Top critical review
I adore books 1 through 3 of the web shifter series but ....
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 20, 2020
I have not cared for this new series. The novella that started the series, “The Only Thing To Fear,” reminded me of 1 through 3 (“Beholder’s Eye,” “Changing Vision,” & “Hidden in Sight”). Czerneda’s depiction of the Pink Popeakan (actually an emissary of an arachnoid race) was, as she was meant to be, endearing. However, the first full book in the new series, “Search Image,” comes off as somewhat silly IMO. Paul and Es have fulfilled their dream of founding a library dedicated to promoting inter-species understanding. The premise is promising, but the way the library operates just comes across as silly. It is mobbed by people who trade an artifact or piece of information for the answer to a question. (As an example of library-related silliness, some of Paul’s relatives create and sell pieces of nonworking junk made from discarded household appliances to those seeking answers to questions at the library, and then the buyers of this junk pass it on to the library.) In a civilization that has mastered space travel, visitors to the library take a train (not a scenic “Orient Express” luxury experience but one where passengers share crowded, dingy-seeming cars) from the spaceport to the library itself. Even Es’s sister, who was dedicated to war fighting and was an extremely dangerous individual, lost stature in this book; she who had commanded armies and succeeded in a society that valued guile, strategy, and ruthlessness above all is now head of security of Es’s inter species library. The story improves when Es and Paul travel off world to solve a problem involving an alien race; they do solve it, although the solution comes at a cost. If Czerneda takes Paul and Es away from their library, the stories may improve. Or if she tones down the library. Paul and Es live and operate their library on Earth, and Czerneda has them racing and wrestling together in the sunlight with Es in her canine form. There is also a suggestion Paul has a love he is pining for. Es is still a child in her human form and is virtually immortal whereas Paul is beginning to show gray in his hair.... Who could this lost love be? I hope the series does improve; I loved the characters and the original Web Shifter series and reread it periodically.