92 points, 4 ¾ stars
In the aftermath of civil war, the world of the atevi is still perilously unstable. Tabini-aiji, powerful ruler of the Western Association, along with his son and heir Cajeiri, and his human paidhi, Bren Cameron, have returned to the seat of power. The usurper, Murini, has escaped to the lands of his supporters, but the danger these rebels pose is far from over. Ilisidi, Tabini’s grandmother, the aiji-dowager, has returned to her ancient castle in the East, for she has powerful ties in the lands of the rebels, and she seeks to muster whatever support for her grandson that she can from among those enemy strongholds.
In his father’s tightly guarded headquarters, eight-year-old Cajeiri is horribly bored. Two years on an interstellar starship surrounded by human children have left him craving excitement. But unbeknownst to this dissatisfied youngster he has become a target for forces bent on destroying his father’s rule and everything it stands for. Though still a child, Cajeiri embodies a unique threat to the venerable, tradition-defined lifestyle of his people. For this young boy is the first ateva youth to have lived in a human environment. And after hundreds of years of tenuous atevi-human coexistence, Cajeiri may very well be the first ateva to ever truly understand the so similar yet so dangerously different aliens who share his home planet and threaten the hidebound customs of his race.
“Be at ease,” Tabini said, which surely meant it was not bad news in the offing, so he felt free to draw an easier breath. “You cannot think, nand’ paidhi, that your actions are in any sense disapproved. You should by no means seem so ill at ease.”
Did it show that badly? He tried to settle. “One hopes that this is the case, aiji-ma,” he said, “but it was a long voyage, and the aishidi’tat has seen a great deal of disturbance in the interim.”
Deliverer is a bit of an odd book. I think I rated it so highly only because it rode on the coattails of the previous books. On it’s own I was…. a bit confused what the hell the point of it even was. Plus the narration wasn’t just Bren. No, it was Bren and Cajeiri, the leader of the Atevi’s son. Who is eight years old. Effectively transforming this series into an adult/children’s book hybrid that somehow manages to mostly work.
In the beginning of the book, the first 40-50 or so percent, we establish that things are slowly returning to the way things were before a civil war broke out across the planet. Things have been changed irrevocably, and it is inherently less safe, but it is returning to normal. Bren is going back to his job, and he is talking to Tabini about things that may happen in the future.
Yet this also sets up the story of Cajeiri, the boy who is very, very confused at what he is. He spent a long time with humans, but he is Atevi. He knows humans better than he knows his own people. He doesn’t like how things are down on earth, he doesn’t like the changes in his life. He wants things to go back the way they are. And he is trying his damnedest to control his surroundings.
…. And then the rest of the book is Cajeiri has been kidnapped and Bren of all people have to go after him. The human diplomat to the atevi aishidi’tat. (This makes no sense lol). It’s a whole bunch of politics, very quickly. and most of the kidnapping isn’t even from Cajeiri’s perspective, which is where you would expect it to be utilized the most, until towards the end. It just.. didn’t seem to matter to the overall series. It didn’t tie up the trilogy well. It didn’t seem to do anything, and it distracted from other big going ons. I can only assume that it will play some part later on but for now it just seems out of place and a not so good ending to a trilogy. (Future keikii: it did not.)
Still loved reading it, though. Because Cherryh is magic.