Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Best of All Possible Worlds

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
Random House, 2/12/2013
Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9780345534057

The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.
A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.
Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.

My Thoughts:

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord is a science fiction/love story.  In it the Sadiri, a humanoid race, have been the victims of genocide on their home planet. The attack has left many more male survivors than female, so a large group of males has traveled to settle on the planet Cygnus Beta because there is a large population of displaced races and peoples settled there and some of them may be related to the Sadiri. The male Sadiri survivors are telepathic and can determine if a group of people/settlers have a high percentage of Sadiri blood.
An expedition traveling across Cygnus Beta is looking for groups that may be distant genetic relatives of the Sadiri. Grace Delarua, a Cygnian bio-technician and linguist,  along with Dllenahkh, a Sadiri emissary, are part of the group chosen for the expedition. Delarua narrates a majority of the novel in a chatty, first person style while Dllenahkh careful reflections are in the third person. This expedition is basically to seek mates for the surviving Sadiri males so they can preserve as much of their genetic heritage as possible.
The novel consists of chapters that are evocative of a series of short stories because, basically, the group is traveling across the planet exploring, looking at the locals, and getting to know each other, while under a variety of circumstances. As a result of this style, the novel felt choppy and disjointed to me. The main focus of this novel, despite the science fiction label, is following the budding romance between Delarua and Dllenahkh.
I'm going to have to admit that I didn't enjoy The Best of All Possible Worlds. I wanted to, especially when it is described as a science fiction epic. I enjoy science fiction, but romance novels... not so much. The combination didn't work for me and I'm going to chance a guess that it won't for many other science fiction fans. This novel is really more of a romance novel in a science fiction setting, which explains why it is getting many great reviews, but is so-so for me.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was an uncorrected proof courtesy of Random House and Netgalley for review purposes.

No comments: