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Primary Inversion: A Novel in the Saga of the Skolian Empire Paperback – May 15 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (May 15 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765336065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765336064
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 562 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #498,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the distant future, Asaro's debut novel pits Sauscony Valdoria (Soz) and her crew of Jagernauts-bioengineered fighting empaths-against the Trader Empire. Traders are a race that derive pleasure from the amplified pain and anguish of empaths-especially Jagernauts, as Soz knows from personal experience. Soz is also a likely heir to the powerful Skolian Empire, rival of the Traders. On a neutral planet, she meets the Trader heir and discovers he has the unusual psi abilities her race possesses. The two link mentally and fall in love. But will Soz be forced to kill her lover to protect her empire? Though Asaro, a physicist, provides more than enough esoteric detail on faster-than-light inversion drives, cybernetic enhancements and computer networks, she manages to anchor her story with thoughtful, engaging characters and an intriguing vision of the future-and she leaves the door open for a sequel.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In a distant future where three empires battle for control of the galaxy, Sauscony Valdoria, the heir apparent of the Skolian Empire, finds herself inexplicably attracted to Jaibriol Qox, the son of the Emperor of Tarnth and the symbol of everything Sauscony has been taught to despise. Asaro's sf debut features strong male and female protagonists and a well-realized far-future world. Blending hard science with a familiar tale of star-crossed lovers, this novel deserves a wide readership.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off, I'm a lover of romance as well as science fiction and I can tell you, there is no romance in this book! Here Ms. Asaro uses the old tried and true cheat of having two people "destined" for each other and bound together through some sort of mystic or psychic melding of minds. It's especially galling here since Soz and Jailbait- whoops! I mean Jaibriol have almost NOTHING in common.
OK, so the romance is bad, what about the science fiction? Well first of all there is Ms. Asaro's future history. I have to give her credit for trying but it just doesn't hold together for me. Aliens pluck prehistoric humans from Earth to seed another planet? Why? When did psi abilities first show up and why do the Allied worlds deny that the abilities exist? If the sadistic Aristos only genetically enhanced ability is a high tolerance for pain how did they come into power and stay in power for so long? And here is the biggest thing that made no sense: If the entire safety of the Tholian Web - whoops! I mean Skolian Web and therefore Skolian Empire rests on a handful people (the Rhons) why in the HEdoublehockeysticks are they allowing these people to get into dangerous situations?! All of them should be the most protected people in the galaxy. That Soz would be allowed to go into battle is ridiculous.Maybe I'm missing some important point because the whole explanation of the Rhon and the Skolian web was very confusing.
Even though the future history was a bit shakey I enjoyed the heck out of the first 1/3 of the book. It was very well written with some excellent action sequences. I love the way it was from a Skolian point of view with people from Earth being the Aliens. This also made for some good humor. My only big problem with the plot here is that Soz lets Jaibriol go. HUH?
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Format: Hardcover
Asaro's debut novel takes place in the distant future during a long-term war between two empires, the Skolians and the Traders, with a third, originating from Earth, as a neutral power.
Sauscony Valdoria, elite fighter pilot and potential heir to the Skolian empire, is, like all fighter pilots, a natural empath whose abilities are boosted by biologically implanted computer links. While on leave on a neutral, Earth-controlled planet, she meets a Trader aristo and is strangely drawn to him, quickly discovering that he too is a psi sensitive. This should be impossible in Trader aristocrats because their sexuality is sadistically stimulated by the sufferings of empaths and their bloodlines are rigorously controlled.
However, this aristo is intended as the most dangerous weapon the Traders have ever had - capable of bringing down the entire Skolian internet. Sauscony should kill him, but she's fallen in love.
Asaro builds a complex and absorbing story, based mostly on character. Events affecting whole societies turn on personality and personal conflict. The speculative material linking computers and psi power is well done as are the infrequent space battles. The only drag on the pace is the heroine's inner turmoil which is, at times, repetitive. A small flaw in an otherwise outstanding debut.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Given the number of plot summaries already here I'll skip that for this review and go right to the analysis.
Catherine Asaro's writing abilities are either the result of a brilliant writer or a dedicated editor. Whatever the reason, the book is an enjoyable read. At no point does the author get bogged down on the science, and that only helps with the flow of the story. It's a little surprising that a scientist can present these ideas without making it come off like a lecture.
The story is where it all breaks down. Granted, making a judgement on the plot is a very personal thing, and people may not agree with this assessment, but the number of "good" reviews this book has gotten has prompted me to present an alternate view.
The story is broken into three sections. The first is a contrived meeting between the main characters. Given the number of available locations, the rarity of a Rhon and the precautions necessary to keep Jaibrol under control there is no way this meeting, the foundation of the story, could happen. It's ridiculous.
Part two is a psychological diversion that creates some interesting character development but little plot development. In a longer story this would be appropriate, but it's too long for this book.
Part three is just as convoluted as part one. Again Soz and Jaibrol come together in a ridiculous fashion. This, of course, allows them to escape together and the story ends.
With the story seemingly based upon the struggles of Soz and Jaibrol to find happiness, the absurd character meetings and the wasted second part make the overall story simply a mess.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Asaro has begun her Skolian Empire saga with a strong first novel. Sauscony Valdoria is one of the few true Rhon left in the Allied worlds. Only Rhon can rule 'psiberspace' and manipulate the invasive, essential Skolian Web (similar but on a totally different scale to the Internet), and for that there needs to be a Triad. Soz is one of 2 possible heirs to the military arm of the Triad, the other being her own brother (while another brother, Kurj, currently holds the position). Ambition, missions, secrets and manipulations have made Soz and her family distrustful of each other, while with their telepathic gifts they have an undeniable need for closeness - a need Kurj sees as a weakness.
Soz is not only telepathic, but also a bioengineered psi warrior pilot - thus on all fronts she seems to inspire fear rather than love. She's long lived, and has a history behind her that brings much depth to the character, and the reader is able to read much into her actions as a result.
Jaibroil Highton is the Highton heir to the Traders - enemies of the Skolian empire. When Soz and Jaiobriol first meet, they find they are able to make the rare psi bond of true Rhon - essentially they are enemies, but the only true match for each other.
Asaro doesn't make it easy for Soz, who is conflicted by many loyalties and also by her own drives, desires and ambitions. Ultimately events work around her until she feels she has no choice but to act, although the cost is high. By the end of the book, she has lost as much as she has gained.
A strong, complex, character driven novel with much in it as a vision of the future. The scientific elements are well thought out and well drawn, although I did get a little lost in the science of it from time to time. Nevertheless, a must for any Psi-Fi (ha!) reader
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