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The V'Dan by Jean Johnson
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454368,463 (3.67)1
Member:jjmcgaffey
Title:The V'Dan
Authors:Jean Johnson
Info:Penguin Publishing Group
Collections:Read, ebooks, Working on
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Fic, SF, !GPB, _import151230, __make_cover, _Read2016

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The V'Dan by Jean Johnson

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This book is more about politics and social interaction than most of the other books in the First Salik War as well as Theirs Not to Reason Why series of books from this author. As such it falls a bit outside of my comfort zone which is why I was surprised at how much I actually liked this book.

Jackandra MacKenzie is sent to the V’Dan homeworld in the capacity of both military commander and ambassador for Earth with the mission to negociate a treaty between V’Dan and Earth. The mission is complicated by the fact that the V’Dan are stuck in a very traditional mind-set and, in particular, views the people from Earth as children due to the absence of the markings that all V’Dan gets when they come into puberty.

Although there are some action, especially towards the end, the majority of the book revolves around the negotiations, the social interactions and the political games. I would normally not have liked a book with so much focus on these parts but I have to say that I quite liked this one.

The mixture of the social and political parts with the psychic abilities of Jackandra, the Gestalt between Jackandra and Li’eth and perhaps the fact that, for once, it is not Earth politicians that behaves arrogantly and screws things up made for a very enjoyable read as far as I am concerned. Well there is one exception to what I just wrote. One Earth human manages to screw things up due to his arrogance and bigotry but he does get what he deserves afterwards.

Although the Earthlings are technologically inferior in many aspects they do excel in some areas, especially their psychic abilities, and the V’Dan are in for a few surprises along the way. Unfortunately, as I wrote above, they have a very traditional (arrogant) mind-set and insists on viewing and treating the Eartlings as inferior which makes Jackandra’s task quite difficult. Jackandra is not the person that takes any shit though and puts the V’Dan in their proper place on more than one occasion.

Unfortunately the Salik have their own (lunch) agenda which it can be safely stated is not exactly including the well being of neither the V’Dan nor the Earthlings. They manage to throw quite a bit if gravel into the machinery towards the end causing the more short sighted, bigoted and downright stupid V’Dan to, temporarily I hope, screw things up even more. It is safe to say that the book ends in a bit of a cliff-hanger and in a dire situation for the continued relations between V’Dan and Earth.

The book is well written with quite enjoyable characters in the same style as the first book as well as the books in the Theirs Not to Reason Why series. This means that, in addition to the negotiations and action, there are some mysteries, ancient prophecies and people that have been hanging around for hundreds (thousands?) of years to spice things up.

I am quite looking forward to the next book in the series.
( )
  perjonsson | Oct 28, 2017 |
At its core this book is about Earth's first contact with aliens and its affects on both cultures. The book has some merit in that it mocks racial prejudice. The V'Dan are born with tattoos that change as they get older. Humans who are directly related to them aren't born with then. The V'Dan use this difference as an excuse to treat Humans as children. Humans have their own prejudices to deal with. They are frighten by human sized Spider like aliens who are more advanced than they are. All the parties in this book need what the other has to offer. The question this book explores is if they can get over their fears phobias and prejudices to co-operate? The book has a romantic subplot running through it. The human heroine in the story is psychically bonded with a V'Dan whose mother is the Empress of the empire. If the two protagonists are separated by too large a distance for too long a time they will die. The question is will the politics of the imperial court prevent this? Johnson uses this book to take pot shots at religion. The V'Dan call anyone with psychic powers holy ones. Psychic powers are viewed theologically. This is contrasted with human approach to same thing which is .scientific. In this area the humans are clearly more advanced than the V'Dan because of their scientific approach. This contrast is highlighted by humans approach legal and ethical issues to these abilities. The exploration and exploitation of psychic abilities is a two edged sword in science fiction. They can enhance the story or give the writer and excuse them for a Deus ex machine ending. In the case of this story Johnson used them as the later Ultimately I was disappointed with this book. It should have been shorter. Johnson did not need to describe in detail what each of the characters was wearing at each meeting. Toward the middle of the book I began to skim those pages. The action sequences felt truncated and rushed. The book's emphasis is diplomacy. These sequences are done well but they telegraph the stories end. ( )
  Cataloger623 | Nov 23, 2016 |
SEQUEL
  Eden00 | May 14, 2016 |
Very good. It continues almost directly from The Terrans - First Contact is done, now diplomatic contact must take place. Problems range from an unnecessarily abrupt introduction to the K'Katta (arachnoid aliens) to a robot assault on Jackie - both internal problems, more or less - to a stubborn insistence that Terrans are juvenile V'Dan, both from V'Dan and from other alien races. The latter builds up until there's a serious crisis at the climax of the book...and it ends. It's not _exactly_ a cliffhanger, but there are certainly a lot of threads hanging - from Terran interaction with the Alliance to Jackie and Li'eth's personal lives. And the chapter from the next book appended at the end only opens those questions up further. I'm waiting patiently...patiently...patiently... ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Mar 4, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425276937, Mass Market Paperback)

A thrilling new perspective of the world created in the explosive, national bestselling Theirs Not to Reason Why series. It’s two hundred years earlier—the age of the First Salik War. And the battle against humanity has been engaged. 

The V’Dan always believed they were the chosen race, destined to make a mark on the galaxy. For the last few centuries, they interacted peacefully with other sentient species—save for the Salik. Cold, amphibious, and vicious, the Salik were set on one goal: to conquer every race within their grasp.

Now that the Salik’s ruthless war has begun, the fate of the galaxy is in the hands of two strange companions: Li’eth, a prince under siege and his rescuer, Jacaranda MacKenzie. A beautiful ambassador from the Motherworld, Jackie possesses more than the holy powers of a goddess. She brings a secret weapon—a strange, wondrous, and dangerous new technology that could be her and Li’eth’s last and only hope to save their people from extinction...

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 06 Jan 2016 07:44:21 -0500)

"The V'Dan always believed they were the chosen race, destined to make a mark on the galaxy. For the last few centuries, they interacted peacefully with other sentient species save for the Salik. Cold, amphibious, and vicious, the Salik were set on one goal: to conquer every race within their grasp. Now that the Salik's ruthless war has begun, the fate of the galaxy is in the hands of two strange companions: Li'eth, a prince under siege and his rescuer, Jacaranda MacKenzie. A beautiful ambassador from the Motherworld, Jackie possesses more than the holy powers of a goddess. She brings a secret weapon--a strange, wondrous, and dangerous new technology that could be her and Li'eth's last and only hope to save their people from extinction..."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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