Read Jaran by Kate Elliott Online


The first book of Kate Elliott’s epic Novels of the Jaran, set in an alien-controlled galaxy where a young woman seeks to find her own life and love, but is tied to her brother’s revolutionary fateIn the future, Earth is just one of the planets ruled by the vast Chapalii empire. The volatility of these alien overlords is something with which Tess Soerensen is all too familThe first book of Kate Elliott’s epic Novels of the Jaran, set in an alien-controlled galaxy where a young woman seeks to find her own life and love, but is tied to her brother’s revolutionary fateIn the future, Earth is just one of the planets ruled by the vast Chapalii empire. The volatility of these alien overlords is something with which Tess Soerensen is all too familiar. Her brother, Charles, rebelled against them at one time and was rewarded by being elevated into their interstellar system—yet there is reason to believe they murdered his and Tess’s parents.Struggling to find her place in the world and still mending a broken heart, Tess sneaks aboard a shuttle bound for Rhui, one of her brother’s planets. On the ground, she joins up with the native jaran people, becoming immersed in their nomadic society and customs while also attempting to get to the bottom of a smuggling scheme she encountered on her journey there. As she grows ever closer to the charismatic jaran ruler, Ilya—who is inflamed by an urgent mission of his own—Tess must choose between her feelings for him and her loyalty to her brother.Jaran is the first volume of the Novels of the Jaran, which continues with An Earthly Crown, His Conquering Sword, and The Law of Becoming....

Title : Jaran
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780756400958
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Jaran Reviews

  • Miriam
    2019-05-07 09:32

    An example of what I would label "anthropological science fiction" -- the author creates an imaginary culture and most of the book is devoted to describing that culture, generally from the point of view of an outsider who has been removed from his or her own environment and must become immersed in the ways of the new culture. In this case, Tess occupies an unusually advantaged position in her encounter. A member of a political an intellectual elite, she has already spent time on this planet (whose people are human but at a level roughly equivalent to the Middle Ages and are not aware of the interstellar empire) and speaks the most common language. She has a remarkable gift for learning languages and quickly becomes fluent in the local dialect. She is attractive and makes friends easily. Even though the natives have reason to be suspicious of her, they welcome her and almost immediately adopt her into a fairly prestigious family. There are strongly divided gender spheres but as an outsider she is allowed to transgress these limitations, enjoying the benefits of her sex without most of the disadvantages. She quickly becomes proficient at most of the essential female skills and is allowed to learn male ones when she requests. All the hot guys want to sleep with her. In short, she is a Mary Sue. She's even practically a princess -- her brother is the only human lord in the alien empire and she is his heir. That means the aliens, who have a strict hierarchy, obey her or at least treat her respectfully, which they do to no other humans. This other narrative, concerning the alien empire and Charles' (Yes, Tess and Charles. Apparently these dull names are still in use however many centuries in the future.) political maneuverings and planned rebellion and the efforts to figure out where the hell his sister disappeared to, this all was plotwise more interesting to me than the endless descriptions of jaran nomadic culture and horses and embroidery and how sexy the men were (unbathed horsemen with beards, I'll pass, thanks), but alas there was little of that and it was related in a rather dull fashion. The romantic pairing also did nothing for me. I thought the man in question was an overbearing arrogant jerk, not just to Tess but also to his own people and even family, and I did not find the way they ended up together forgivable. Tess was ok. There were some interesting bits of the book and it wasn't a pain to read, I just felt that at its considerable length it wasn't worth it. There was no payoff, nothing was resolved except the romantic tension, and I have the same feeling I often do with these sorts of books, which is that it isn't worth the hours learning about a made-up culture when I could spend that time learning about a real one.

