92 points, 4 ¾ stars
Alpha Station, orbiting the world of the atevi, has taken aboard five thousand human refugees from a destroyed station in a distant sector of space. With supplies and housing stretched to the breaking point, it is clear that the refugees must be relocated down to the planet, and soon. But not to the atevi mainland: rather to the territory reserved for human, the island of Mospheira.
Tabini-aiji, the powerful political head of the atevi, tasks his brilliant human diplomat, Bren Cameron, to negotiate with the Mospheiran government. For the Alpha Station refugees represent a political faction that the people of Mospheira broke from two centuries ago, and these Mospheirans are not enthusiastic about welcoming these immigrants from space.
Multiple sets of golden eyes lit up in anticipation. Fried fish, in the style of Mospheiran street vendors, was his aishid’s favorite of the new flavors they’d discovered on the island.
Emergence picks up immediately after Convergence ends, and neatly finishes all the outstanding problems. I’m not certain where we’re going from here, to be honest.
Emergence still splits the time fairly evenly between Cajeiri and Bren. And Cajeiri’s story is actually more interesting than Bren’s for the first time in the entire series. Bren is just in Mospheira, setting up the Reunioners coming down to earth and setting up getting Cajeiri’s friends into a special program to become the next paidhi, to replace Bren. There are zero surprises. It is actually just a succession of meeting after meeting and approving plans. Bern is just placing pieces on the chess board.
However Cajeiri is neck deep in politics. At the core of it, Cajeiri is learning how to become aiji, on how to someday replace his father. He has some danger swirling around him, but most of it he can handle on his own. Which is remarkable for a nine year old boy. He is also in charge, just like Bren typically is. For at least part of the book, he is running the household, he is making the decisions, he is the one the aishid are relaying the information to, the information his uncle typically would be the one to get. And Cajeiri is the one to figure out how to react to the information if he feels it is necessary. It’s so good. I love it.
But even more than that, Emergence is a further stabilizing of the mainland politics. With Cajeiri in charge, at least in part. Which is scary but amazing. Cajeiri’s mother’s house, the Ajuri, has been in some deep shit lately. They were the ones that instigated the attempted coup against Tabini, and now they’re trying to pick up the pieces. That piece being a young Ajuri who isn’t a lord, yet is determined to try and become one by appealing to Cajeiri himself. I love this series.
Unfortunately, even more than previous books in the series, I had a hard time really enjoying the book completely. This book and the previous book just felt so much like the same story split in two that it was hard to really separate the two. And it felt a bit forced. Yet still I loved it.
Also I’m incensed because I’m now currently out of Foreigner novels to read until the next one comes out, months from now! (I read this in October.)