The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Page Count: 320
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice
Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.
Slow but Steady
Science fiction is a tricky genre for me. I respect it, but I've never really connected with it as a reader. Plus, I look for at least a bit of romance in everything I read, and the sci-fi books I've read rarely have enough to satisfy me. So when I do chance upon a sci-fi book that hits the right notes for me, needless to say, it's a big deal.
The Best of All Possible Worlds was an interesting reading experience for me. The premise itself is pretty straightforward. A once-powerful, scientifically-minded alien race suddenly finds itself homeless, and a group of male survivors seeks refuge in the colony of Cygnus Beta. As a government scientist and language expert, Cygnus Beta native Grace is assigned as a liaison to the Sadiri to help them set up homesteads (settlements) and further integrate into Cygnus Beta society. Her Sadiri counterpart in this endeavor is Dllenahkh, and together, with a small team of other Sadiri and Cygnus Beta representatives, they set off on an expedition across the colony.
There was a lot of stopping here and going there, and the result is a patchwork collection of scenes sewn together. For the most part, that style worked, but I have to admit, I sometimes felt like I was reading filler, and I'd find myself impatiently waiting for The Next Big Thing to happen. It's also impossible to avoid comparisons between the Sadiri and the Vulcans from Star Trek. Personally, I didn't mind that, although I suspect some readers might.
The real meat and bones of this book is the relationship between Grace and Dllenahkh. Theirs is a thoughtful, mature relationship based on mutual respect, liking, and shared interests. Despite having very different personalities and backgrounds, Grace and Dllenahkh work extremely well together. Their interactions are so right and natural, and it's obvious they hold one another in high regard. Did I hope for a romance between them? You betcha! The potential is certainly there, but the hints are subtle. Almost too subtle. And yet, somehow, I was fine with it. As much as I wanted big declarations of love, or better yet, some hot and sexually charged moments, I didn't need it. That's practically unheard of for me.
Though slow at times and loosely structured, The Best of All Possible Worlds turned out to be a fascinating sci-fi novel and one I'd recommend to anyone who likes character driven stories with light romantic elements.
3 Stars ★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.