Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Review: Fire Season by David Weber and Jane Lindskold

Fire Season (Star Kingdom)
Author: David Weber and Jane Lindskold
Publication: Baen (October 2, 2012)

Description: Second entry in a new young adult series by New York Times best seller David Weber, and the prequel to the hugely popular Honor Harrington adult science fiction saga.  

Fire in the forest–and a cry for help from a trapped and desperate alien mother! Unfortunately, this is one cry no human can hear. Stephanie Harrington, precocious fourteen-year-old Provisional Forest Ranger on the planet Sphinx, knows something is wrong from the uneasy emotion that is flooding into her from her treecat friend, Climbs Quickly.  But though Stephanie’s alien comrade shares a tight bond with his two-legs, whom he knows as Death Fang’s Bane, he cannot communicate directly to her the anguished call from one of his people. 

Still, their strong and direct bond of feeling may be enough. Stephanie and fellow ranger Karl Zivonik respond to Climbs Quickly’s rising waves of distress. Fire season on the pioneer world of Sphinx has begun.  But there are those who want to use the natural cycle of the planet for personal gain –and to get rid of the one obstacle that stands in the way of acquiring even greater land and power on Spinx: the native treecats. 

Now it’s up to Stephanie, Climbs Quickly along with their friends, family, and allies to prevent disaster and injustice from befalling a treecat clan.  But in the process Stephanie must be certain to preserve the greatest secret all.  It is the knowledge that the treecats of Sphinx are not merely pets or servants, but are highly intelligent in their own right–that they are a species fully deserving of rights, respect, and freedom. And keeping the secret that will allow the treecats time to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with humankind. 

It all begins with the friendship of a girl and her treecat.

My Thoughts: This is the second adventure featuring Stephanie Harrington and the treecat she calls Lionheart but who calls himself Climbs Quickly. This time a study team has come to the planet Sphinx to study the treecats to determine their intelligence. Along with the team comes the son of the team leader - Anders Whittaker. Stephanie develops her first crush on him which the team leader wants to encourage in the hopes that she will share more with the team than she has shared in the past.

Stephanie is also concerned about getting her provisional air-car license and her role as a junior ranger in the Sphinx Forest Service. Her parents are concerned about her lack of friends her own age but Stephanie is slowly learning that all the kids her age are not "blackholes." She has always been friends with fellow junior SFS ranger Karl Zivonik but now she is getting to know some other kids - Toby, Jessica, Christine and Chet.

When the expedition including Anders goes missing (because of the arrogance of his father Dr. Whittaker), Stephanie is very concerned about locating them. The concern gets even higher when lightning-strike fires occur. Stephanie and Karl and their friends have to rescue a clan of treecats that are in the way of the fires and stumble on and rescue the scientists at the same time.

The story was entertainingly told both from Stephanie's and Climbs Quickly's points of view. We could see Climbs Quickly's frustration that the two-legs just didn't understand what the treecats were trying to tell them. He also had to try to understand the volatile emotions of Stephanie as she grows from child to woman. 

I recommend this book and the first book in the series - A Beautiful Friendship - to all young science fiction fans. 

Favorite Quote:
Yet even as Stephanie turned her attention to charting the spread of a tongue of the secondary fire, a sense that she was partaking in a deep betrayal filled her. She shouldn't be here. She should be out there, searching for someone. For one someone. For Anders.

There were times when being smart enough to know where duty lay distinctly sucked.
I bought this one when it was released. You can buy your copy here.

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