88 points, 4 ½ stars
Convergence marks a new phase in the Foreigner Universe: knowledge about the dangerous situation in adjacent space rests only with Bren Cameron, the human diplomat to the alien court of the atevi, four starship captains, and the two chiefs of state—both the human and the atevi, who share the planet.
Bren is obliged to carry the just-signed treaty to the human government on an island some forty miles off the shores of the atevi-ruled megacontinent, and—without explaining the dire situation that would send the people into chaos—to arrange for the human refugees who are crowding the space station to be landed on the island, since the atevi will not grant more land to the human residents of their planet. Bren, a native of this island, is now an atevi official—trying to prepare the human inhabitants for the arrival of many more desperate human refugees from space.
“Mani says if we site a space industry in their district they will become great supporters of the ship. Perhaps we should give them a contract.”
“Change, son of mine, should be applied like salt to a dish—best taste it, understand it, and then decide.”
Hmm Convergence was..different somehow. A lot of hows, to be honest. I think if I weren’t so biasedly in love with this series I might have rated this much more poorly than I have.
While both Bren and Cajeiri have been sharing the perspective for the book since I believe book eight or nine, it is different this time around. They are much more equal characters. Cajeiri has been acting more like an adult, having more and more agency with each successive book. Acting less like chaos incarnate. This was like a test for him, and he passed with flying colours.
Bren’s story was much of the same as it has been the entire series. Politics, politics, and more politics. The difference being that it was entirely human politics, and it didn’t even have to deal with the space station or space ship. It was all Mospheiran. Tabini has sent Bren to Mospheira to make them deal with the rapidly deteriorating situation on the space station, and get Cajeiri’s friends down to the planet safe, and in a program to someday replace him as paidhi.
There is a lot of time spent trying to get the Mospheirans to see reason. Which… good luck with that. Jeez humans in this series are absolutely impossible to get along with. It is no wonder that Bren prefers to deal with the Atevi. It is a lot of what we have seen to date. A lot of meetings, mostly without tea because they were large meetings with different cabinets. Nothing special, but still damn fine to read.
Cajeiri on the other hand… has had his first solo outing. He has gone, on his own, to his great uncle Tatiseigi’s house. With permission this time! Tabini wants to show that Tatiseigi isn’t out of favour with him, and this gives a chance for Cajeiri to just be a kid and get to ride his macheiti which he has only been allowed to ride once before.
Cajeiri is learning how to do things on his own, how to direct the going ons around him on his own. It’s all politics, but of the sort a child can handle. He has to deal with keeping his family from getting even more of a mess than it already is. He is a child of politics, tying together way too many lines.
But he is only a kid. And I found myself crying a bit for Cajeiri. He is never allowed to just be a kid. Everything has an ulterior motive. Nothing is safe for him. Everything he ever has tried to do to just be a kid has been interrupted by gunfire or assassins or kidnapping, or some combination. And now he is being saddled with even more responsibility while not being in charge of anything in his life. He is always at the whims of the adults while not ever being allowed to be a kid. It sucks and he isn’t even allowed to complain. Poor kid.