Friday, August 14, 2015

#Review - The Terrans by Jean Johnson (Science Fiction)

Series: First Salik War # 1
Format: E-Galley, 464 pages
Release Date: July 28, 20156
Publisher: ACE
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Science Fiction

Jean Johnson's first novel in an explosive new science fiction trilogy set in the world of the national bestselling Theirs Not to Reason Why series—set two-hundred years earlier, at the dawn of the First Salik War…

Born into a political family and gifted with psychic abilities, Jacaranda MacKenzie has served as a border-watcher and even spent time as a representative on the United Planets Council. Now she just wants to spend her days in peace and quiet as a translator—but the universe has other plans…

Humans have long known that they would encounter more alien species, and while those with precognitive abilities agree a terrible war is coming, they do not agree on who will save humanity—a psychic soldier or a politician.

But Jackie is both.

After she is pressured into rejoining the Space Force to forestall the impending calamity, Jackie makes an unsettling discovery. Their new enemy, the Salik, seem to be rather familiar with fighting Humans—as if their war against humanity had already begun…

The Terrans, by Jean Johnson, is the first installment in the First Salik War Trilogy. This series apparently takes place 200 years before the authors Theirs Not To Reason Why series which I haven't read. According to the publisher, it is not necessary to read the previous series before jumping into this one. The Terrans features Jacaranda (Jackie) MacKenzie who is recalled to active duty with a promotion and a large role in what happens to the United Planets for which she serves. Jackie becomes part of a new team that is to be Earth's face to new alien races. If you've watched any of the Star Trek movies, or the TV show, you know that First Contact is when Earthlings meet with a brand new never before known species and offers up knowledge, an alliance, and other things necessary to maintain a good relationship between the species. 

Often times, Terrans travel light years at a heart beat, and come across nothing of importance. Other times, there is contact. This happens when Jackie's team on the Aloha 9 encounters a hostile race of aliens known as the Salik, and ends up rescuing humans called the V'Dan from being eaten alive by the Salik. Jackie is a psychic with powerful abilities which makes her the idea interpreter and face of the Terrans. So powerful in fact, that visions of her meeting new alien races cause the powers that be to name her Ambassador at large. Jackie prides herself in being honorable, ethical, direct and not easily swayed by special interests. Something US Politicians of both parties should take note of and follow. She takes a whole lot of grief from one of her crew members but refuses to back down at any time. 

Jackie, and her family are an interesting collection of individuals. Johnson uses a definite Polynesian influence on this story, and the ships that are sent out to explore the universe are called the Aloha. In fact, this story, when not in outer space, is set in Hawaii where the V'Dan get their first real look at what life has in store on Earth. The author's use of the Polynesian language takes a bit to get used to, but otherwise, the story kept me entertained. There is a bit of a presumed romance, as it were. Her love interest, Captain Li'eth Ma'an-uq'en is a V'Dan who looks human and has strange markings that the Terrans don't have. Li'eth explains that humans without markings would be considered children on their home planet. Guess we'll have to wait for the second book to see how that is played out. One could say that Johnson isn't afraid to use a bit of socio-political commentary to get her point across, and isn't afraid to use Jackie in order to try to remind folks that even severe differences between people can be resolved if you are willing to listen.

The Terrans is a book filled with mind boggling science, political shuffling and maneuvering, intensive at times information dump, and a whole bunch of characters getting to know the other while in quarantine. Downside? Not as action intensive as I would have hoped for. The first encounter with the Salik is the best example of an action packed scene that is well done, and shows how powerful Jackie can really be. Otherwise, The Terrans is best explained as being a conversational getting to know you piece between the Terrans and the V'Dan who honestly thought they were the only humans in the known galaxy.

So, if you love a bit of science fiction in your daily diet, then yes, I do recommend that you pick up the Terrans and read it. 

**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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