98 points, 5 stars
The civil war among the alien atevi has ended. Tabini-aiji, powerful ruler of the Western Association, along with Cajeiri his son and heir, and his human paidhi, Bren Cameron, have returned to the Bujavid, their seat of power.
But factions that remain loyal to the opposition are still present, and the danger these rebels pose is far from over.
Banichi and Jago and Algini had lasting scars— from keeping the paidhi-aiji in one piece despite his very best efforts to get himself killed.
After the highs of the last couple of books, which have all been war-based, Intruder should have been an entire let down. It wasn’t. It was great. I didn’t want it to end. Everything was all about cleaning up from the previous few books. Bren actually had a decently easy book this time around, which is good for him because he really needed it. I mean he is still an anxiety-ridden mess but that’s his normal self.
All the problems were actually mostly wrapped up in Cajeiri, who has become even more of a great character than he was before. He has some actual character agency for once, and doesn’t just act like a child and get into trouble for others to get him out of. Cajeiri is back home, in his father’s household. And he hates it, because he is a child there when he has been treated older for almost a year now by others caring for him.
There is a lot going on for Cajeiri this book. His new sibling is close to coming, and his mother is going a bit haywire at this particular time. His parents are fighting, in part because his mother doesn’t feel like she is Cajeiri’s mother anymore. His human friends from the spaceship are close to coming down to spending his birthday with him. All Cajeiri is supposed to do is stay on his best behaviour and do what he is supposed to.
So he gets a monkey-like creature.
A loud, screeching monkey. Who is smart. Like a monkey. Who can get into trouble. Like a monkey.
He really isn’t the best at staying out of trouble, poor dear.
In contrast, all Bren really has going on is finalizing the agreement he has spent the last two books setting up. This is great, and constitutes the bulk of what I love about both the series and the book in particular. But ultimately not a lot happens with it. I wasn’t ever bored, but it should have been boring. Yet it is still a lot of the same things that have happened for awhile now.
Good thing I love this series.
Seriously, dude? You thought you could keep a monkey and stay out of trouble?