Rusalka by C.J. Cherryh
I like folklore, and I like novels based on folklore, and I was prepared to like C.J. Cherryh's Rusalka, especially after seeing it reviewed elsewhere. It did hold my attention long enough that I was able to finish it, but in the end I had to admit that I didn't like it.
First gripe: the endless and tedious scenes of Pyetr, Sasha, and Uulamets wandering around in the woods acting like jerks to one another. Pages upon pages of one of the characters musing about what morons the other two are. The use of the word "woodcraft" on what seems like every page, as Sasha or Pyetr admires Uulamets' skill in navigating the forest. It begins to feel like we are reading the same chapter over and over after a while.
But that's the little gripe. The big one is what seems like a big continuity mistake. It's a spoiler, so highlight the following text if yo... Read More
C.J. Cherryh(1942- )
C.J. Cherryh is the pseudonym of Carolyn Janice Cherry. Her editor used her initials and added the silent h so she wouldn’t look like a romance writer (It’s still pronounced “Cherry”). Her science fiction and fantasy works have won three Hugo Awards, a John W. Campbell Award, a Locus Award, and other awards. You can learn more about C.J. Cherryh at her website.
Rusalka — (1989-1991) Publisher: This is Hugo-Award-winning author C.J. Cherryh’s Del Rey debut—the story of Rusalka, the ghost of a murdered girl still seeking to exist by drawing the energy of life from all nearby living things, and the attempt to bring her back to life by her father Ulamets, and Pyetr, the young man who loved her.
Rusalka by C.J. Cherryh
The Fortress Series — (1995-2006) Publisher: A ruined tower in a vast forest is the haunted home of the world’s last great wizard, Mauryl. Here in the storm drenched night, Mauryl performs a final act of the highest Old Magic, a Shaping, hoping that by this most wondrous of spells the wrongs of a long forgotten wizard war may be righted. In the tower, a boy is brought full grown to life. Named Tristen, he is neither golem nor man, and to Mauryl’s dismay he has none of the wisdom needed to ensure the success of his last gambit of the wizard’s long life. Presented with the precious book that contains the knowledge he needs, Tristen cannot understand a single word. Instead, Tristen loves his maker blindly, and loves the beauty of the world. Tristen walks alone and helpless from the last outpost of the Old Lands into a new age of holiness rife with treachery and war. A glamour protects him until, as the veils of unknowning are blown aside by events, Tristen’s power is manifest. Then Mauryl’s enemies become his. And though Mauryl’s book is with him always, still Tristen cannot read it.
Fortress in the Eye of Time by C.J. Cherryh
I loved Fortress in the Eye of Time. To be honest, the first half of the book doesn't move very fast, but you come to appreciate how C.J. Cherryh controls the flow of the story based on the progress of the main character. It's a very interesting technique that takes a little patience to enjoy.
The story centers around a young man who is called back from a distant past and who's soul has already lived a life. His challenges in adjusting to life with no real past are very well written and yet his native intelligence and personality begin to grow quickly.
The characters that surround the protagonist are fairly well written and far from perfect themselves. For me, the frailties of people are often neglected in most fiction unless it is overly depicted in the bad guy. In this case, Cherryh is very effective when de... Read More
Fortress of Ice by C.J. Cherryh
I have really enjoyed C.J. Cherryh's Fortress Series, and I enjoyed Fortress of Ice.
That being said, this book was the worst one in the series. The plot was kind of boring and the transition to the new characters didn't draw me in with the same connection that I had in earlier books. My biggest gripe is that the main character of the first four books is left as a supporting character, which makes sense for the book, but is disappointing for someone who enjoyed his role.
I was very disappointed with the direction that Cherryh has taken the Fortress series and I had hoped for something different.
It's good reading if you are a fan of the series, just understand that things have changed a great deal and you may find yourself missing ... Read More
The Paladin by C.J. Cherryh
The Paladin is a stand-alone novel set in the China of an alternative world. It's more of an alternative history than a fantasy — there are no mythical creatures or magic here, although superstitions of both remain. The story falls into two parts. In the first, a stubborn girl seeking vengeance for her murdered family arrives at the mountain home of an exiled hermit who was the greatest warlord in the Empire prior to the death of the old emperor and the takeover by an evil regent. The girl wears him down, and he agrees to teach her swordsmanship and so on, convinced that she will eventually tire and lose hope in her foolish quest. Instead, she perseveres, and he finds himself growing fond of her. Over a two-year span, she becomes a promising pupil; he finds his defenses against the world he left behind crumbling... and how much he now needs her.
In the second pa... Read More
Wings of Fire edited by Jonathan Strahan & Marianne S. Jablon
I don't like dragons.
This is probably not the first sentence you'd expect to find in a review of Wings of Fire, an anthology devoted exclusively to dragon stories, but I thought it best to get it out of the way right from the start.
