The Terrans by Jean Johnson
Series: First Salik War #1
Published by ACE
Published on: July 28 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
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Jean Johnson's first novel in an explosive new science fiction trilogy set in the world of the national bestselling Theirs Not to Reason Why series—set two-hundred years earlier, at the dawn of the First Salik War…
Born into a political family and gifted with psychic abilities, Jacaranda MacKenzie has served as a border-watcher and even spent time as a representative on the United Planets Council. Now she just wants to spend her days in peace and quiet as a translator—but the universe has other plans…
Humans have long known that they would encounter more alien species, and while those with precognitive abilities agree a terrible war is coming, they do not agree on who will save humanity—a psychic soldier or a politician.
But Jackie is both.
After she is pressured into rejoining the Space Force to forestall the impending calamity, Jackie makes an unsettling discovery. Their new enemy, the Salik, seem to be rather familiar with fighting Humans—as if their war against humanity had already begun…
THE TERRANS chronicles the Human (Terran) race as it simultaneously encounters both a vile alien enemy, the Salik, and a previously unknown branch of humanity, the V’Dan.
Think about that for a second.
Recently having discovered (something like) wormhole technology and setting out to explore formerly beyond reach areas of space, the ALOHA 9 and crew are forcibly dragged into the hull of an enemy vessel full of grotesque amphibian-like aliens . . . Grotesque amphibious aliens who delight in eating live . . . sentient prey . . . o.O
While trying to gage their situation, the Commanding Officer, a gifted telepath (among other things), encounters five human minds being held in cages for such a purpose, and, determined to rescue them, begins a series of events that will reunite their peoples, and, hopefully, give them the means to defeat an enemy that neither could defend against alone.
*resists urge to sing Kumbaya*
HA. But seriously, how cool is that? At the risk of invoking one Farscape analogy too many, John Crichton and Aeryn Sun, anyone? Peacekeepers, V’Dan . . . Similar concept.
Similar, but different.
In this world, the relocation of humans is still an attempt to preserve a portion of humanity, but this time it seems to be a specific religious sect being preserved and the means of relocation some nebulous time-traveling alien.
I’m sure we’ll learn more about it later, or maybe the details are recorded somewhere in Theirs Not to Reason Why, the series this trilogy is prequel to. <------good time to mention that I have not read those books, and I did not feel like I was missing anything.
SO. Really cool idea, and mostly well executed.
The book can be broken down into roughly equal thirds:
1. The Encounter – High octane action. Tunneling through space, owning hostile aliens, finding HUMANS on the other side of the galaxy, I loved it. Tore through the pages.
2. Quarantine – Less action, more relationship growth. A lot of world-building took place masquerading as getting-to-know-you. I thought it was cleverly done, and, overall, liked this section too. BUT. Seeds for a major discovery were being sown, so when said discovery was made and met with various denials and attempts to circumvent, I was annoyed b/c we’d already learned that when it happens, there’s no undoing it.
3. Diplomacy – About as action-packed as it sounds. I really appreciated what Johnson did with her world’s government, which was basically to create a new one in which the leadership is legitimately held directly accountable by the people. BUT. This section was almost entirely politics and the aforementioned attempts at denial.
It should be noted that Johnson states in her author’s note that this series is a First Contact series vs the heavy military science fiction of THEIRS NOT TO REASON WHY, and that this is only the first act of a three-part play, with most of the action being held in reserve for the final installment.
That being said, I felt it started with a bang and ended with a fizzle.
Overall, I still very much enjoyed THE TERRANS, the first installment of Jean Johnson’s FIRST SALIK WAR trilogy, and I’ll definitely read the next book and the other series besides. That pretty much says it all, does it not? Recommended.
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