Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Book review: Beholder's Eye

I finished "Beholder's Eye" by Julie E Czerneda a week or so back.

I don't quite feel right reviewing this book. I don't know if it's all the oak pollen in the air or the book itself, but I just haven't felt like reading anything too heavy lately. This book just wasn't holding my attention. But then, a few other books I've picked up lately haven't either. Comic books and cartoon books, sure. That's light and easy and not at all taxing.

So, yes, this book. Sci-fi, of course. The central character is the youngest of a species that lives for thousands of years. It's only 300 years old or so. This species exists in an energy state and can share mass and memories. They take a physical form and go to a planet to learn about them. Once they completely understand a being they can take its form. They do this so that the culture and knowledge of a people can last long past when a culture self destructs or is destroyed.

This central character is off on her first mission. She's supposed to watch the people of a rather primitive people for 10 years. She's taken on a form similar to a dog to do this. It's actually an intelligent species that looks doglike except for fingers instead of pads on the paws. She finds out about some invaders and tags along with some military personnel going to deal with it. The invader turns out to be a first contact team from a large federation of planets. In fact, it's the third first contact team. The first two were never heard from again.

Things happen, and the central character manages to save the crew of the ship and get a ride off planet. She gets home and is in big trouble for letting her true identity get discovered.

She's sent back out with a new mission known only to her and the eldest of her people. A creature from a distant galaxy has arrived and is killing and destroying intelligent life. Her job is to gather information and return. Naturally, the mission parameters shift a bit.

The people of the federation have some idea what she is and assume that she's the threat destroying colonies and outposts along the rim. The creature finds out about her people and comes for them.

The book is good. It is. It tells the story well. It establishes the friendship between her and a human that becomes a regular companion through the rest of the story. It covers the adventures she has before the main storyline really gets going.

No science to speak of. Fantasy would be a better description.

My only complaint is that it took me so long to finish because I just couldn't pay attention. And I don't know if it was the writing or the pollen.

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