But hey, this wasn’t a book on war. It wasn’t hard sci fi. Heck. It wasn’t even written by a man. “C” stands for Celia. That was a surprise, when I looked up the website – the male characters are more endearing in this story than the female. And I loved this book so much, I wrote the author a thank you letter before I even finished the dang thing. Now, I have to read her other works.
This was a sexy, intriguing story whose parts overlapped each other like the shingles on the roof of a really, really cool mansion. Each portion moved, things happened, and the barbaric and arrogant Braxi were
the obvious superstars of this story. The plot twists and deviosity of it all was great fun. It was obviously influenced by Dune, but who among us hasn’t been? I’m sure I will read many other books on this list that will show that tutelage.
This story was my third and the best in a row of books on psychic ability – For Love of Mother Not and
Mefisto in Onyx – and not including the debonairThe Demolished Man or the insufferable Wild Seed. Psychic phenomena are a common theme in science fiction, eh, although there is no suitable scientific explanation
for it in any of these books. I am glad that in my A Friend in the Dark I am not going the psychic route and
there is a scientific explanation. It will make it stand out on its own.
Even better, In Conquest Born is not a perfect book. That pleases me, because it’s proving my reading maxim: good doesn’t mean perfect. It means there is room for the rest of us to add to the collection. As
Arwen had pointed out, this author’s language isn’t always spot on, and I never liked, related, or “got” Anzha. The last few hundred pages I thought were going to end in a completely lubricious liaison, which I dreaded, but thankfully, didn’t happen. And the names sounded made up, and not like they followed any cultural system. (I’ll have to watch that in A Friend in the Dark). Case in point, naming a gladiator Laun Set.
Lawn Set? Really? Do you need a tarp to cover him in winter? Never mind.
C.S. Friedman gives – aside from having a kickass cool race of beautiful warriors to play with – each chapter a set up so it almost stands as its own story, with devilishly cool intrigue and plot twists within each. Plot twists! Go! Don’t wait until the end: do them all the time! That’s the lesson for writers.
As the fantasy artist Nene Thomas pointed out, never show complete nudity. There is lots of sex in this book, sex is actually a theme for the book, but no pornography – there are not graphic descriptions – and it makes the story superior. There’s no need to dip into the well. Readers are imaginative enough!
This story also has a flaw I would like to be wise of in my own work. I am not fond of stories where, against the odds of trillions of people in the galaxy, two people who have a specific background that stretches back
zillions of years, find each other. That coincidence just doesn’t work for me. However, it does not keep this from being a great story.