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Read Beholder's Eye (1998)

Beholder's Eye (1998)

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3.92 of 5 Votes: 4
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0886778182 (ISBN13: 9780886778187)
daw books

Beholder's Eye (1998) - Plot & Excerpts

'THE WEBUnited in their natural for they are one, sharing all their memories, experiences, and lives. Apart they are six, the only existing members of their ancient race, a species with the ability to assume any form once they understand its essence.Their continued survival in a universe filled with races ready to destroy anyone perceived as different is based on the Rules.And first among those Rules is: Never reveal your true nature to another being.But when the youngest among them, Esen-ali-Quar, receives her first independent assignment to a world considered safe to explore, she stumbles into a trap no one could have anticipated. Her only means of escape lies in violating the First Rule. She reveals herself to a fellow captive – a human being. While this mistake might not ordinarily prove fatal, the timing of the vent could not be worse. For something new has finally made its way into this Universe, the Enemy of the Web, bringer of death to all forms of life. And the hunt is about to begin! ’Blurb from the 1998 Daw paperback editionIt’s an excellent page-turner this, which races along from moon to ship to planet at a breakneck pace and is a tale of a shape-shifter, part of a gestalt organism, the only one of its kind in the galaxy, now forced to abandon the rules of her race and reveal the true nature of her species to a human male.Interestingly, there are no male shapeshifters and this subtly colours the nature and motives of the individual members of the gestalt.Despite it being well-written and compulsive reading it is flawed by Czerneda’s tendency to create ‘Star Trek’ aliens since the majority of them are humanoid and/or originate on Earth type planets.We seldom get full descriptions of the alien races and so it is sometimes difficult to visualise what sort of alien our hero Esen has morphed into.There are some interesting creations such as The Hive World society and the Ganthor, but even these are lessened by other societies such as the Kraosians and the Articans which are stereotypical Star Trek races.The process of ‘cycling’ is beautifully thought through as is the concept of the ‘Web’ (as the gestalt calls itself) which considers itself to be a memory based depository for the races and cultures of the galaxy, many of whom have been wiped out (often by themselves).Esen, although the youngest of the gestalt, is around five hundred years old, but is a child in terms of her own race. She is forced to grow up very quickly by both the fact of an Enemy who wishes to destroy all her kind and the discovery of a hidden truth regarding the nature of her own species, while all the time entering into a slowly deepening relationship with Paul Ragem, the human whose life she saves at the start of the novel.Czerneda undoubtedly has a niche in the popular end of the SF market but is, I feel, capable of far better. This strikes me as competent but very safe novel and I look forward to reading Czerneda when she spreads her wings a little and enters more challenging territory.It’s enjoyable. It’s not great literature. It asks no great questions and there are certainly no great answers but it is excellent escapism and leaves one wanting more, which is all one can really ask for.

This was very disappointing. I've read other books by this author which were much better. The biggest let down was the character for me. Though this was written in the late 90's, it reads much like the post-twilight books (but with way too much description). It's your standard, dumb girl syndrome. It could have worked if it was a rebellious streak or something out of the character's hands, but it was not written this way. It simply went - Don't reveal yourself.... "Oh no, I have revealed myself. Even though its the one thing I should never ever ever do." That just makes me think a character is stupid. It was a book written around the idea of -doing- what you're told not to do. It should have been about the problem of what -happens- when you do what you're told not to do. If there had been a better reason for her cycling through and showing her true form, that would have been a lot more believable/enjoyable. This was simple a retarded alien, how she messes up, repeatedly, makes more stupid choices etc. Why would I want to read about a stupid character? Hence, I only read 23%.

What do You think about Beholder's Eye (1998)?

This is a stand alone novel (despite the sub title) where the main character is a shape shifting being part of a Web (not the internet!). Which means that the POW shifts from this character under any form, any perception levels, from formless protoplasm to canids, with savory sentences like :- on the other hoof... - I narrowed my eyes at the dealer. He narrowed all six of his eyes back at me... A satisfying read, and not at all the usual boy-meets-(shape-shifting)-girl-usual-ending. The value and strength of friendship is well emphasized.Julie Czerneda writes what is manly called "hard" SF, using her background in biology. No, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to write SF, but a good grasp on biology does help!

Do you have a habit that helps you thing? Are you a kinesthetic learner? Then you might be able to understand the main character's role here. Czerneda writes my favorite aliens. Claiming the title of biologist as her day job, she may just have a few things to say about how another species works. I love this series in particular because she manages to capture what it would be like for a secret species, in a starfield of species, to be hiding from all the rest, secretly blending in for their own protection. Heartfelt, gripping, and fascinating, I like to re-read these from time to time.
—Marleda Jones

Great start to a wonderful series. I'm always impressed when an author comes up with a brilliant new world and alian species. The author does an amazing job of creating emotion from physical descriptions, not just dialog. She's a really gifted writer and her species and the interactions between them are well thought out and meaningful. The conflict is super charged and the action is quick....kind of like a Bond movie only with a plot and fully realized characters! Great Sci-fi. I look forward to reading the others in the series.

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