Recent Reads: Species Imperative, Julie E. Czerneda

Along that whole topic of ‘books don’t have shelf lives…’

I’ve been aware of Julie Czerneda’s books since they first came out, and somehow just sort of hadn’t ever gotten around to reading any. I specifically remember the title A Thousand Words for Stranger, which I still think is a great title, and I specifically remember the cover art for the Species Imperative trilogy.

Well, the other day, book one, SURVIVAL, was on sale at Kobo, so I thought “yes I should buy this” and I did, and read it, and immediately bought and read the second two, all in about a week.

For one thing, they’re like custom-fit to my little Alaska-raised heart: the lead, Mac, studies salmon (how could I, a girl from the Kenai, not love a salmon-researching heroine?). She deals with magnificently-realized bureaucracy and characters who are just so human they kind of kill me. One of my favorites is just awful.

Furthermore, the aliens are AMAZING. Absolutely TERRIFIC. Occasionally very, very funny (they’re not, overall, funny books, but the moments of humor land perfectly), very alien, sometimes heartbreaking, and always compelling.

I was unreasonably pleased with myself for anticipating a couple of the plot points, and the only thing that annoys me about them is that I have, in fact, been aware of them since their publication, and I haven’t read them before now. :)

SURVIVAL, Book One of Species Imperative
Available everywhere now (should be a magic link that lets you choose your store)

Dr. Mackenzie “Mac” Connor is a workaholic and trained biologist at the Norcoast Salmon Research Facility. When she and fellow scientist Dr. Emily Mamani settle in to monitor this year’s salmon runs, an unprecedented arrival interrupts their research: Brymn, an archaeologist and the first Ohryn alien to ever set foot on Earth. He has come to get Mac’s help in uncovering what created the Chasm—a part of the universe whose once-populated worlds are now mysteriously empty of any life-forms.

When a devastating attack on the Base results in Emily’s abduction, Mac is forced to flee with Brymn—and to wonder if Earth may be under attack by the Ro, the aliens Brymn suspects are behind the Chasm. Cut off from everything and everyone she knows, Mac finds herself in grave danger and charged with protecting the human race from extinction…

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