There's nothing inherently wrong with dragons. They're just terribly overused, one of those tired genre mainstays that people who typically don't read a lot of fantasy will expect in a fantasy novel because they were practically unavoidable for a long time. To this day, I confess to having to suppress a mental groan whenever I encounter them.
For a long time, I actively avoided reading any fantasy novel with the word dragon in the title. Granted, I made several exceptions to this rule in the past, most notably The King's Dragon by Read More
The Morgaine Cycle — (1976-1988) Publisher: Scattered about the galaxy were the time-space, gates of a vanished alien race. Long before the rise of the native civilizations, they had terrorized a hundred worlds — not from villainy but from folly. Now the task was to destroy their potency for mischief. This is the story of one such Gate.
Alliance-Union — (1980-2009) The Alliance-Union novels are centered around the Company Wars. C.J. Cherryh says “The novels in this universe, except Hellburner and Heavy Time, and Cyteen and Regenesis, can be read completely out of order… just like real history.” Publisher: Earth’s colonial enterprise, founded on a stringof planetless stars, fell apart when orders to solve problems lagged a long time behind the reality of the situation. Distance made it impossible to maintain the close control Earth wanted to exercise, and Earth’s ill-advised orders provoked rebellion among the colonies when the discovery of Faster-Than-Light travel suddenly brought Earth into close contact and frequent contact with the colonies. Cyteen had outright defied Earth’s visa requirements and founded a runaway colony, its population deliberately augmented by cloned-man establishEarth’sments. Pell Station attempted to stand by its allegiance to Earth. So did other colonies, fearing the strangeness developing at Cyteen.
Chanur Saga — (1981-1992) Publisher: No one at Meetpoint Station had ever seen a creature like the Outsider. Naked-hided, blunt toothed and blunt-fingered, Tully was the sole surviving member of his company — a communicative, spacefaring species hitherto unknown — and he was a prisoner of his discoverer/ captors the sadistic, treacherous kif, until his escape onto the hani ship The Pride of Chanur. Little did he know when he threw himself upon the mercy of The Pride and her crew that he put the entire hani species in jeopardy and imperiled the peace of the Compact itself. For the information this fugitive held could be the ruin or glory of any of the species at Meetpoint Station.
Merovingen Nights Anthologies — (1985-1991) These are anthologies of Shared World stories set in Merovin.
Ealdwood — (1983) Publisher: It was that transitional time of the world, when man first brought the clang of iron and the reek of smoke to the lands which before had echoed only with fairy voices. In that dawn of man and death of magic there yet remained one last untouched place — the small forest of Ealdwood — which kept the magic intact, and protected the old ways. And there was one who dwelt there, Arafel the Sidhe, who had more pride and love of the world as it used to be than any of her kind. But fear of the world of Faery ran deep in the hearts of men, and when Ciaran Cuilean, Lord of Caer Wiell, a man with Elvish blood in his veins, found himself the object of increasing distrust and suspicion from his men, his king, and even his own family, he knew he must once again put his humanity aside and return to Ealdwood. For shadows of a newly awakened evil swarmed across both lands, and unless Ciaran reclaimed his haunted weapons from the Tree of Swords and joined Arafel, he would see this evil overtake not only the warm hearthstones of the mortal keeps but the silvery heart of Ealdwood itself!
Foreigner — (1994-2013) Publisher: The first book in C.J.Cherryh’s eponymous series, Foreigner begins an epic tale of the survivors of a lost spacecraft who crash-land on a planet inhabited by a hostile, sentient alien race. From its beginnings as a human-alien story of first contact, the Foreigner series has become a true science fiction odyssey, following a civilization from the age of steam through early space flight to confrontations with other alien species in distant sectors of space. It is the masterwork of a truly remarkable author.
Nighthorse — (1995-1996) Publisher: Stranded on a distant planet that abounds with fertile farmland, human colonists appear to be in paradise. But all the native animals communicate by telepathy, projecting images that drive humans mad. Only Nighthorses stand between civilization and madness. When a flare of human emotion spreads to all the horses, chaos erupts.
