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Jaran: Jaran Series, Book 1 (The Novels of the Jaran)

Jaran - Kate Elliott So I give up on this book. I’m simply not in the mood for this and honestly I couldn’t care less about the plot, its characters or the intrigue.

This really isn’t a bad novel in itself. I appreciated especially that the author took her time to show us a different world with a different culture. Our heroine is stranded on the planet Rhui without the means to communicate to her brother, the Duke in charge of the planets in this territory. Tess attempts to get to the bottom of a supposed conspiracy against her brother by the Chapalii, an alien race that rules all territories. All science fiction in this books stems from this background but isn’t an integral part to the story, as Rhui is a planet populated by nomadic people quite similar to Arabs 2000 years or more ago on Earth. I don’t mean this in the least pejorative. According to Wikipedia in Biblical etymology, "Arab" (in Hebrew Arvi {{he:ערבי}}) comes from the desert origin of the people (Arava means wilderness). It is quite interesting how intricate and realistic the Jaran society and customs are depicted throughout the plot. Kate Elliott really did a good job creating this nomadic world. And for a while there I was really immersed into the story.

But Jaran is not really a science fiction novel and I sorely missed this element. I mean if something is taking place in the future, and space travel, alien races and intergalactic politics and intrigues are mentioned you want to see them played out. But for the main part this story takes place in an environment equal to 500 BC in the Middle East on Earth. Why look so far afield when there is so much close at hand?

Another complaint from my part: this story moves damn slowly. I mean Tess is learning the language of the tribe of this planet and learning to ride and trying to understand the very different culture and them she learns songs and native legends and myths. That's all well and good, but 35% into the story the romance didn't even start, not even romantic interest is really shown. Instead she is having casual sex with someone else.



In addition, the charismatic Jaran ruler, Ilya, is not that charismatic to me. He doesn’t talk much, he has a beard and imho he is something of a fanatic, who tries to lead a holy war. I couldn’t get this picture out of my head, and even the fluid grace of his walk, couldn’t make up for the facial hair and his brooding character.



The missing romance is a minor part compared to the overall missing emotions. I don’t care about the characters. I don’t care about the supposed conspiracy and Kate Elliott didn’t make me care. Conversations are ruled by customary phrasings and conduct: men talk to women this way, women to women talk this way. If a man touches you on your arm it means this, if he touches you on your shoulder it means something completely different. It’s all a bunch of traditions and norms, semantic nuances and honestly: Who the fuck cares? And to top it off there is this moment where they ride through the landscape and Ilya and Tess suddenly start talking about Newton and Aristotle and Plato.



My conclusion: this book is simply not for me, but I really understand what people like about it. It’s just not the right time for me to read it.