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The Marann: Tales of Tolari Space (Volume 1) Paperback – November 5, 2012
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A brilliant young high school teacher A seemingly cold alien ruler A love that Earth Central Command tried to prevent A story that will appeal to fans of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Zenna Henderson THE MARANN recounts one woman s journey through loneliness shattering revelations and attempted assassination on a world where everyone can read her emotions Marianne Woolsey teaches high school Spanish in rural Iowa when Earth Central Command decides her linguistic talents would be better exercised if she spent 26 years teaching the daughter and heir of an alien ruler on a planet 24 light years from Earth Now she s alone on a planet of aliens so humanlike that she has to keep telling herself her student s noble father is just her boss Handsome and deadly the Sural has ruled his province and led his planet far longer than he can admit to his daughter s human tutor He hides much more from the space faring races of the Trade Alliance than he is willing to reveal What he doesn t want Central Command to know he has to conceal from Marianne but Marianne is concealing her own secrets from him and as an empath he knows it This first novel in the Tales of Tolari Space series explores what can happen when you put an unsuspecting human on a planet full of empaths
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What I liked:
It was an interesting new world that the author built very well.
I liked both the H and the h
The author made me care and learn about the sub characters. It wasn't all about the H and h. I liked the other characters and knew who they were (how many books have 6 new people introduced over 2 pages and you end having no idea who they heck the author is talking about?!?)
The story line was interesting and not predicatble (is there something different about these people and, if so, what?)
What I didn't like (spoiler):
The fact the H was in love with the h the whole time and never spoke up or said anything. That was a little confusing to me. However, I did find it easy to overlook since there was so much world building and character introduction going on.
All in all, a good book that I will be keeping to read again.
I might recommend this book to a friend, with this strong caveat, as one reviewer put it, the child rearing situation on this planet is definitely a "mood killer." It dampened my enjoyment of the story, even though I can understand it from a purely intellectual standpoint. Therein lies the problem--this purely intellectual "mate with the fittest" mentality seems at odds with the empathic nature of these aliens.
I want to read the sequel to this novel. I hope that the author can somehow resolve this issue or at least explain it in a way that I can accept.
Update: April 2013
After thinking about it and thinking about it and then finally reading this story for a second time, the inflexible and unyielding nature of the main male character really bothers me more than it did when I first reviewed the book.
For me, this novel is less of a romance and more of a novel about adjusting to a different culture. Not that I expected this book to be erotic (I go out of my way to avoid explicitly sexual novels) but you don't go "ahhhh, that was so beautiful and romantic" at the end of this novel, you feel slightly disturbed. Still, there is definitely a place for this kind of book if you know what to expect.
The first thing is pretty small, but it still bugs me. The opening makes a point of how Marianne is a daily runner. She's got an "athletic figure" because she runs. It's an important part of her personal history. But after the beginning? It's never, ever mentioned again. No discussion of how she runs or even exercises on Tolar.
Ignoring what was seemingly set up to cause some interesting interactions (where would she be allowed to run? would she be allowed to run alone? if not would she befriend those guarding her? would she meet locals when she ran and how would that go?) really annoyed me even though it didn't actually detract from the story.
[NOTE: some spoilers below here]
The second thing that seemed weird to me because shortly before I read The Marann, I read Meierz's post discussing the women of the Liaden Universe (http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015...).
In that article she discusses how nice it was to read female characters that weren't stuck in the traditional "princess waiting to be rescued" mold. But Marianne seems pretty close to that. Yes, she's "brave" to leave her past behind (both literally and figuratively in the move to Tolar) and she faces most obstacles with courage. But under it all she's an injured female who needs a man to heal her damaged psyche and a transition to another race to heal her damaged body.
I'm not usually offended by this type of traditional storyline (it's a book, I can look past that if it's a good story and the women aren't totally helpless), but it seemed so weird to have this direct contradiction between her post and the plot of her book.
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