- Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: DAW; 10th Anniversary ed. edition (September 3, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0756400953
- ISBN-13: 978-0756400958
- Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.4 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,110,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jaran (The Jaran, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – September 3, 2002
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
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From Library Journal
Romance and intrigue mark this debut as a young woman threads her way through a maze of interstellar politics with humanity's freedom at stake.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Kate Elliott’s credits include the Nebula finalist novel, King’s Dragon, its sequels, Prince of Dogs, The Burning Stone, Child of Flame, and The Gathering Storm; her groundbreaking DAW science fiction series, The Novels of Jaran—Jaran, An Earthly Crown, His Conquering Sword, and The Law of Becoming; and her magnificent fantasy collaboration with Melanie Rawn and Jennifer Roberson, The Golden Key. She now lives in Hawaii with her husband, three children, and a dog. She can be found at kateelliott.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
The protagonist, Terese Soerensen, accidentally becomes stranded on an off-limits planet under the remote governance of her brother, the only human duke within the Chapalli Empire, which is ruled by humanoid aliens that have forcibly absorbed the human polity. The planet, Rhui, is populated by medieval-era humans who are unaware of their galactic heritage, having been apparently seeded there from Earth by rogue Chapalli centuries ago. Once on the planet, Tess becomes aware that a group of Chapalli are on the surface illegally and are paying a band of nomads to help them discover ancient ruins which may contain useful secrets. To be rescued, Tess needs to reach Jeds, where her brother has a clandestine team of off-world observers, but she also needs to discover why the aliens are wandering around in contravention of treaty. At the same time, she has to take pains to ensure that the indigenous population doesn't realize the she and the Chapalli are not of their world.
Fortunately, the Chapalli are very much caste-driven, and as her brother's heir, she outranks most of them, so she can browbeat them to a certain extent. Thus, when she makes contact with the nomads and finds out they're going to be escorting the aliens across the plains, she's able to force her way into the party, much to the dismay of the nomad leader, Ilyakoria Bakhtiian.
The character of Ilya poses certain problems. Essentially, he's a highly educated and philosophical version of Genghis Khan. He has been uniting the jaran tribes, sometimes by bloodshed, so that he can lead them against the settled peoples. What is never explored is why he should want to do this. Basically, he's going to cause untold deaths, both amongst his own people and the city-dwellers, but no one seems to care too much about that. His motivation is never really explored; the civilized folk aren't unduly harrassing or oppressing the jaran, and indeed, most of them are scarcely aware of their existence. Nor do the settled lands hold anything the jaran want; the nomads are pretty content right where they are, out on the plains. So why everyone goes along with Ilya is a bit of a mystery, and Tess's failure to feel any remorse at all about the bloody war that he will unleash doesn't really speak well for her.
Another flaw is that the "B" story, dealing with events affecting Tess's brother, the Duke Charles, pretty much just lies there inertly and doesn't contribute a whole lot. This particular plot fairly clearly serves to set up events for subsequent books, but is so uninteresting that it could easily have been removed with no harm done. And even Tess's ongoing investigation of the Chapalli traveling with her and Ilya's band is a bit of a snooze. Far too often, her breakthroughs are the result of people strolling up within earshot of her and blabbing out their secrets. Coincidence plays far too large a role in the book.
Nevertheless, the author does a fantastic job with dialogue, particularly the barbed exchanges between Ilya and Tess, who love each other so much from the onset that they actually can't stand each other. Their ongoing duel is skillfully depicted. And the secondary characters, particularly Yuri and Kirill, are vividly drawn.
Make no mistake: this is, at heart, a romance story, although not an insipid and cloying one. If you're looking for galactic intrigue and adventure, this would be a poor choice. But if you want to indulge in a tale on a more human scale, albeit one with some serious flaws, this would be a good choice.
To begin with, it is labeled as a science fiction book, but that is not really the case. It feels like one of those cheap romance books- the kind with a terribly lame plot, no character development, and weird dialogue. Nothing interesting happens- and to be honest, I got really bored.
The book feels forced and unrealistic. Tess is dropped into the middle of an alien planet, in the middle of the wilderness, and none of the natives seem to think it is strange that she is there. They instantly adopt her and she becomes their relative just-like-that. The chief woman gives her a tent and makes her her daughter. She talks the whole time about how she loves Yuri as a brother, and they make all these references about his brotherly love towards her... all this even though they just met, and she is an alien. It just doesn't feel like something that would really happen.
I didn't really care enough about any of the characters to care about what happened to them- and there is some weird gender thing going on. The women are in charge- kind of. The author spends a lot of time talking about the men blushing, and looking away, and biting their lips, and crying. It was kind of like she was trying to go for an Amazon type feel- but not. Like I said before... weird.
Also the character names are horrendous- it took a lot of going back and rereading for me to sort them all out. It feels like the author tried to go with a Chinese-type style (Hon Echido Keinaba, Hao Yakii) and then added in a little Russian (Doroskayev, Mikhailov) and it seemed like she went a little crazy with the i's. I hated it! Plus, they randomly call characters by their last names, or their first names, and it is all very confusing.
The author spends a ton of time (like 8 pages in a row) talking about the men blushing and whimpering, and then 1/2 a paragraph talking about them being ambushed. There is never really an explanation as to why they are being attacked, and the author just kind of briefly mentions it, even though it happens time after time.
Basically... if you want to be really bored, this book is for you.