Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.
Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science-fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.
A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever. Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies... and a force that transcends all.
©2013 Karen A. R. Lord (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
"This fascinating and thoughtful science fiction novel breaks out of the typical conflict-centered narrative paradigm to examine adaptation, social change, and human relationships. I’ve not read anything quite like it, which makes it that rare beast: a true original." (Kate Elliott, author of the Crown of Stars series and the Spiritwalker Trilogy)
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I read 'redemption in indigo' sometime back and was captivated by Lord's writing style and Miles's narration. So when I came across this book, I was really looking forward to listening and even bought the book before I read the reviews. After reading some of the reviews, I must admit to being put off, but, I went back and listened to redemption in indigo, to remind myself why I liked Lord's unique narrative style and vivid imagination and plucked the courage to dive into this one.
Let's just say - wow! Definitely ranks in with the "unputdowenable"s" for me.
The world created for her characters, the style, the depiction, the mental stimulation - just does it for me. While I do enjoy all manner of romance, sci-fi, fantasy etc, I really enjoyed this unique take on romance that doesn't have to get bawdy (although nothing against a good dash of bawdiness!) and yet, delivers more with a look and a touch, that convey so much more! The narrator (Miles) did a really bang up job of portraying the characters truly.
I wouldn't be surprised to find out Lord herself is a descendant of some "Tishune" herself!
Really masterful story crafting and weaving. Can't wait for her next one!
"an incredibly sweet story"
I loved the slow building relationship between the main characters. They choose to be honest, decent, kind and real, and in the end discover that they've found their way to each other
There's something very 19th century about it. A little Jane Austen (man and woman drawn together in spite of--or because of--differences, the risk of fundamentally misunderstanding someone's character), a little Edith Warton (I was reminded of the scene in The Age of Innocence when Newland Archer unbuttons Ellen's glove to kiss her wrist--the same kind of fully-clothed slow burn kind of heat).
Delarua, the main character is a wry, slightly sardonic narrator. Miles captured that pretty well for the most part, but having read the book prior to listening, I would have read some lines with slightly different inflections. Sometimes a little too wry or teasing. Also sometimes the reader seems a little strident in tone.
I love love love this book. I have recommended it to several friends and I'm considering sending it to my sisters for Valentine's Day. It portrays the kind of grown-up relationship that people should aspire to. One of the best romances I've read in a long time, and no one even takes off their clothes.
"Like a series of bad Star Trek episodes"
It was a real struggle to finish this meandering novel full of annoying characters. Karen Lord set up an interesting premise and then seemed to forget what she was supposed to be writing about. None of the characters, except perhaps Dllenahkh, is compelling enough for the reader to care about. I found the protagonist, Delarua, uninteresting mostly because she was completely devoid of opinions or direction. Most of the book is written from her first-person perspective as she follows along the adventures of a group of aliens who scope out different towns on her planet. It seems each town pulls the author off of her purported thesis as she explores different social problems in each town. It ended up feeling like a series of bad Star Trek episodes, each one with a different ax to grind. But then suddenly and without a reason I could discern, we would get a scene in third person showing how other characters were reacting to whatever the dilemma of the day was. If Lord meant to write an anthropological scifi novel examining what it would be like to integrate a new population of telepaths into an existing social order, she got off track early and never got her groove back.
[I listened to this as an audio book. The reader was not the best, and since I wasn’t enjoying the story much, but had to finish for my book club, I ended up listening at 1.5 speed, which seemed just about right.]
"Can't get into this one."
Starts slow, stays slow. I never felt connected to the story line. I was bored with it, hoping for it to improve.
Stopped listening. Moving on to another book.
"For those who love anthropological sf"
Sadira's enemies have wiped out all life on Sadira, in a shocking genocidal attack. The only survivors are those who were off planet at the time. Most of the survivors have settled on New Sadira, but there was a gender imbalance. The surplus males created stress and conflict, so they have traveled to the planet of Cygnus Beta.
Cygnus Beta has a very mixed population, with the varied human races and cultures from all over the galaxy who themselves settled there as refugees from their own past disasters. The surviving Sadiri want to preserve as much of their culture by recruiting potential wives from the cultures that preserve Sadiri genetic traits, including telepathic abilities, as well as cultural traits.
Counselor Dllenahkh is one of the leaders of the Sadiri refugees. Second Assistant Biostatician Grace Delarua begin to work closely together as part of an expedition to survey the cultures on the planet that preserve a significant degree of Sadiri genetics or culture. The Sadiri are very reserved and don't display a lot of emotion. Delarua's culture, one of many on Cygnus Beta, is more openly expressive. Telepathic abilities are an important part of Sadiri culture. Delarua has always tested negative for psi abilities. And yet she is very, very perceptive, and very good at calming people around her....
This is anthropological science fiction. It's a travelogue on an alien planet. It's a slow-paced romance between two mature adults. It won't appeal to everyone.
I loved it.
I bought this audiobook.
A love story on a planet based around civil servants, just screams mystery and intrigue.
"Sci-fi for girls. Men, stay away."
Told from a woman's perspective, a group of futuristic anthropologists travel to several different cities (all on the same little planet) taking notes on cultural differences.
All the while, a laboriously subtle and indirect romance between a woman and a Vulcan-esque, emotion-suppressing man develops.
Summary: an almost undetectable romance develops incredibly slowly over the course of the book between characters we neither really get to know, nor really give two (bleeps) about.
"Futuristic space opera romance"
A little like The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, it's set on another world and describes different cultures and their efforts to co-exist and integrate but these are all human. No space wars or action scenes, a straightforward narrative and beautifully written for reading aloud. The book consists of a series of episodes and the relationship between the two protagonists in the romance is what keeps it moving forward. But this is more than enough to hold one's interest, as the ramifications of their relationship go beyond their personal arrangements.
Robin Miles' very pleasant voice is controlled without ever sounding flat and expressive without leaning towards exaggeration - one of the best narrations I've heard.
I was really excited about Karen Lord, Redemption in Indigo was very promising both in style and plot. This, however, fails to live up to that promise. The conversational style that worked so well before feels more like laziness here. The characters and situations are trite. This work has little to recommend it, and the reading is not adding anything either
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