Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#Wednesday Review - The V'Dan by Jean Johnson (Science Fiction)

Series: First Salik War # 2
Format: Paperback, 414 pages
Release Date: December 29, 2015
Publisher: Penguin (ACE)
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction

The V'Dan always believed they were the chosen race, destined to make a mark on the galaxy. For the last few centuries, they had 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 Li’eth and Jackie’s last and only hope to save their people from extinction.

The V'Dan is the second installment in Jean Johnson's First Salik War series. This series actually takes place 200 years before the Theirs Not to Reason Why series. In order to understand the intricacies and political shenanigans that take place in this story, you must read the first book called The Terrans. You have to understand that like all middle books, if you miss the first story, you miss the characters who were previously introduced, the reason why you should care about them, and the setting that Johnson has created.

If you have read Theirs Not to Reason Why series, then you are already familiar with her style of writing, and therefore you will smoothly transition to this series. This series actually focuses on two main characters; Jacaranda MacKenzie, Ambassador of the Terran United Planets, and V’Dan Crown Prince Li’eth. Since the two are connected on a cellular level now, you can't really talk about one, without mentioning the other. One of the main bones of contention in this series is the differences between the V'Dan and the Terrans. 

A large portion of The V'Dan see the Terrans as children because they don't have the jungen marks that indicate if a person is an adult or not. This bone of contention will remain an item for those who have small minds. They will never concede the idea of equality no matter how many times you smack them in the head. Sad to say, unlike The Terrans, The V'Dan is much more of political novel than action packed. Most of the story takes place either on a space station, or within the halls of Jackie's new Embassy on the planet.

I will say that I respect the hell out of Jackie as a character. I am impressed that Johnson hasn't in no way changed the way she wants her character to behave, or how much she shoots straight from the hip when someone gets on her bad side. I dare say that I would LOVE to have a person like Jackie as President of THIS country. Jackie stands up for her people. She never dismisses them, ignores them, demeans, them, or tries to label them as her enemies just because they have a difference of opinion from hers. She goes up against powerful people in order to get a fair shake and a cessation of racist treatment based on silly marks. 

After the Salik attack the home world of the V-Dan, things certain do chance. New leaders, new annoyances, and new challenges ahead. Jackie makes one hell of a statement in the final act of this book. One that will obviously have long term complications for the Terrans, the V-Dan, and the Alliance who need the technology the Terrans are offering. Hoping book # 3 is much more action packed than this one was.

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