Gene Wars — (2001-2004) Publisher: One of the most renowned figures in science fiction, C.J. Cherryh has been enthralling audiences for nearly thirty years with rich and complex novels. Now at the peak of her career, this three-time Hugo Award winner launches her most ambitious work in decades, Hammerfall, part of a far-ranging series, The Gene Wars, set in an entirely new universe scarred by the most vicious of future weaponry, nanotechnology. In this brilliant novel — possibly Cherryh’s masterwork — the fate of billions has come down to a confrontation between two profoundly alien cultures on a single desert planet. “The mad shall be searched out and given to the Ila’s messengers. No man shall conceal madness in his wife, or his son, or his daughter, or his father. Every one must be delivered up.”—The Book of the Ila’s Au’itMarak has suffered the madness his entire life. He is a prince and warrior, strong and shrewd and expert in the ways of the desert covering his planet. In the service of his father, he has dedicated his life to overthrowing the Ila, the mysterious eternal dictator of his world. For years he has successfully hidden the visions that plague him — voices pulling him eastward, calling Marak, Marak, Marak, amid mind-twisting visions of a silver tower. But when his secret is discovered, Marak is betrayed by his own father and forced to march in an endless caravan with the rest of his world’s madmen to the Ila’s city of Oburan. Instead of death, Marak finds in Oburan his destiny, and the promise of life — if he can survive what is surely a suicidal mission. The Ila wants him to discover the source of the voices and visions that afflict the mad. Despite the danger sof the hostile desert, tensions within the caravan, and his own excruciating doubts, Marak miraculously reaches his goal — only to be given another, even more impossible mission by the strange people in the towers. According to these beings who look like him yet act differently than anyone he has ever known, Marak has a slim chance to save his world’s people from the wrath of Ila’s enemies. But to do so, he must convince them all — warring tribes, villagers, priests, young and old, as well as the Ila herself — to follow him on an epic trek across the burning desert before the hammer of the Ila’s foes falls from the heavens above. Written with deceptive simplicity and lyricism, this riveting, fast-paced epic of war, love, and survival in a brave new world marks a major achievement from the masterful C.J. Cherryh.
Hestia — (1979) Publisher: An early Cherryh novel about colonists on an alien world and their interactions with the catlike natives, centering on a young engineer sent to solve the colonists’ problems, and his relationship with one of the natives. Major themes in this novel include sexual liberation, sexual aberration, hypocrisy of social mores, and responsibility toward indigenous peoples.
Wave without a Shore — (1981) Publisher: In this science fiction novel from one of the genre’s leading female writers, the inhabitants of the planet Freedom decide what constitutes reality — and they are selective. C.J.Cherryh has twice won the Hugo Award and is the recipient of numerous other awards and honours.
Sunfall — (1981) Publisher: The Hugo Award-winning author of “The Chronicles of Morgaine” and “Exile’s Gate” returns with a tale of the future fate of Earth. Humankind has now conquered the stars and left the once-mighty cities of Earth to confront their destinies — and possible extinction — alone.
Visible Light — (1986) Publisher’s Weekly: Although Cherryh is the author of many novels, the introduction to this collection of short fiction provides her with a rare opportunity to speak directly to the reader. What we get from this former history teacher is a lecture that equates her light, romantic SF with the truth of history and myth. After this pretentious opening, the stories themselves seem even more meager. Several of them, she admits, were initially rejected or discarded and sat in the drawer for years. Her short novel ”Companions” is unnecessarily elongated, but tells an interesting story of an explorer who may be facing a new life form that mysteriously fails to register on mechanical sensors. The best entry, ”A Thief in Korianth,” is an early, much superior version of the author’s 1985 novel Angel with the Sword. This will be of greatest interest to fans of Cherryh’s novels.
The Goblin Mirror —(1992) Publisher: Things weren’t right in the little kingdom of Maggiar, so the princes Bogdan and Tamas set off to seek an answer to the kingdom’s troubles in the world over the mountain, a world they knew only from legends. But that glorious place was great no more. The goblins had declared war, and no one — especially not visitors were safe from the raging battles, the darkest sorcery, and the evil that roamed the land…
Faery in Shadow —(1993) Author’s description: Damned by Faery for the patricide he committed to save his brother, Caith macSliabhin treads the shadowy side of Faery with one of the Dark Sidhe, a pooka (damned by Faery for goodness) as his only companion.
Lois and Clark: Superman — (1996) Publisher: Lives were at stake on the far side of the world; and no other person on Earth except Superman stood a chance of helping those people if that dam went. Four more dams were downriver. That whole region, rocked by earthquakes and deluged by spring rains, was in imminent danger. In this exciting novel, author C.J. Cherryh takes us deep into the private lives and thrilling adventures of Superman and Lois Lane. As Superman struggles desperately half a world away to save a village threatened by a bursting dam, Lois Lane throws herself into the rescue effort at a collapsed hotel in Metropolis — and emerges a hero. Caught in the glare of national media attention, nothing in her life will ever be the same again… including her relationship with Clark Kent.
The Collected Short Fiction of C.J. Cherryh — (2004) Publisher: Featuring the short stories, novellas, and novelettes of multiple award-winning author C.J. Cherryh, this volume is a must-have for fans and newcomers alike. It includes stories that originally appeared in her earlier collections, in magazines, and in other collections from DAW and other publishers. This special volume will include an introduction by Cherryh, written exclusively for this book.