Science Fiction


Written By: Karen Traviss

Published By: EOS

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Reading the Wess’har Wars series of novels by Karen Traviss slowly has been an interesting experience.  I wait months before reading each book, giving me time to savor the novels – the writing, the messages – and with each one, I find myself fascinated by the work.  So much so, that I can pick up right where I left off no matter how long I wait between each novel.  Having just finished reading the fifth novel of the six novel series, I can’t wait to see how it will all end.

                When we last left the Wess’har Wars world, I found myself yelling at the last page of the book.  Lindsay had just given c’naatat to the last survivors of the Bezeri.  Though I understood why she was doing it – out of guilt for destroying an intelligent race because she couldn’t see the whole picture when she allowed Rayat to talk her into using cobalt-salted nukes to destroy c’naatat to insure it didn’t make it to Earth.

 I understood that Lindsay thought she was doing the right thing, but I could see the whole picture.  The Bezeri used to be a race of hunters…one who hunted another race into extinction and had no regrets for having done so.  Now, Lindsay was giving something close to immortality to a race who didn’t quite understand balanced ecology.  What did she think was going to happen?  Well, Shan Frankland and the Wess’har believe that, if what they are hearing from Rayat is true, Lindsay has just created the worst mistake she could ever make, sentencing the world of Bezer’ej to ecological disaster at the hands of the now incredibly modified Bezeri.

Lindsay could never have foretold what c’naatat would do to modify the Bezeri, including fertility, something that Shan has experienced firsthand.  Shan and the others travel to Bezer’ej to see the results of Linsday’s actions for themselves. 

Meanwhile, the Eqbas Vorhi are trying to handle multiple ecological issues at once, trying to help the Isenj reclaim their world and bring back the ecology their planet has lost, while working on a plan to travel to Earth to restore their ecology.  Fighting the battle on multiple fronts is beginning to weigh heavily on the Eqbas leader, Esganikan.  Her aide regarding the more ecologically bent Isenj has caused a civil war between the varying political factors vying for control of their planet.  Things are happening to slowly and a divide of Esganikan’s resources will delay things irrevocably. 

Bringing in another fanatical species to assist in gaining control of the situation on the Isenj planet of Umeh has not been ideal.  In fact, it has been disastrous.  And the time spent dealing with Umeh has meant a delay of dealing with Earth’s issues.  Normally, this would not be a problem, but for Esganikan, the amount of time spent dealing with all of these issues means delaying her desire to start a family in her own homeworld.  This is unacceptable to Esganikan, but will she do the unthinkable to lengthen the time she has to achieve all of her goals?

Oh man, upon finishing Ally, I found myself yelling at the last page yet again.  Though I predicted this would happen, I was still shocked.  How could a member of such an intelligent species be so desperate to disregard the implications of what c’naatat can do in an effort to further their own goals?  Especially after arguing so vehemently the need to contain the organism so it can’t infect anyone else?  I see things going very badly for all involved in the future.

I love this storyline and can’t wait to find out what happens in the conclusion of this series, but I will say that perhaps the addition of yet another alien species has proven to be a hardship on the editors.  The editing in Ally was atrocious with various names of species and characters being intertwined and tangled up to the point that you found yourself saying, “Huh?” after certain sentences, having to go back to reread them until you realize that one had been accidentally substituted for another.  It took away a little from the story, having to go back and decipher what the author had meant to write.

That being said, I still enjoyed the story  immensely and am so invested in the characters in the Wess’har Wars series that I can’t wait to read the final novel, Judge.  Whatever it is…I fear the outcome of various choices made by the main characters in this series will be disastrous for many.  One thing I’ve learned from life is that you can’t take back what has already been done.  And with the way the c’naatat problem has been spreading, I wonder just how the main characters will be able to go forward to prevent the larger ecological problem c’naatat will represent in the future.


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