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Jean Lorrah
book cover

Who recommends: JW, Linda, Shelley, Lynn, Barbara
Who discommends:

Related to the Zeor series by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, but reads well as a stand-alone. This one I recommend highly. The world is divided into Simes and Gens. Simes prey on Gens for the live-giving energy (selyn) they produce. This is the normal way of things. Until Sime Risa Tigue is shipwrecked and injured and is aided by a most unusual Gen who shows her that death does not have does not have to be the only interaction between them. -- JW

Finished AMBROV KEON by Lorrah. To set the stage, Lichtenberg created a culture in future earth where two human races have mutated. the Gens are pretty normal but generally receptors for strong emotion - or emitters. Kinda like in Asaro's universe. And the Simes, who have tentacles, need to (once a month) get "recharged" with lifeforce (called selyn), and guess who they get it from? Needless to say, the Gen doesn't survive.

Now make it more complicated that Gens make other Gens - and so they have Genbreeders - but two Simes have children who may turn into Gens at puberty - and BTW after about two kids, the Sime mother dies.

Got the stage? Okay, enter Risa, a Sime, who's father is killed in the opening paragraph. And she is saved fromt he same fate by the Gen Sergi, who wakens her to the fact that a Gen can give selyn and not die. This is a perversion to her since Gens are little more than cattle - until she realizes that her little brother may very well become one - oh, how to reconcile these problems society has brought?

She takes the hard course of taking her little brother to Keon, which is a Household where Sime and Gen live side-by-side, and she resolves to fight the urge within her to kill Gens during her monthly "need, because she is capable of changing into one of the few Simes who doesn't need to kill to live.

The book was written in the mid 80's and I'm trying to recall what would have been going on at that time to generate a "how can someone change their nature?" Some very wrenching scenes which I wish might have been softpedalled. POV was generally from Risa's, with Sergi's given (which I was much more sympathetic to). The description of selyn transfer is wonderful and when it is definite the two consummate their love, I was left with the feeling of "gee, did they have to take a step back?" Was this when men were supposed to be "caring and sensitive"? Because Sergi is.

One of the other Sime/Gen books mentions on the back blurb about "vampire-like" Simes. I confess, I read the whole book and it never hit me. In AMBROV KEON, Risa takes the "taker" role and Sergi the "giver" role, both which seem very natural for the characters created. I recommend it for those who like "culture" reads. Be prepared for a few deaths. Be prepared for Risa to change and struggle along with her. Be prepared to get irritated at her as she fights what seemed to me - in 1999 - irritating hang-ups.--Barbara

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