The Foreigner Series

by C.J. Cherryh



Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: DAW
Original Publication Dates: Foreigner (1994), Invader (1995), Inheritor (1996), Precursor (1999) Defender (2001), Explorer (2002), Destroyer (2005), Pretender (in the works)
Reviewed: February 2005

This brief review cannot do justice to this incredible series. It's projected to be three trilogies (at least) - nine books. (The last two books are not yet published.) It's world-building at its finest. It reminds me a bit of Hunter of Worlds, with its heavy linguistic emphasis. Though instead of humans and three different species, there is one alien species, the atevi, and three human populations with different agendas, who have drifted so far apart that they seem more alien than the atevi.

Some Cherryh fans would probably file intent if they saw that I rated this series 4-1/2 stars, instead of five. But I could not quite justify five stars. There are Cherryh books that are better than Foreigner. Perhaps because of its extraordinary length, the quality is sometimes uneven. Defender was particularly weak. Destroyer has similar flaws; though there's a bit more action, it's so very similar to the action we saw in the first trilogy.

The series took awhile to grow on me. I found the first book mediocre; entertaining, but nothing to write home about. It was just barely entertaining enough to get me to buy and read the second one. But after the third one, I was hooked. So far, the third and fourth books, Inheritor and Precursor, are my favorites.

Related Links:

C.J. Cherryh's Worlds - C.J. Cherryh's official site.

Shejidan - The name of this site is from the Foreigner series, but it's a general Cherryh site, with art, discussion, etc. IMO, the best Cherryh site on the net.

A Cherryh Bibliography - Fantastic Fiction's complete list of C.J. Cherryh's books.