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Daughters of Suralia (Tales of Tolari Space) Paperback – May 2, 2013
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The only reason this isn't a full-fledged 5 stars is because I think the resolution to a major conflict lingering throughout the book was anti-climactic. The story has a good ending but I expected more to occur before that conflict was resolved. Despite that, I highly recommend this book. It may be sci-fi, but like any good sci-fi, the characters' world and lives feel real. It even went a step beyond that to make me consider cultural ideals without being too heavy-handed about it. Again, Christie didn't go with the status quo of late, dystopian future, opting for something more Star Trek: TNG-esque. I think if I had the opportunity to visit Tolar I'd be hard-pressed to leave.
The sci-fi in Daughters of Suralia is not the kind of hard science fiction where the tech dominates all else. Instead, Meierz has woven a deep exploration of cultural difference into the storyline. You won't find pages and pages of boring exposition. What you will find is a cleverly crafted story that /shows/ you these differences through the eyes of likable characters, characters you can empathize with. Do not be surprised if, by the end of the book, you end up empathizing more with the Tolari than the humans!
This cultural exploration is what we fans call 'soft' or 'social' sci-fi, and I much prefer it to battles with lasguns and space craft.
I should add however, that the relationships between the characters - both romantic and otherwise - were not neglected either. Daughters of Suralia is a true hybrid that fuses both romance and science fiction into a very enjoyable whole.
My one small criticism is that I would have liked to see more of the political shenanigans going on in Earth Central Command. But maybe that wish will be granted in the next book. I'm already looking forward to it.
For starters, a large part of this book was building the relationship of the H and h in book 1. Although there are not 1, but 2, side love stories, I felt this book still focused on the same H and h from "The Marann". Some people may think that's totally cool to just expound the world and relationship started in the last book. If so, then this book is definitely for you. You see more world building, learn new things about the planet and different cultures. I'm sorry to say, it's me. I just wanted to be introduced to a different culture on the planet with it being centered around a different main character . .and that's not what happened.
I loved that Marianne was made fully functional. Her reaction to her pregnancy was in line with her childhood trauma. I loved that Laura came to visit and I loved that she found a new life. I am hoping for more books set in this world. I am assuming that the villain will not quit trying to discover Suralia's secrets.