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Star of Danger by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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English (6)  French (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I remember the Darkover Series as edgy, fantastic, and pushing the envelope, with a heady mix of telepathy/technology, strict cultural codes, clear but not tacitly acknowledged gay relationships. An edifice of triggers for a budding lesbian/feminist. What I'd forgotten was that MZB was often repetitive, with a writing voice that strove for sonorous dignity but missed. And "show, don't tell" wasn't part of her writing philosophy.
The plot is simple,with the requisite adventures, joys and resentments. This is the first meeting between Kennard Alton and Larry Montray, Much is revealed about the tangled history of Darkover and its denizens, and as is true of much sff, it's not the star that's the danger - it's the people.. (It's hard to describe more of the plot without spoilers.)
And yet, for all my nitpicking, MZB's Darkover remains one of my favorite series ever. Hence the 4 stars. It's worth reading.

(Plus, novels were MUCH shorter then!) ( )
  KarenIrelandPhillips | Jun 29, 2014 |
It's been about ten days since I finished Star of Danger. I sat down to review it just now, and I drew a blank: I couldn't remember the story! Finding a synopsis on the web helped to remind me. But it does go to show that Star of Danger wasn't all that memorable.

When I began reading the Darkover books, I was hoping to immerse myself in a fascinating universe. So far, I'm only getting a wading pool. Well, that's not entirely fair: the world of Darkover actually is a fascinating creation. But, Bradley's character work, plotting and writing is a bit of a letdown. There's something slightly generic about the characters, the way they speak and think -- I can't quite make myself suspend disbelief.

If you've read my other reviews, you know that I suspect that Bradley's writing improves over the course of the many Darkover tales. This is one of the earlier books. Still. If I was hoping for something as impressive as The Firebrand or as memorable as The Catch Trap, I can't say that Star of Danger even comes close to her best work.

So -- am I recommending this book or not? I'd say: read it and enjoy, but don't ramp up your expectations. You do not need to have read the previously written Darkover books. Bradley herself said that they were each written to stand alone as self-contained novels.

Star of Danger has a Young Adult novel flavor to it. It's a story of two young men -- in their mid-teens, I think -- who meet and become unlikely friends, as their respective societies distrust each other and forbid such friendships. Intrigue ensues: the friendship carries the power to open up a new understanding between these two peoples, yet it also has the potential to lead to open conflict. I could tell you which ends up happening, but that wouldn't be very nice, would it?

( )
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
I'm a fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley, but my affection for her rests not on the Avalon books, which I didn't care for, but her Darkover series. Darkover is a "lost colony" of Earth that falls into a medieval society. Ruled by a psychic aristocracy after centuries it's rediscovered by a star-spanning high-tech human federation, giving the series a feel of both science fiction and fantasy. The series as a whole features strong female characters, (although not in this particular book) but it has enough swashbuckling adventure to draw the male of the species, and indeed this series was recommended to me by a guy (when we were in high school!)

Although some books are loosely connected, having characters in common, they were written to be read independently and were written out of sequence. Part of the difficulty of knowing what to read, and in what order to read, comes from that. This is an early book in terms of Marion Zimmer Bradley's career, in my opinion before she had come into her own and honed her craft. It's one of the weaker books in the series, and because MZB decided not to let the hobgoblin of inconsistency trap her into ideas she outgrew, you'll find things that won't fit with books that were written later. This is definitely not the book where I'd start with the series (I'd recommend either The Shattered Chain or Heritage of Hastur.) However, it is an entertaining read and as a fan of the Darkover books, I'm happy having it among my books. But it doesn't represent the series at its best. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Oct 22, 2012 |
This was one of the first of the Darkover books that I read. It has always been my favorite of the early ones. ( )
  barbgarcia1987 | Apr 23, 2011 |
The book was pretty good. I was a little disappointed with it mainly because I am used to MZB’s feminist literature and was expecting something more along the lines of that. There was only one female in the whole book and she had a very minor role. The book gave a too much away. In the beginning they tell you that the Darkovan people are humans (non-humans live there too) and speak a variation of early earthly languages. Then at the end you find out in a big revelation that the Darkovan humans are really earthlings from back in the day. You do find out some other cool stuff at the end that does change your perspective a little though. Another thing that I didn’t like so much about this book was the way it got started. You weren’t into the main rising action of the book until it was half-over. It just wandered a little too much.

The world of Darkover is great though. The culture is new, exciting and different. There is magic to take place, mysterious powers to understand. There are non-humans to imagine. The other-worldly feeling is rich and very well constructed. ( )
  rbtwinky | May 7, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marion Zimmer Bradleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, MelvynCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hilling, SimoneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hundertmarck, RosemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kukalis, RomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reinert, KirkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siudmak, WojtekCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valla, RiccardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my son Patrick but for whose help this book would have been written much sooner.
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It didn't look at all like an alien planet.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The natives of Darkover were human, but hostile to the Earth colonists who had come to their planet. Larry Montray, however, was able to become friendly with the Altons, an important clan, and was one of the few Terrans ever to observe Darkovan life and customs at first hand.

But Larry was to get much more than he bargained for - he found himself in the middle of a feud older than memory; a feud fought by unknown beings, a deadly beasts  and alien intelligences ... and his actions were to determine the fate of every Terran on the planet of the Blood Red sun.
    ------------------------------------

the bandit leader gestured Larry to sit on the bench, and then drew a strange jewel stone that flashed blue out from a cloth.

"I hardly dare to hope you will make will make this easy for me - or yourself. But you are going to read this for me, no matter what I have to do to persuade you."

Larry felt his hand tremble as the stone was put into it. He raised his eyes ...

Blinding pain thrust through his head while shadows became forms in the blue glare of the jewel stone. the forms became clearer - a group of men riding, the face of Lorill Hastur shrouded in a gray hood, the outline of the spaceport HQ building ...

Larry suddenly became aware of what was happening. Somehow, through this magical stone, and some power of his own, he was transmitting pictures of actual events to the raiders.

A blind fury surged up in him at the cruel man who was using him this way - such a flare of hatred as he had never felt.

As Larry's wrath surged high and red, the bandit drew a gasping breath of agony and doubled over in anguish. ...
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