Sunday, October 13, 2013

Review: Jaran (Jaran #1) by Kate Elliott

Release Date: July 30, 2013 (first published 1992)
Publisher: Open Road Media
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

The first book of Kate Elliott’s epic Novels of the Jaran, set in an alien-controlled galaxy where a young woman seeks to find her own life and love, but is tied to her brother’s revolutionary fate
In the future, Earth is just one of the planets ruled by the vast Chapalii empire. The volatility of these alien overlords is something with which Tess Soerensen is all too familiar. Her brother, Charles, rebelled against them at one time and was rewarded by being elevated into their interstellar system—yet there is reason to believe they murdered his and Tess’s parents.
Struggling to find her place in the world and still mending a broken heart, Tess sneaks aboard a shuttle bound for Rhui, one of her brother’s planets. On the ground, she joins up with the native jaran people, becoming immersed in their nomadic society and customs while also attempting to get to the bottom of a smuggling scheme she encountered on her journey there. As she grows ever closer to the charismatic jaran ruler, Ilya—who is inflamed by an urgent mission of his own—Tess must choose between her feelings for him and her loyalty to her brother.
Jaran is the first volume of the Novels of the Jaran, which continues withAn Earthly Crown, His Conquering Sword, and The Law of Becoming.

If you are a fan of books with lovely descriptions and long journeys of self-discovery? Do you enjoy books that are set on planets that closely mirror our own? Do you love books filled with details that show what an alien culture might be like? Most importantly, ask yourself  this...Do I like reallyreally long books?
'Cause this bad-boy is almost 600 pages long. 
Just sayin'.

Evidently, a (mostly) benevolent race of aliens has taken over our solar system. Tess' brother fought back against them, and instead of punishing him, they gave him a bunch of planets to rule over. Weird, right? Her brother decided to make Tess his heir, which elevated her status among the aliens. Their whole caste system is kinda confusing, but after a few hundred pages you get a pretty good grip on it.

It starts with Tess boarding a ship to another planet, and accidentally discovering something hinky going on that relates to a planet under her brother's rule. Sounds cool. 
I love me some evil alien stuff!
And then the sci-fi stuff sort of stops, and you end up following Tess as she rides over the countryside with a group of nomads called the Jaran. 
Their society is different in the fact that women (sort of) rule the tribes. But in the same breath, they have no control over who they marry. See, the guy who wants to marry them sort of sneaks up and cuts them across the cheek. With a knife.
There are lots of other odd and interesting tidbits of their society that Tess learns to navigate during her time with the Jaran. It's a learning experience for her, and for them. That's the theme of the book, I guess. Her growing respect for a culture that, at first glance, seems barbaric. 

There's a romance that brews between Tess and one of the Jaran, but it slowly builds over the course of the story. It's also a romance that comes from respect and friendship. Let me assure you...this is no bodice ripper. 
Look elsewhere if you want to read about kinky alien-lovin', ladies!

This is not the type of book that I would seek out...ever. For me, there were too many descriptions of their surroundings, not enough hot sex with yummy guys, and the page count was too high.
That doesn't mean this was a bad book. It was well-written, it had fully developed characters, and great world-building. 
It's wasn't my cuppa, but it might be yours.


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