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The Crystal Variation (2) (Liaden Universe®) Paperback – September 6, 2011
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About the Author
Before settling down to the serene and stable life of a science fiction and fantasy writer, Steve was a traveling poet, rock-band reviewer, reporter, and editor of a string of community newspapers. Sharon, less adventurous, has been an advertising copywriter, copy editor on night-side news at a small city newspaper, reporter, photographer, and book reviewer. Both credit their newspaper experiences with teaching them the finer points of collaboration. Sharon and Steve passionately believe that reading fiction ought to be fun, and that stories are entertainment. They maintain a web presence at korval.com.
- ASIN : 1439134634
- Publisher : Baen; Reprint edition (September 6, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 1200 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781439134634
- ISBN-13 : 978-1439134634
- Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
- Dimensions : 5 x 2.1 x 7.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,827,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This combo is not a bad starting point for the series. There are other points of entry, for example the FREE version of Fledgling downloadable from Amazon or the publisher Baen. If you are interested google Lee and Miller and Liad and you'll find websites dedicated to this series that have suggested reading orders.
As the others have been republished, I've bought them, and the same for the newer Fledgling/Saltation/Ghost Ship series. But until now, I haven't had a chance to revisit Crystal Soldier or Crystal Dragon. And when the new omnibus arrived yesterday, I sat down and started reading. While I liked the books well enough first time through, this time -- having read the others -- there was so much more. If you also read these books out of order, or many years ago, you may similarly find richness and depth and background that makes far more sense today. It was a deeply enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, an evening, and most of the next day. Some day, I hope Lee & Miller come back and write about the early days of Liad.
I've been fortunate enough to have Balance of Trade in a trade edition for a while now, so this is just a bonus copy in the omnibus. It is a fabulous story, and one of my favorites in the Liaden Universe.
My only issue with the omnibus is that I wish they had issued in in hardcover. I'll take good care of it, but that big a book, with that kind of binding is inherently a little fragile. But, the price is tough to beat, and the stories within will probably keep you up just as they did me.
That said, if you are unfamiliar with the Liaden books, "Crystal Variation" is a really good ">Way>In>" book into the Liaden-verse. The first two books, "Crystal Soldier" and "Crystal Dragon" are where it all begins. This is where you meet soldier M. Jela, a man on a desperate mission, ship's pilot Cantra yos'Phelium, in the wrong place at the wrong time, and find out what happens when their paths cross and become completely entangled. Here you learn the origin of Clan Korval and its two main lines the yos'Phelium and yos'Galan, which figure so prominently in the Agent of Change story arc (Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Carpe Diem, Plan B, Local Custom, Scout's Progress, I Dare, and Mouse And Dragon). It is also where you find out what the deal is with that potted tree that Jela insists on lugging around with him in his desperate attempt to prevent the universe from disintegrating.
The third book, "Balance of Trade" is unrelated in plot or characters to the first two and timewise comes between the two "Crystal" books and the "Agent of Change" story arc. It concerns one Jethri Gobelyn and his dealings with one Norn ven'Deelin, and how Jethri's getting swindled by a con artist was the best thing that ever happened to him.
It is tough to review this book without giving spoilers to so many of their other books. It is the story of Cantra (yes, that Cantra) and Jela (of the tree). This is the back story. Where the tree comes from. Who Jela is, and why he is important (and later on why some of things are they way they are). It is a more complicated story than any of their previous work, but not any less enjoyable.
I have never read the Balance of Trade, but that should not detract from the other two stories and from what I hear Balance is a solid story on its own.
The Laiden universe series is compelling reading, hard to put down occasionally interrupting
There is a reccomended reading order list on the Laiden Universe website. A good idea
to follow it but not manditory. Also, I think short stories are better read after the novels since many of them contain the characters we've come to admire and embellish events we've
previously read about
Top reviews from other countries
If you do not know Liaden Universe, it's overwhelmingly personality driven Sci-Fi with delicate world of subtle rules and etiquette, intelligent plot and development, well drawn characters and an engaging caste of supporting personalities. The challenges are real, credible and with just enough detail to grip, but leaves alot to your own imagination: a really good recipe.
A real quality addition to the sci-fi genre, a near rival to McMaster Bujold's Vor, and David Webers Harrington. On a par with Elizabeth Moon's collections, and better than most others. Worthy work, a joy to discover it.