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The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel by…

The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel (edition 2013)

by Karen Lord

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4083026,080 (3.69)33
Title:The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel
Authors:Karen Lord
Info:Del Rey (2013), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:sf, read, galley

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The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord


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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
The Best of All Possible Worlds is a really different kind of sci-fi novel -- extremely slow-paced, very character-driven, and possibly one of the best love stories I've read, and that's coming from someone who considers herself a non-romantic type. Full review to come.

3 stars ( )
  flying_monkeys | Apr 24, 2017 |
I started writing this review over a month ago, and I still don’t think I can do a good job summarising my thoughts about this book, so I’m just going to go ahead and post this. There are some books that haunt you for days after you’re done reading them, and THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS is one of them.

Many science fiction novels tell stories of species-spanning conflicts, world-changing technologies, and boundary-stretching discoveries. These ideas are what attract many readers to sci-fi, and the Best of All Possible Worlds has its fair share of them. However, the biggest sense of wonder comes from its exquisite portrayal of a developing relationship.

The Sadiri home planet has been destroyed by an unprovoked attack, and some of them settle on Cygnus Beta, a world full of refugees trying to recreate their homes. The worst has already happened. There are probably spies trying to figure out how the attack was caused, starships trying to prevent the disaster, political scheming to gain power. This book does not focus on those people (although you’re very much aware that all of that is going on in the background).

Instead, it focuses on Grace Delarua, a Cygnian government employee and Vulcan-like Sadiri Councillor Dllenakh, whom she is helping with transitioning his people to their new world. They gradually fall in love – yes, this is a technically a romance novel, but it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read. I think that the romance grows organically from the situations and the characters; it’s not an end unto itself. Dllenakh and Delarua are very believable. There are very few romantic tropes – no instant hatred, no moments of irresistible physical attraction – just two people getting to know and like each other slowly.

Although Dllenakh and Delarua are the main focus of the story, there are a lot of other things that happen. We get to explore Cygnus Beta, whose libertarian policies have led to an enormous variety of societies – feudal, tribal and fantasy-like. We learn more about the history of the universe and the various worlds. The supporting characters are well-fleshed out and grow over the course of the book. Even though most of the book is just an exploratory mission, the plot still advances and we get an exciting climax.

The only complaint I have is that the writing of the ending is somewhat cliché, I would’ve liked it to be as subtle as the rest of the book. That’s a very small quibble though, and overall, I can’t recommend this book enough! ( )
  kgodey | Apr 11, 2017 |
Pros: interesting characters, fascinating cultures

Cons: didn’t emotionally connect with the characters, ending felt anti-climactic

Four groups of humanoids developed on different worlds. Many outcasts of those worlds found a home on Cygnus Beta. When the Sadiri homeworld becomes inhabitable, killing most of the species with it, a group of the survivors head to Cygnus Beta, where they try to find genetically compatible mates from the various settlements.

I really liked all of the characters. Delarua, as predominant narrator, is a lot of fun, and her observations of the nigh emotionless Sidari and their hints of emotional expression are wonderful. This is her story, and so her family shows up a time or two, an along with them, some person and psychological problems she faces. Dllenahkh is also great, quite unique, and I enjoyed the ‘will they, won’t they’ aspect of their relationship. I also liked that the supporting cast included a character who identified as gender-neutral.

Which is good, because while there is a plot, the book is really character driven.

The different cultures they encounter at the settlements were fascinating, especially the Seelie court. The author did an excellent job of making each one sound unique in terms of government, customs, etc.

While I enjoyed the subtle - very subtle - romance, I didn’t feel particularly invested in the characters emotionally. So for me the ending seemed to fizzle out. The two main climactic style events didn’t come with a feeling of satisfaction when they were resolved, both because of that absence of emotional connection and because they were so drawn out that any tension was gone well before the resolutions.

It was a fun, fairly quick read, with some interesting aliens, and cultures, and characters. ( )
  Strider66 | Jul 26, 2016 |
Karen Lord's second novel is difficult. A love story, encased within a tragic space operatic genocide staged all upon the homestead planet of Cygnus Beta. The book is reminiscent to an anthology, almost a therapeutical diary of one women's journey to love but at the very same time something much more. It dances upon the very idea of what a science fiction book should be.

For my full review visit: http://girlsguidetoscifi.blogspot.ca/2014/11/something-new-review-of-best-of-all... ( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
Karen Lord's second novel is difficult. A love story, encased within a tragic space operatic genocide staged all upon the homestead planet of Cygnus Beta. The book is reminiscent to an anthology, almost a therapeutical diary of one women's journey to love but at the very same time something much more. It dances upon the very idea of what a science fiction book should be.

For my full review visit: http://girlsguidetoscifi.blogspot.ca/2014/11/something-new-review-of-best-of-all... ( )
  Girlscifi | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Think “Moonlighting" with aliens. And some action, adventure, psychological thrills and thoughtful examination of the power of culture. The Best of All Possible Worlds has moments that are laugh-out-loud funny and tear-provokingly sad, which puts it on the list of best of all possible science fiction novels for this year.
added by KelMunger | editLit/Rant, Kel Munger (Jun 17, 2013)
In sum, The Best of All Possible Worlds rings refreshing changes on both the formula romance and the ensemble SF adventure series. . . . Still, if the novel isn't entirely successful in all it sets out to do, that is perhaps forgivable, given the scope of its ambitions.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Lordprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brock, CharlesCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wong, VictoriaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Dvorah, Gretchen and Ruthy.
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He always set aside twelve days of his annual retreat to finish up reports and studies, and that left twelve more for everything else.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345534050, Hardcover)

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 Miéville, 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.
“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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:07 -0400)

When their homeland is destroyed, the survivors of a proud and aloof alien society struggle to reach out to the rest of the galaxy for aid and understanding while striving to preserve their cherished way of life.

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