A second chance for Foreigner…

Inheritor (Foreigner, #3) by C.J. Cherryh — currently reading

I abandoned the audiobook around halfway in 2019, as I was bored. Very bored.

The first book, Foreigner, was also a mixed bag. I really liked the first two sections of that novel. First the arrival in the planetary system, then a fast forward of a few generations to the planetary settlers and first contact with the indigenous population of their chosen planet, the Atevi. I enjoyed the setting in space and the glimpse at societal differences. Down below I had fun reading from the POV of an Atevi. His human counterpart was an interesting character as well. Unfortunately, with the beginning of the main storyline, my enjoyment took a nosedive. I was not fond of Bren, who I called a whiney little shite in my review back in 2017. I gave the book 2 stars, but was fascinated enough to continue. I actually loved Invader (Foreigner #2) so much that I gave it 5 stars.

Long story short, I abandoned this one halfway, but I delved into a few really long books in the meantime (practicing my endurance!) and I really want to like this series, so I decided to give it another try.  

Here is the review for first book (I just plagiarized myself above), as I never posted it here. I am taking it with a grain of salt, as my reading habits have yet again changed in the last five years. The review would probably look different, if I read this now.

Foreigner (Foreigner, #1) 

Review from 2017, spoilers for the general storyline.

I really liked the first two sections of this novel. First the arrival in the planetary system, then a jump of several settler generation to the first contact with the indigenous population of their chosen planet, the Atevi. I enjoyed the setting in space and the glimpse at societal differences between the humans on planet and onboard the ship. Down below I had fun reading from the POV of an Atevi. His human counterpart was an interesting character as well.

Unfortunately, with the beginning of the main storyline, my enjoyment took a nosedive. Another jump to several hundred years later. Humans and Atevi have been at war and resolved it by exiling the humans on an island. 

Bren, our main character, lives among the Atevi as the sole human, a diplomat and interpreter of the sometimes incomprehensible language and cultural concepts of the Atevi. The Atevi don’t know the concepts of friendship or trust. They also don’t comprehend the idea of borders and separate nations. Instead there is loyalty, betrayal, complicated relationships with other factions, sanctioned assassinations and people with delicate sensibilities.

The culture of the Atevi reminded me of feudal Japan and made me want to re-read Shōgun by James Clavell

Could have been fantastic, but isn’t explored as much as I would have liked. Instead we are shown this world through the limited view of Bren, who is a whiny little shite that obsesses endlessly about inconsequential things like getting his mail and being perpetually worried, but never does anything. By the halfway point of the book I was annoyed, bored and skimming. 

On top of Bren being an annoying character, the writing was repetitive and progressed glacially slow. I like my stories plot-driven, endless navel-gazing over the same points and ideas for pages after pages holds little interest for me. Also much of the story happened in the off. Bren spent most of his time sitting around, agonizing over one thing or another. There was very little doing. Except for the last 50 pages or so, when we got a little action.

The other characters were even shallower than Bren. Not much character development. Little humour.

The last 20 pages were not bad, I just wish the rest of the book had been that lively. Mostly it dragged, I was bored. I did not connect to any of the characters, the story was pretty bloodless. 

Nonetheless I am actually interested to find out what happens next. Maybe I will get the next book at some point. Considering that there are about a million sequels after this book, I think it is safe to say that this first book is set-up. One can hope, that there will be more plot development in the next installments…?

And the other reviews:

Invader (Foreigner #2), review from 2019

Inheritor (Foreigner #3), the review of my first aborted attempt at reading this.

And last, but not least, here is what I did yesterday, whilst restarting the audiobook of Inheritor!

It‘s one of the Botanical sets by Lego, called Succulents. It‘s now sitting on my window sill in the living room, next to another flower set… A friend of mine watered my plants in June, while I was away on holiday — she actually watered that one accidentally… 😝

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6 thoughts on “A second chance for Foreigner…

  1. I’ve wanted to read Foreigner series for a long time, but standalones are all I can seem to manage this year. I wish they’d make a show on this, and I could just watch that, haha. The succulents are pretty great. I thought the grapes especially were all real, can’t blame your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Foreigner series is loooong, but seems to have story arcs in sets of three. Thsi is what it says in the book blurb: „The long-running Foreigner series can also be enjoyed by more casual genre readers in sub-trilogy installments. Inheritor is the 3rd Foreigner novel. It is also the 3rd book in the first subtrilogy.“

      Somehow 2022 has morphed into my year of huge books that are parts of long series. 😊

      Like

  2. That’s a cool LEGO set! I love some of the different stuff they’ve been doing lately. I haven’t read the Foreigner series, but want to eventually. It just feels like a big commitment, and I haven’t been in the mood for that kind of read lately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The series seems to come in several subtrilogies. So if I make it though Inheritor, which is a third book, I should be able to get a feel if that actually works.

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