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on November 19, 2002
     This politically-intricate series takes place on the world of the atevi, a very violent species who keep the peace via registered assassination. Atevi alliances are complex and based on personal loyalties rather than on geography. There are several factions among the atevi, and the infighting among them seriously affects the relationships between atevi and humans. Before the first book begins, there is a war between the two species. The outcome is that the humans are confined to a large island and limit contact with the atevi via one, and only one human, the paidhi.
     This particular book, second in the series, is about the return of the human starship Phoenix, after nearly five centuries, and how the return affects the delicate balance of power between the humans on the planet and the native atevi. The humans on planet are also factionalized, and political infighting is rampant. The paidhi, Bren Cameron, must deal with the situation quickly to avert social collapse.
     If you like Frank Herbert's Dune and The Dosadi Experiment or C. J. Cherryh's The Faded Sun series, you'll like this series. It paints three divergent social structures and the interfaces between them. The alien society is the focus, and is rich in detail -- somewhat reminiscent of feudal Japan breaking into the modern age.
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on October 22, 2002
Out of all the Foreigner books, I found Invader to be the best. People have commented that Cherryh focuses far too much attention on Bren (the protagonist).
The reason Cherryh has used this approach is because Bren, whatever his education, is still a product of Western Civilization, with our codes of behavior, our attitudes, and our way of thinking. The Atevi are a totally unknown quantity. Bren must re-evaluate every aspect of who he is--every inflection of voice, every facial expression, every choice of word, every thought in his head. Everything a normal human would take for granted and pass off as totally mundane has a completely different meaning among the Atevi.
Motivations among humans do not equate to the motivations among Atevi. We are reading about a race that has a thought-process built on a completely different set of instincts.
Cherryh is forcing her readers to re-evaluate Western life, Western attitudes, and Western reasoning. She is trying to make us realize that there are strange and wonderful things outside of our society.
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on October 24, 2000
Still recovering from his injuries, and with his position within the Tabini camp established, Bren Cameron is forced to return to the atevi mainland to be further immersed in the ongoing political turmoil initiated by the return of the spaceship, Phoenix, that had brought the first humans to the atevi's planet. Now Bren Cameron has to contend with factions amongst the atevi and some new ones from his own side, everyone wanting to make sure that whatever the returned Phoenix has to offer is available to them. And so, Bren Cameron has his work cut out in the struggle to keep both atevi and human interests satisfied as he dodges the assassins' bullets.
This book builds directly onto what went before in Foreigner. It works really well in its elaboration of the plot, and the development of the relationship between Bren and Jago, and Bren and everybody else - atevi and human. Invader was also good because you can read it first without getting lost. The essential elements from Foreigner are reiterated but not so that someone who has read Foreigner first would find it a problem.
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on June 29, 1999
Invader is an excellent tale of alien relations and the problems which arise from their interactions. On one side are the unpredictable, sometimes underhanded humans, and on the other are the native atevi, steeped high in traditional, loyalities, and logic. The two groups could not be more different. And in the middle, Bren Cameron, the only sanctioned translator between the two.
The storyline has more to do with Bren's viewpoint than the return of the human's spaceship after a 176 year absence. The ship simply provides the conflicts for Bren to deal with. Bren spends a majority of story being highly introspective, literally questioning his every thought and word. He spends the almost the entire time dodging bullets, both literal and linguistic, while trying to maintain the balance of power between humans and atevi, without getting himself arrested or killed. Add a back-stabbing college brought in during his medical leave, and a couple of radical atevi groups, and you've got yourself more than enough to keep the story alive and the plot moving.
The characters are well developed, and their interactions were well done and thought provoking. The author brings in some very human situations, and sews them cleanly into the atevi mindset.
My only criticism is the occassional over-embellishment of the story. There were several points in the book were brevity would have been better suited. However, it is not so much so as to really detract from the book.
Overall, an excellent book. I would recommend it anyone who enjoys this sort of storyline.
