In Shadow World, A.C. Crispin and Jannean Elliot look at culture clash on the most primal level, that of attitudes about life and death. The short-lived Elspind start their lives gender-neutral, then go through their version of puberty, emerging with a gender. They then have a strong urge to mate, maybe because they die within a few years after that. Scientists are working on medically extending this race's life span, but many of the Elspind oppose this treatment, some violently. The Elspind deal with their short lives by celebrating each day and each life, even those of their enemies, and that's difficult for some longer-lived races to understand. The book revolves around these conflicts, as seen through the eyes of a Starbridge student who's still coming to terms with his mother's recent death.
This third installment of the Starbridge series gives us a look at the inner workings of the Starbridge academy and at the continuing conflict among some of the Cooperative League of Systems' members. We also touch base with some familiar characters from the first book, StarBridge. It's a great third installment, and I'm looking forward to the next one.