CRYSTAL SOLDIER by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Finished this yesterday and enjoyed it but.... (see below!)
It's the story of M Jela Granthor's Guard, a soldier who's trying to prevent the annihilation of the worlds by the shierekas, a race which does not believe in conquering or oppression, but in obliteration and destruction. By chance he has dinner with Cantra, a Pilot trader. After dinner, the adventures begin as they're chased from world to world by a murderous bunch of people.
Jela doesn't know who is trying to capture or kill him or why, which sort of forces Cantra and him to stick together because her assocation with him has marked her as a target as well. As they save each other from one attack to the next, the relationship develops nicely from extreme caution and distrust to trust, friendship, then something more. I liked the relationship developing so gradually.
The world Lee and Miller created was interesting and seemed quite a bit different from the Liad books. At the end of the book they had a list of characters, ships, worlds, etc. That will be handy in the NEXT book for those of us with short memories.
What I didn't like is that CRYSTAL SOLDIER ended in the middle of freaking nowhere. I can't believe no one's complained about it. This is as bad as the ending to CARPE DIEM, which, if I remember correctly, ended with "PLan B is now in effect." Well, thank yew very much for Nothing. This is the reason I avoid trilogies and decaseptologies until all the books are out. I WISH SOMEONE HAD WARNED ME so I could have waited till the next book came out. Really. One of the things I like about the latest Bujold (which I haven't read yet) is that it's part of a series but can be read on its own.
One last thing about CRYSTAL SOLDIER: I was amused that Jela, the hero, was shorter than Cantra, the heroine. Those of you who have seen Miller and Lee will remember that she is taller than he is. I can't remember, though, does Steve have a terrific set of shoulders, which appears to be Jela's most notable feature?--Edith (28 Mar 05)
I read CRYSTAL SOLDIER over the weekend and was greatly entertained. I already knew it was the first of two books, so I wasn't bothered by the cliff-hanger ending.
I always enjoy Miller and Lee's intricate plotting and well-developed characters. And let's face it--even though there is just one love scene (that takes place off stage) the whole book is a love story as these two intensely private and independent people grow to trust each other.
Edith, I too was amused by the constant little thread about Jela's shoulders. And it was fun to see all the little touches that explain the origins of some of the traditions, artifacts and language we see in the later-set Liad books. I liked the mention of the newly bioengineered X-Strain soldiers--as opposed to the older, now obsolete M-Strain...now we know the origin of the Yxtrang!--Suzanne (4 Apr 05)
I missed that! It's been so dang long since I've read the books that I'm missing lots of other stuff, I'm sure. Some terms strike faint chords of memory, but I can't quite place the significance. I can't quite remember what a dramliza is. Some magic power? That's the problem with their books. Their world is quite complicated, and all the books need to be read in order to really get them. And there are so many books I want to read, I'm not sure I'll ever get to re-reading them.--Edith (4 Apr 05)