First Warning: Acorna's Children Hardcover – Aug 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
In bestsellers McCaffrey and Scarborough's charming first of a new trilogy, Khorii, the adolescent daughter of Acorna ("the unicorn girl"), has her share of problems while at school on an asteroid that serves as a refuge for war orphans after her parents go off to use their Linyaari healing powers against a deadly plague. Khorii's roommate doesn't like her feline companion; a bully doesn't care for her android foster brother, Elviiz; and she learns about human nudity taboos the hard way. Matters only get worse as Khorii has to use her powers to save some fellow students' home planet, then keep bureaucrats from quarantining the asteroid's supply ship and the aforementioned bully from hijacking it. Occasionally moving and often amusing, this light but never silly fantasy will particularly appeal to young adults.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"'Good spacefaring fun'" Publishers Weekly "'Combining colourful characterizations, lots of fast-paced action, and a decided sense of menace...this is entertaining fare indeed'" Booklist (on the Acorna series) "Demonstrates the storytelling expertise of co-authors McCaffrey and Scarborough. Old and new characters, exotic alien races, and unique methods of problem-solving make this a good choice" Library Journal "Khorii is definitely a chip off the old horn...Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough are experts at being able to draw their readers into quite a complex and already well-established world, without making too many narrative demands with regard to the previous books. Their style is, as always, eminently readable" SFX --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Until the Condor encountered the derelict spaceship drifting through deep space, Khorii couldn't understand why the fact that she was taking her first long space voyage had caused so much fuss back home. Read the first page
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Khorii and her parents, Elviiz and Khiindi-- Khorii's cat -- are onboard the Condor bound for Kezdet to visit Acorna's adoptive fathers. Khorii is convinced that this trip will be boring and is already tired of the eternal night outside the viewers. When she enters the control room to spend some time with her Uncle Joh -- Captain Jonas Becker -- and RK -- Roadkill -- the feline first mate, she finds Becker gloating over a derelict spaceliner, the La Estrella Blanca.
The distress beacon is broadcasting and the ship is filled with dead bodies. When Becker boards the liner, he soon catches the plague and so do RK and Khiindi. Khorii hastily follows Becker and the cats to heal them.
Becker takes the death ship to a nearby storage asteroid and they continue on to Kezdet. There they learn that plague has been reported on several worlds. The Federation requests that Acorna and Aari travel to Paloduro in the Solojo system to heal the sick. The Condor takes a side trip to Maganos Moonbase to drop off Khorii, Elviiz and Khiindi, despite their objections.
Khorii makes friends with several children in the school on Maganos Moonbase, including the aquatic Poopuus, but Elviiz makes an enemy of Marl Fidd. The overdue supply ship Mana finally comes to Maganos Moonbase, but the crew has the plague. Khorii, Elviiz, and two students -- Hap Hellstrom and Sesseli -- take the shuttle Crow up to the plague ship. Khorii heals Jaya -- the only living member of the crew -- and then decontaminates the ship and cargo.
The school administrators refuse to accept the now purified cargo, including necessary food supplies, so Asha Bates -- the astrogation instructor -- takes her own shuttle up to the Mana. Unfortunately, she also brings Marl Fidd aboard. Bates successfully convinces the school staff that the food stuff is plague free, but they still refuse to allow her or the students or Jaya to enter Maganos Moonbase.
In this story, Khorii starts seeing blue spots when she heals plague victims or decontaminates cargo. At first she thinks that she is just getting tired, but then she realizes that these blue spots are the plague itself. Now she can check for the plague without exerting her healing powers.
Khorii successfully heals plague victims elsewhere, but finds herself close to exhaustion afterward. Acorna and Aari heal the surviving population on Paloduro, but they completely deplete their energy and catch a mutated version of the plague. Now they are plague carriers, without apparent symptoms themselves, but spreading the disease to others. They infect Becker, Maak and RK on the Condor and are only able to partially heal their friends.
This series is intended for young adults and thus is quite linear in its approach; it shows only a handful of viewpoints during the story. The plot tends to be simplistic, but the concepts are anything but simple. The Linyaari are pacifistic vegetarians, but they have to deal with a hostile, carnivorous universe. Sometimes they lose their tempers, but usually they use their minds and mental skills to find more acceptable solutions.
Highly recommended for McCaffrey & Scarborough fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of healing, suspense and adventure.
-Arthur W. Jordin
When she discovers that a plague-infested freighter is near, Khorii decides to stop following the rules and to act. She travels to the freighter, heals the sole survivor, and, when the school refuses to allow her to return, sets off on a mission of healing.
Unfortunately, the bully comes along--and causes no end of trouble for her with his ambition to become a space tyrant or pirate lord.
Authors Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough use the Acorna series to attempt to help teen and pre-teen readers discover the magic of SF. The clever cats, the device of using a unicorn girl as the protagonist, and Acorna/Khorii's innocence, vegetarianism, and passivism will all appeal to the young reader, especially the young female reader. It seems to me, however, that McCaffrey and Scarborough (both wonderful writers who have created some of the most powerful fantasy available today) go too far in simplifying their writing and simplifying the plot. Rather than write over their readers, I fear that they write under their readers.
Unlike several earlier Acorna stories, however, FIRST WARNING manages to be simple without being annoying. Even adult readers will find much about this story to be enjoyable, and the coming of age aspects are charming.
** Though the first book in a series, if you haven't the background of the related prior series to go on, you'll be lost. Basically, this is Moreta set in a different enviroment, and really is not either author's best work. **
Reviewed by Amanda Killgore, Freelance Reviewer.