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S.L. Viehl
book cover

Book 3 of Stardoc
2001, January, Roc
Buy from Amazon.com (mass market paperback)

Who recommends: Linda, Lynn, Preeti, Shelley, Robin
Who discommends: JW

The heroine is now a captive/slave of the harsh military, Hsktskt. ENDURANCE is a good name for the story. There is much more violence and cruelty in this book. It's about how she survives, still manages to save lives of fellow slaves and Hsktskt alike, all the while still staying strong and true to herself. (Thank goodness she heals very fast<g>).

What she continues to find out and discover about her own genetic makeup makes for a fascinatingly dark and harsh, but riveting, read. I'm glad I peeked at the end, though, because you are left guessing about the instigator of the betrayal until the very end. It's my only complaint. I would have liked to have known sooner. But you meet another interesting alien, Noarr, who is interested in the heroine.<g> Lots of surprises in this book too!! Needless to say both are highly recommended by me.--Linda (9 Jan 01)

Well, I got the last of these and put them in the recommended and also can say that they safely go in the romance category, which I did have some qualms about. The three books are STARDOC, BEYOND VARALLAN, and ENDURANCE.

They are nice midrange sort of books with some occasionally good alieness. My only qualm is how you really learn about all the different species that she treats, but I suppose it isn't any worse than being a vet <grin>.

The romance plot has at least an initial resolution, but there also appears to be a lot of room for further development in the series since a number of plot elements are left unresolved. At least this one doesn't end with a cliffhanger the way the second one did.--Lynn (15 Jan 01)

I've now finished books 2 & 3, but I found them disappointing, particularly the third book.

Minor (I think) spoilers ...

I really enjoyed the first book; although I thought the sudden, and as far as I could tell, out of the blue (if you'll forgive the wordplay), love interest poorly done (little emotional resonance), so when he died I realized, hey, that was why it was so shallow in the first place.

Thanks to warnings, I waited to read the second book until I had the third as well. Reever's connection with the lizards (don't have the books here so I'm not going be to able to remember any names) had been obvious from the first book, so I figured that's where he'd gone when he left ... so his showing up at the end up book 2 wasn't that much of a shock. But the situation dragged on too, too long in book 3.

If it was obvious to me as a reader that a lot was going on under the surface, then Cherijo, our narrator, begins to appear dim-witted when she doesn't seem to realize it. I realized what's-his-name was Reever's alter ego by the second visit, but found it impossible to get any emotional satisfaction from the "happy ending" when our heroine had been so ambivalent throughout the entire thing.

First she's in love with one man and "marries" (for life); he dies. Then she "marries" again, FOR LIFE (against her will -- but is unwillingly attracted!); but manages to get a "divorce" through a loop hole. Then she marries Reever but is granted another "divorce". (I guess this stuff isn't really for life is it?) Then she decides to "marry" someone else, but when she finds out it's really her ex- ... and remember, she says she realized it was him AFTER this point! ... well, that's okay, too. And gee, she's pregnant as well. Isn't this lovely? I'm afraid this just doesn't feel like the triumph of true love to me.

I did/do like Viehl's writing; she kept me interested. But that particular plot line got tiresome to the extreme. And there were some real gaps in logic, such as how Reever's going to the lizards was supposed to help Cherijo ... They didn't come to rescue her, after all, did they? And I'm tired of all this stupid hints of more secrets to come out in the future. I'll probably read future books, but I won't be rushing out to get them.--JW (05 Feb 01)

I was able to continue to enjoy these books because I was so fascinated with the alien/medical aspect, though the 3rd book was a little darker than I prefer. I also felt Viehl left you in the dark too long about the hero and his real role. I actually had to look at the end and make sure the story had a HEA before I could continue reading it.<g>

Actually , I agree with most of what you said, JW, but enjoyed everything else. I look forward to continuing the series now that the Reever story arc has ended. This is just such an unusual series that I'm hooked.--Linda (06 Feb 01)

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