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The Best of All Possible Worlds

Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
2.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about The Best of All Possible Worlds

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-02-2014

an incredibly sweet story

What did you love best about The Best of All Possible Worlds?

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

What other book might you compare The Best of All Possible Worlds to and why?

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).

Which character – as performed by Robin Miles – was your favorite?

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • A. Sunmonu
  • 09-04-2013

amazing!!!

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!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Rachell Chiles
  • 31-12-2018

Slow but good

The story was slow at first but it started to pick up towards the middle. I love the way the writer was able to show intimacy and love without including sex. I Enjoyed the flow of the story and how that rider built the story I think that this is an exceptional writer.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Julie W. Capell
  • 31-12-2014

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.]

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 05-05-2014

Can't get into this one.

What was most disappointing about Karen Lord’s story?

Starts slow, stays slow. I never felt connected to the story line. I was bored with it, hoping for it to improve.

Any additional comments?

Stopped listening. Moving on to another book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cy Hy
  • 09-03-2020

Nice, but too fluffy.

I enjoyed the story. It moved kind of slowly, but I was drawn in pretty quickly. However, I could've done with more descriptions of people and things, personalities, and I expected more conflict amongst the different humans,. In that respect, there wasn't enough depth to the world and characters that would've made this book shine. It was also a bit... breathless, like a student with a crush on her professor, which is very overused in general. I am left with a lot of questions, such as what the deal was with Ainya, how the genocide happened, more about the pilots, more about everything, really. I don't feel like I felt what the victims of of genocide felt like, other than that they missed people they loved, There was one instance where she was talking about how it was more than a memory, and that was leading down the right road. I think less breathless fawning and more character building would've gone a long way. I've read other books by Karen Lord and have been more impressed with them. Robin Miles is my favorite narrator, which is how I found this book.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 13-06-2019

A Sci-fi Love Story

I enjoyed that this sci-fi story wasn't about alien invaders or saving the world, but rather about exploring different worlds and cultures and finding the "best of all possible worlds" in a loving relationship. This was a thoughtful, romantic, and overall satisfying listen. The narrator embodied the MCs with emotion and intelligence.

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  • SolvayGirl
  • 18-04-2018

A wonderful New Universe

reviewing via my husband’s Amazon account Karen Lord has become one of my new favorite science fiction authors in this book, she has created one of the most innovative worlds I have read in a very long time. Her characters are also quite fully fleshed and compelling. I look forward to reading other books in the storyline. Andrea Leigh Ptak

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-2018

Potential

So much potential. Basically a badly written love story. The premise of “clean” lineage harkens to a racist supremacy. Government control of family planning accepted with no turmoil. No notice of how wrong this all is. The supernatural elements were of the most interest, but weren’t fleshed out enough to be enjoyable.

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  • Larry
  • 17-10-2017

Pleasent low urgency story, & telling.

Not a story for a youngling. Too little action. This is a quiet beauty, not perfume, or colone, but the smell of flowers on a breeze. Quietly beautiful... no drums, no beat; all long melody.!

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  • Serin6
  • 26-09-2013

Futuristic space opera romance

What other book might you compare The Best of All Possible Worlds to, and why?

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.

What about Robin Miles’s performance did you like?

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.

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  • Michela
  • 15-07-2019

Multilayered story

The novel focuses on missions to find and check on colonies of an alien species who suffered a massive tragedy losing most of their people, in the attempt and hope to give their people a future. Relationships develop during such missions, and lots of interesting facts about the alien species in danger are slowly revealed, especially in the mind reading and sharing area. The story gets even more complicated when it is revealed that they even have some kind of time travelling technology / ability. I actually had problems following the story about this plot twist. In general, a very cool, multilayered story with a nice ending for the main characters. The interpretation of the audiobook was quite good.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-12-2018

Slow

Had its moments but way to slow for me. If you’re looking for action packed adventure skip this. If cosmic anthropology is of interest then you may like it.

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  • Tora
  • 09-07-2017

Bit boring

Struggled to finish this and, although the narrator was not 'bad', her characterisation was not good either. The male lead had no charisma, as played by her.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-04-2013

Disappointing

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