November 17, 2015

Sliding Scales by Alan Dean Foster

Title:  Sliding Scales
Author:  Alan Dean Foster
Pages:  257
Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Ballantine, 2004
"There.  I have marked you.  It iss all I would ever have been able to do, anyway -- but it iss something.  It iss all I can leave with you -- artist.  When you create, think of me.  Our sskinnss are sscaled and tough, our eyes vertical instead of round, and our backssidess not flat -- but we are not monssterss, Flinx."
Synopsis:  From New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster comes a fantastic new Pip and Flinx adventure starring a certain twenty-four-year-old redhead with emerald eyes and uncanny abilities and his devoted mini-dragon protector. Time and again, the daring pair have braved countless dangers to emerge victorious. But now Flinx attempts something that may be impossible for the heretofore undefeated hero. His mission: to take a vacation.

Never have the cares of the universe lain so heavily on Flinx's shoulders, nor the forces arrayed against him seemed so invincible. Pursued by a newly revealed sect of doomsday fanatics, hunted by factions inside and outside the Commonwealth for transgressions real and imagined, expected to single-handedly avert a looming galactic crisis (or bear responsibility for the consequences), Flinx can be forgiven for feeling a slight touch of melancholy.

There's only one solution for what ails Flinx, according to his ship's AI. But taking time off is tricky business. With an increasing number of enemies chasing him with ever-greater enthusiasm, Flinx must find a getaway shrouded in obscurity. Jast, a planet smack in the middle of nowhere, is the perfect locale.

Yet even in a place where hardly anyone's ever seen a human, Flinx and trouble can't stay separated for long. Unfortunately, Flinx hasn't a clue that his vacation paradise is in reality a danger zone of the highest magnitude. And by the time he learns the truth, it may be too late.

Review:  This book shows me that no matter how little I like a species, a good author can make me actually kind of love them.  Chraluuc, an AAnn, takes Flinx in and formally adopts him.  Flinx has lost his memory and cannot even remember his ship exists.  But a group of AAnn, all artists by trade, accept him into the fold and allow him to become part of their group, their Tier.

In the end, Chraluuc, who seemed to be very close to in love with Flinx, gives up her life for his.  This book seems so appropriate now, when so many people are hating an entire religion for the actions of a few.  Unfortunately, the stories are somewhat reliable in that Flinx beats unbeatable odds to defy death.  I want to know how the end works out, but I need something new now.

I'd hoped to finish this series this year, but I'm already feeling a little like I need a break, good as this story was.  I imagine this series will take me a bit more time since there are 8 more books yet to read.

Rating:  8 / 10

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