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the narrator did a good job with the names and manuvering dialect. I found the story very hard to relate to the main character. I found him whiney and over accommodating. I'm not sure I want to continue the series. I understand the concept of being at the mercy of others, but...I don't like the human.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I have been considering the Foreigner series for awhile and since Audible has recently added some more titles to the series I decided to take the plunge. I've hesitated because several reviewers have commented on the slow pace of the first book, Foreigner: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 1, and I tend to get frustrated with slow books. However, several reviewers have said that the series picks up after Book 1 so I decided to try at least two books in this series. I have now finished Foreigner and Invader (Book2) and I've made my decision. I won't be spending any more credits on this series, but it isn't the pacing that is putting me off, it's the main character that I just cannot stomach any longer.
The setup and backdrop for the Foreigner Universe is absolutely wonderful. A colonial starship goes off course and a group of colonists is forced to set up shop on a planet in an unknown star system already inhabited by a sentient species. C J Cherryh is terrific at painting an anthropological sci-fi study of a foreign people with their own culture, politics, biology, and language. Unfortunately, she makes us look at this interesting scenario and fascinating "others" through the eyes of one of the most emotionally volatile, naive (immature?), bumbling characters I've ever read. It's not that you won't like Bren Cameron. He's hard not to like because the guy is decent and trying so hard, but he's supposed to be the best ambassador (paidhi) to the atevi that the human settlement has to offer and he is completely CLUELESS. (Poor humans with their fate in this inept ambassador's hands!)
Foreigner and Invader are both told from a Third Person Limited Point of View and the POV is Bren who spends ALL of both of the first two books in varying emotional states of terror, panic, hysteria, confusion, and depression. In addition, Bren suffers both poisoning and severe bodily injury so he's in pain, both emotional and physical, throughout both books and we, the listeners, are stuck seeing all the action through this guy who cannot ever get it together. To make matters much worse, Bren over-analyzes his own feelings and actions and everyone else's to the point that you just want to smack him. Ultimately, he is so caught up in his shorts he is about as effective in dealing with the atevi and his own human government as Neville Chamberlain was in dealing with Hitler.
Foreigner is not bad, it's just not as great as it might be. Cherryh's prose is quite good, I loved the characters other than her POV Bren, and she tackles some interesting questions about culture and society. But she can beat a dead horse like no one's business (where are the editors????) and she has created a diplomat that thinks like a 15-year old. Sorry, that's not fair to teenagers, but Bren truly does not think like a man with a fully developed PreFrontal Cortex. He is constantly second-guessing himself and agonizing over facial expressions and apologizing for EVERYTHING. As interesting as Cherryh's world and the atevi are, I just can't watch any more of it through Bren Cameron's eyes.
I will give some major credit to Daniel Thomas May as the narrator - he is a consummate professional! Even when Bren is cycling through endless reiterations of second guessing himself, even when Cherryh is describing irrelevant details of a room to the nth degree, even when Bren is having one of his boring, confusing, bizarre dreams (yes, this device is used repeatedly and I hated those parts), May maintains a strong narrative voice that greatly enhances these books and makes some of the tedious parts more bearable.
88 of 100 people found this review helpful
One of the strangest books I have heard or read after James Joyce's Ulysses. I feel myself very brave that I managed this to the end. I got constantly tangled with the names, they were much too similar. Phew!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I wanted to like this story, I really did. It's a first contact story exploring an accidental human colony on an alien planet, mixed with a kind of Woman in Black stately English home/hunting lodge scenario.
Unfortunately, I read a review where someone complained that C.J. Cherryh tells you everything over, and over again - this is not an exaggeration. There is an incident early on with a gun under a mattress. Is there a gun under the mattress? There's a gun under a mattress. Will anyone find the gun under the mattress? Remember the gun under the mattress? There was a gun under the mattress. The mattress, with a gun under it.
Even as a sci-fi/fantasy lover, I find too many far-out made-up names tedious. Foreigner is an unending tedium of made up names and titles. It's just an endless stream of monotonous characters... Munchichi, Bunnichie, Paidie, Mydie, Schmidie, Punchichi - Ok, I am being unkind here and making some names up for dramatic review purposes.
The reader seems to be from the William Shatner school of voice acting. With. Pauses. Punctuating in between. Sentences.
Nope, sorry, didn't like this one!