  • Anne
    2019-05-13 07:43

    This review and other cool stuff can also be seen at Addicted2HeroinesThanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.If you are a fan of books with lovely descriptions and long journeys of self-discovery? Do you enjoy books that are set on planets that closely mirror our own? Do you love books filled with details that show what an alien culture might be like? Most importantly, ask yourself this...Do I like reallyreally long books?'Cause this bad-boy is almost 600 pages long. Just sayin'.Evidently, a (mostly) benevolent race of aliens has taken over our solar system. Tess' brother fought back against them, and instead of punishing him, they gave him a bunch of planets to rule over. Weird, right? Her brother decided to make Tess his heir, which elevated her status among the aliens. Their whole caste system is kinda confusing, but after a few hundred pages you get a pretty good grip on it.It starts with Tess boarding a ship to another planet, and accidentally discovering something hinky going on that relates to a planet under her brother's rule. Sounds cool. I love me some evil alien stuff!And then the sci-fi stuff sort of stops, and you end up following Tess as she rides over the countryside with a group of nomads called the Jaran. Their society is different in the fact that women (sort of) rule the tribes. But in the same breath, they have no control over who they marry. See, the guy who wants to marry them sort of sneaks up and cuts them across the cheek. With a knife.Eh?There are lots of other odd and interesting tidbits of their society that Tess learns to navigate during her time with the Jaran. It's a learning experience for her, and for them. That's the theme of the book, I guess. Her growing respect for a culture that, at first glance, seems barbaric. There's a romance that brews between Tess and one of the Jaran, but it slowly builds over the course of the story. It's also a romance that comes from respect and friendship. Let me assure you...this is no bodice ripper. Look elsewhere if you want to read about kinky alien-lovin', ladies!This is not the type of book that I would seek out...ever. For me, there were too many descriptions of their surroundings, not enough hot sex with yummy guys, and the page count was too high.But.That doesn't mean this was a bad book. It was well-written, it had fully developed characters, and great world-building. It's wasn't my cuppa, but it might be yours.

  • geekturnedvamp
    2019-04-30 02:22

    A science fiction novel which has been compared to Jane Austen, if Jane Austen were writing about a young linguist running away from her position as sister and unwilling heir to humanity’s greatest leader (a former rebel who has been rewarded with power by Earth’s alien overlords), and who ends up stranded on an interdicted alien planet and adopted by a nomadic matriarchal horse tribe led by a man who is basically his culture’s equivalent to Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great in his ambition to conquer his world. This is probably a terrible description and it’s a long book, but one I can’t recommend highly enough.

  • Neb
    2019-05-17 09:40

    The first time I read this book, I was floored by how captivating, engaging, entertaining, and engrossing it was for a sci-fi (technically) novel. This is despite the fact that I was reading a double-spaced draft in a cardboard box: it totally drew me in. My handicap was that I had long-since fallen out of love with most of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, and had grown tired of worn-out plot cliches and two-dimensional characters. "Jaran" really surprised me. When I thought I knew where the story was going, Elliott surprised me and turned a different direction pretty much every time. When it was finally printed I was proud to own a "real" copy!The sci-fi elements are minimal and only there to set the scene. This is not about spaceships and gadgets, it's about people, politics, and social systems. More romance, in the classical sense, than action adventure, there's still enough of both to make it a page-turner. A nitpicky thing I really liked on my first reading, was her skill with rendering scenes and situations realistically without giving us too much information. Horses make new riders sore, horses can't be ridden relentlessly without soring THEM, personal hygiene is problematic on the march, etc. Nice touches.It's now available in a special anniversary edition. That makes me very happy: I hope her books sell like hotcakes for a long, long time!

  • Sbuchler
    2019-05-24 05:24

    The five word summary of “Genghis Khan meets Jane Austen” is accurate, but fails to encompass the rich world building and the wonderful story in this book. The heroine, Tess, is the much younger sister of the only human to lead a revolt against humanities’ (mostly) benevolent conquerors, the Chapalii. The Chapalii, having quashed this revolt, reward Charles with an interstellar dukedom. Making him the only human in the upper echelons of Chapalii society. Tess is his heir, but she would rather be almost anything other than that. She starts the story by running away, but not quite the way she intended. Her curiosity about the odd behavior of the Chapalii leads her to follow them into a preindustrial world her brother has quarantined. Stumbling though the steppes without water, Tess is rescued by Ilyakoria Bahktiian - a university-trained Jaran horse-nomad intent on uniting the clans in order to drive the cities from the steppes. Tess is immediately adopted into his clan, and then finds that Ilya is playing tour-guide to the Chapalii because they’re paying him in the horses he’ll need for his up-coming campaign. Tess inveigles her way into accompanying Ilya and the Chapalii on their tour, thus embarking on a journey both of self discovery and fraught romance. The romance between Ilya and Tess reminds me a lot of Cordelia and Aral in Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (enough so, that I had to go immediately re-read that old favorite!). The world building is complex and nuanced – both the Jaran and the Chapalii have their own separate history and traditions. It reminds me a bit of Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders saga, in the slowly-revealed history and the complexity of the back-story.

