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The Forlorn by Dave Freer
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The Forlorn (1999)

by Dave Freer

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Showing 5 of 5
I find it difficult to quantify why I’m giving this book four stars because the book had a lot of flaws, but I really enjoyed the story. It takes place on a planet where humans and members of a xenophobic alien race are in conflict. Technology exists that could help the humans survive but, due to some sort of a mysterious betrayal, that technology has been scattered around the planet and/or disabled. Only certain kinds of people are able to use the technology, and most of the humans on the planet seem to be oblivious to the fact that this technology exists.

I think one of the things I liked the most and the least about this book was that it kept me guessing. In general, my interest is held better by books that don’t spoon feed information to me but rather give me a chance to figure things out for myself first. The author starts the story off in the middle of the action, and he doesn’t really bother to explain what the heck is going on. Within a couple of pages you grasp the obvious – scared boy touches amulet, seemingly-magical things happen, danger follows. But what is the amulet? How did he get it? How does it work? While you’re speculating on these things, you’re drawn further into the world and you start gathering more questions – what are the Morkth? Why are they there? What exactly happened to bring the humans to the planet they’re on now? Why do only some humans seem to know or care about what happened? Why is one character apparently part ape?

I had a constant stream of questions as I was reading the book, and I enjoyed trying to figure out the answers, but the problem was that not all of the questions were answered by the end of the book and sometimes the lack of answers made it difficult to correctly interpret other events in the book. So the aspect of the book that I enjoyed throughout most of the story started to get annoying by the end. There were some things that were never fully explained, and some things that were explained unclearly. And then, when I got to the end of the book, there was a brief but very informative appendix. I wish I’d thought to check for such a thing sooner! The appendix explained quite a few things that had still been unclear to me by the end of the book, and it gave information that I’m quite sure was never conveyed as part of the story. I don’t mind if an author keeps me guessing – in fact, I like it. But sooner or later I want definite answers and they should be contained in the story and provided in time for me to fully appreciate their ramifications.

Some of the characters were interesting. I liked the main character, Keilin, even though his story was a rather familiar one. He starts off as a scared, homeless boy just trying to survive and ends up playing a large role in the events of the story. I found his character growth believable, if a little predictable, but I wouldn’t have minded more stories showing that growth. One of the other main characters, Shael, started off as a pretty horrible, unlikeable character, but she grew more likeable once she got out from under the influence of her father. There were other characters who were more interesting and unique than the main characters but didn’t get enough “page time”, particularly S’kith. I would have loved to see more of his discoveries about life in general, and I would have enjoyed spending more time in his head once his horizons started to expand as a result of his adventures. I think there were a lot of missed opportunities with him. The villainous characters, on the other hand, all seemed pretty ridiculous to me. They were all purely evil and self-centered, and they were usually pretty stupid too.

The ending was also very abrupt. The main issues were resolved and then it was over. There were so many things that could have been expanded on to flesh the ending out better, and so many questions about what the characters did next that I wanted to see answered. But, even though I found many flaws in the book, in the end I was just wrapped up in the story and I enjoyed it despite its flaws. ( )
  YouKneeK | Sep 24, 2014 |
The cover baffles me. What's inside is a coming of age story featuring hive-dwelling aliens, perilous treks, intrigue, betrayal and sacrifice, and a small amount of romance. ( )
  SunnySD | Nov 30, 2013 |
This is Dave Freer's first novel, and a pretty good one.

You get a little of the planetary romance flavour with swords and what seems like ancient superscience. And yes, there is of course a space princess. Humans have been toasted by the alien Morkth, except on one colony world. Here, we have a technological regression for both parties, the human colonists and the alien oppressors.

Both have small pockets of technology that seems amazing to most of the rest, centred on their ships and hives.

The wrinkle is some humans have psionic talents - and these abilities allow the powering of matter transmitters and other amazing technology, as long as conditions are right.

So the aliens and the captain of the original human ship plot to their own ends to be able to get back into space. With the princess and young survivor in the middle of swords, spears, the desert and alien breeding programmes. Not to mention the political conflicts between empires of the humans, including father of said princess.

I rather enjoyed this.

3.5 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0671578316/0671578316.htm

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/wordpress/2011/03/the-forlorn-dave-freer/ ( )
  BlueTysonSS | Mar 14, 2011 |
On a distant planet almost overrun by hostile, bug-like aliens, one small group of heroes struggles to find the missing pieces of a core drive for an ancient colonizing ship in an effort to save the world. Treachery, intrigue, adventure and death - and that's just the first chapter!

A Baen Free e-book available at http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0671578316/0671578316.htm. ( )
  SunnySD | Dec 8, 2010 |
Showing 5 of 5
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