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5.0 out of 5 starsTantalizing
Reviewed in Canada on June 30, 2019
Julie. How do you dream up your fascinating plots. I liked the use of short chapters in some parts. The story just flew along. When is the next book coming out!
3.0 out of 5 starsI adore books 1 through 3 of the web shifter series but ....
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2020
I have not cared for this new series. The novella that started the series, “The Only Thing To Fear,” reminded me of 1 through 3 (“Beholder’s Eye,” “Changing Vision,” & “Hidden in Sight”). Czerneda’s depiction of the Pink Popeakan (actually an emissary of an arachnoid race) was, as she was meant to be, endearing. However, the first full book in the new series, “Search Image,” comes off as somewhat silly IMO. Paul and Es have fulfilled their dream of founding a library dedicated to promoting inter-species understanding. The premise is promising, but the way the library operates just comes across as silly. It is mobbed by people who trade an artifact or piece of information for the answer to a question. (As an example of library-related silliness, some of Paul’s relatives create and sell pieces of nonworking junk made from discarded household appliances to those seeking answers to questions at the library, and then the buyers of this junk pass it on to the library.) In a civilization that has mastered space travel, visitors to the library take a train (not a scenic “Orient Express” luxury experience but one where passengers share crowded, dingy-seeming cars) from the spaceport to the library itself. Even Es’s sister, who was dedicated to war fighting and was an extremely dangerous individual, lost stature in this book; she who had commanded armies and succeeded in a society that valued guile, strategy, and ruthlessness above all is now head of security of Es’s inter species library. The story improves when Es and Paul travel off world to solve a problem involving an alien race; they do solve it, although the solution comes at a cost. If Czerneda takes Paul and Es away from their library, the stories may improve. Or if she tones down the library. Paul and Es live and operate their library on Earth, and Czerneda has them racing and wrestling together in the sunlight with Es in her canine form. There is also a suggestion Paul has a love he is pining for. Es is still a child in her human form and is virtually immortal whereas Paul is beginning to show gray in his hair.... Who could this lost love be? I hope the series does improve; I loved the characters and the original Web Shifter series and reread it periodically.
5.0 out of 5 starsLoved it, it felt like catching up with an old friend.
Reviewed in the United States on October 21, 2018
I had no idea this book was coming out at all, but I loved the Web Shifters books and the characters. It was great. This is obviously a spin off of a larger work, and she does a good job of reminding the reader what happened in those books. That said, If you haven't read the Web Shifters books, you should probably start there.
Regarding the characters...the character Esen has such an endearing... enthusiasm that is just so refreshing. I might have to go re-read the earlier books again now. The other supporting characters are also fully realized and interesting in their own right.
Regarding the plot; it's a Czerneda book. Which is to say, there's usually a straightforward (yet engaging) conflict presented that isn't in some way as straightforward as it seems, which takes the book from straightforward to intriguing. Usually in a way that's completely surprising to me. I think maybe it comes from her background as a biologist.
This book meet all those expectations and exceeded them and will be with me for awhile, whether I reread the entire web shifter's series or not.
5.0 out of 5 starsEsen and Paul have now opened their All Species' Library of Linguistics and Culture!
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2018
Esen and Paul are back!
Paul's family now knows that, after being told of his death 50 years ago, Paul is in fact alive and well and running the new All Species' Library of Linguistics and Culture with Esen. The purpose of the Library is to try to head off misunderstandings between different alien species, especially the kind which lead to inadvertent genocide!
I have really enjoyed the adventures of Esen, the Web being (aka blue teardrop blob). Yes, she is young but that means that she is still eager to take on life's challenges with a hopeful attitude. Paul's main job remains trying to protect Esen from herself when she goes overboard. As she frequently does.
I also particularly enjoyed the reprise of a character from the previous adventure Evan Gooseberry. He was a major character in The Only Thing to Fear, the bridge novella connecting the original Web Shifters trilogy to the new Web Shifter's Library series. Evan is so brave as he strives to work through his many crippling phobias!
Highly recommended for all fans of interspecies tolerance and space opera in general!
OMG, Esen is just about my favorite character ever! Julie Czerneda does a great job of portraying this character and staying true to who Esen is...even 15 years (or an eternity in my world!) later. The Web Shifter series is one of the few I will read again and again.
I love the concept of the LIbrary for Esen and Paul, for those to bring an item of interest for the Library and then to receive one answer in return. Thank goodness our Libraries don't work that way but I love the concept in the book due to so many populated worlds. Each species is handled with care so we, the reader, get a clear picture of who is presented and the emotions evoked are real. I'm always sorry when the book ends. For me, anything by Julie Czerneda is a must-read....at least so far.