotions just are, but it was like in Foreigner, when Bren was desperately trying to explain to Banichi how he felt about him and the conversation kept going wrong. This wasn't just one conversation, however, but rather several hundred pages of Bren trying and failing to connect with Jase.

A revelation late in the book added an element to the story that would probably make this a better reread than first read, at least for me, so I'm looking forward to eventually listening to the audiobook version I bought. That one bit of information put a new spin on so many moments and scenes. I loved that, but I also disliked that it took so long for that information to be given. It made the book feel like a very long setup for the next story arc, rather than something meant to be enjoyed on its own.

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