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on October 20, 1995
C.J. Cherryh brings us back to the universe first visited in "Foreigner".
"Invader" is the continuing story of human/Atevi politics, as witnessed and manipulated by the human Paidhi, Bren Cameron.
The main thrust of this novel is a thoughtful exploration of non-human values and relationships, and Cherryh is among the best in the field at realizing alien mindsets.
Her Atevi are a wonderfully different race, a species whose bonds exist outside the human concepts of friendship and love. The resulting interspecies interactions are believable and nicely handled.
Cherryh's deft handling of character shines throughout the novel, both exploring a human reaction to a people with no concept of trust, and the Atevi view of a race whose basic idea of hierarchy is entirely
different from their own.
The plot, revolving around the return of a human starship to Atevi skies, is taut and compelling, with political intrigue and personal conflicts intertwining in a weave of fine subtlety. But always through it all is Cherryh's perceptive search of a man's adaptability and a
race's hope for their future. The author also has a talented hand at universe-building, with local color and a culture which seems as plausible as our own.
While not her best work, this book certainly satisfies the first time reader or an old fan. Cherryh has once again proven she is one of the premier writers of science fiction.
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on December 25, 2003
This series of books is one that I always keep within easy reach. The series has its ups and downs, but this book is a particular favorite because in this book the whole atevi culture and Bren Cameron's place in it starts to gel.
While not action packed and the time period covered by the book is short, a lot happens as Bren makes certain irrevokable decisions that are sure to cause him problems in the future. The Atevi struggle within their culture to come to some resolution as to how they will interact with humans. Bren's personal life shifts from his connection with human family, associates and lover to finding a place within Atevi culture.
While the pace is slow and the writing dense, this allows the reader to start to feel comfortable in the atevi world and to appreciate the complexities of the culture. Cherryh has done a very good job of creating a nonhuman culture that touches on enough points to be comprehensible and even attractive but still alien.
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on May 10, 2003
This series continues to amaze, with the second book just as riveting. Here Cherryh shines in her development of the Atevi characters, each one distinct and complex in his/her won way. Bren Cameron is of course as appealing and it is wonderful to find him growing close to his alien friends. Of course there is the subtle hints of affection (maybe love?) between Bren and Jago which I hope Cherryh will explore deeper in future books. The pace maybe slow at the beginning but the build-up to a possible collision between the Atevi and 2 different human cultures, one on land and the other in space is exquisitely handled. Now to start the third book! Well done Cherryh!
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on July 31, 2000
The complexity of this book is refreshing in the science fiction genre. Political and societal ramifications of actions keeps Bren, human diplomat to the Ateva, constantly thinking, analyzing and contemplating, as well as the reader. It is necessary to read and reread to truly grasp every detail, every association, every meaning. The result is a truly well defined society and culture, as well as characters with whom the reader can identify and support, be they human or not.
The author doesn't compromise story development for cheap thrills. The depth with which she covers each moment is what gives the Foreigner series its depth and substance.
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on January 28, 1997
Upon finishing the first book of this series, I immediately went out and bought this sequel. Cherryh's vision of alien culture is immensely complicated, and I was utterly fascinated. Cherryh expands wonderfully upon the linguistic complexities and tangled atevi cultural mores she outlined in Foreigner. Cherryh's aliens ARE alien: every time the protagonist Cameron becomes complacent about his understanding of atevi thinking, he gets a jolt. Although I feel that sequels often lack something, Invader is even better than Foreigner. Cherryh fills out her development of Cameron as an intensely driven yet lonely ambassador for humankind
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on June 18, 1997
This book features a seamless continuation of the events portrayed in Foreigner, including enticing tidbits of the differences between Humans and Atevi, and the relationships resulting from them. However, this book lacks bite, and at some times I found myself wondering why I was reading it, what I expected to happen that would make it engaging and worthwhile. I'm afraid that it remains a mystery. However, I'm still interested in the universe and the people that inhabit it, so I believe I will continue to search for more books containing them
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