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23 July 2006 @ 01:36 am
The Light Years Beneath My Feet - Alan Dean Foster  
Title: The Light-Years Beneath My Feet
Author: Alan Dean Foster
Genre: scifi


Summary: This is the second book in a trilogy, though I’m not sure if the third is out yet. In the first one, our hero, Marcus Walker (a former football player and current commodities broker) was kidnapped by aliens while camping. While held captive on a ship (the villains, the Vilenjji, sell primitive life forms on the black market as pets for more advanced species), he befriends George, a dog with artificially advanced intelligence and the ability to talk; Sque, a super-intelligent squid-like creature; and Braouk, a giant, temperamental alien that also happens to love poetry and verse. The group teams up and eventually escapes their captors, and come to live on an advanced planet. Of course, what they really want is to go home…But they have no idea where home is, and the Vilenjji aren’t telling.

In the second book, Marc has learned to cook for aliens, and is so good at it that a new species, the Niyyuu, bring him and his companions to their home planet as celebrities. They claim they’ll help the group find their homes, but make no move to do so. So Marcus and company put together a dashing plan to manipulate the local political war structure, gather power, and force their hosts to help. After a couple more attempts at recapturing them by the Vilenjji, they succeed and find the general location of one of the homeworlds. With help and supplies from the Niyyuu, they’re off to search.

Review: Meh. I picked up the first one for light summer reading a year ago; I did the same for the sequel, but and haven’t decided if I’ll bother with the third. The first one was better than the second, in that I felt compelled to finish. This one, I almost didn’t. The characters were pretty flat and uninteresting, and the whole book felt lazily written—it was clear that the world was set up to play to the characters’ strengths so they could easily take it on and get off it, not that the characters were plunked down on a strange world and were able to use their strengths to manipulate it. And none of the characters did anything for me—I had to look up two of the four characters’ names (and sadly, that includes Marcus.)

I got what I wanted out of the book, which was something to read on the subway, and nothing else. The concept of the series isn’t bad, but this book was forgettable. Hopefully the third will be better, as they’ll actually be out doing something, not wandering around in what feels like a book thrown together because the writer’s contract was for a trilogy and he needed something for them to do in the middle.
 
 
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