|Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org |
(Mar 22, 2006)
Jaran is the first of a series of four novels and is followed by An Earthly Crown, His Conquering Sword, and The Law of Becoming. It is, in my opinion, the best of the series, although the other books fare well.
The author, Kate Elliot, does a fine job depicting alien race cultures, whether it be the Chapalii or the Jaran people who inhabit the planet Rhui. Each race differs drastically from humans particularly in their attitudes towards hierarchy. For the Jarans, the female retains more dominance than in Earth cultures. For the Chapalli, the hierarchy is extremely complex and, thus, mystifying for humans.
And yet, it is not this anthropological study which makes the novel a wonderful experience. It is Kate Elliot's choice of seeing these alien cultures through the eyes of a 20+ year-old young woman named Tess. The novel is Tess' journey; it is above all what she learns about herself that makes the story so emotionally satisfying in the end.