  • Jon
    2019-05-10 04:45

    3.5 stars

  • Kathylill
    2019-05-14 03:44

    So I give up on this book. I’m simply not in the mood for this and honestly I couldn’t care less about the plot, its characters or the intrigue. This really isn’t a bad novel in itself. I appreciated especially that the author took her time to show us a different world with a different culture. Our heroine is stranded on the planet Rhui without the means to communicate to her brother, the Duke in charge of the planets in this territory. Tess attempts to get to the bottom of a supposed conspiracy against her brother by the Chapalii, an alien race that rules all territories. All science fiction in this books stems from this background but isn’t an integral part to the story, as Rhui is a planet populated by nomadic people quite similar to Arabs 2000 years or more ago on Earth. I don’t mean this in the least pejorative. According to Wikipedia in Biblical etymology, "Arab" (in Hebrew Arvi {{he:ערבי}}) comes from the desert origin of the people (Arava means wilderness). It is quite interesting how intricate and realistic the Jaran society and customs are depicted throughout the plot. Kate Elliott really did a good job creating this nomadic world. And for a while there I was really immersed into the story. But Jaran is not really a science fiction novel and I sorely missed this element. I mean if something is taking place in the future, and space travel, alien races and intergalactic politics and intrigues are mentioned you want to see them played out. But for the main part this story takes place in an environment equal to 500 BC in the Middle East on Earth. Why look so far afield when there is so much close at hand? Another complaint from my part: this story moves damn slowly. I mean Tess is learning the language of the tribe of this planet and learning to ride and trying to understand the very different culture and them she learns songs and native legends and myths. That's all well and good, but 35% into the story the romance didn't even start, not even romantic interest is really shown. Instead she is having casual sex with someone else. In addition, the charismatic Jaran ruler, Ilya, is not that charismatic to me. He doesn’t talk much, he has a beard and imho he is something of a fanatic, who tries to lead a holy war. I couldn’t get this picture out of my head, and even the fluid grace of his walk, couldn’t make up for the facial hair and his brooding character.The missing romance is a minor part compared to the overall missing emotions. I don’t care about the characters. I don’t care about the supposed conspiracy and Kate Elliott didn’t make me care. Conversations are ruled by customary phrasings and conduct: men talk to women this way, women to women talk this way. If a man touches you on your arm it means this, if he touches you on your shoulder it means something completely different. It’s all a bunch of traditions and norms, semantic nuances and honestly: Who the fuck cares? And to top it off there is this moment where they ride through the landscape and Ilya and Tess suddenly start talking about Newton and Aristotle and Plato. My conclusion: this book is simply not for me, but I really understand what people like about it. It’s just not the right time for me to read it.

  • Kate
    2019-05-02 01:24

    I wanted to like this book. For the first half or so, I was very happy and making favorable comparisons to Damar. (There will be major spoilers for the rest of the book. Enter at your own risk.)(view spoiler)[ The story centers around Tess, who is the sister and heir of someone who rules several planets, because the aliens gave them to him after he failed to successfully revolt. This is never really explained. But Tess follows some of these aliens, ends up on a low tech planet following them around and living with the nomadic, low tech (they don't know that high tech exists) indigenous people. The first half of the book is pretty good, even if Tess veers into Mary Sue territory (she is brilliant at riding a horse, even though she hasn't really before, she is brilliant at learning the languages, and she gets to break all the societal boundaries because she isn't from around there). I liked that the society isn't viewed as being entirely good or entirely bad. There are good aspects, like how families stick together, and then there are the strict gender divisions (which are not entirely bad, at least).But . . . the second half of the book was a train wreck. It was a train wreck of such epic proportions that they are finding bits of the train in tiny pieces miles away. The male lead (Bakhtiian), is indigenous and the stereotypical alpha male. He knows what he wants, and he gets what he wants. He wants Tess. Now, for quite a while I enjoyed the book because she refuses to give in to him. She knows that he is bad news, of the sort of consuming fire that would not leave anything of herself. I was mentally cheering.He then tricks her into marrying him by not telling her that they are getting married. She doesn't know it is a marriage ceremony, there is no way to back out, there is no concept of divorce, and their souls are married for ever and always in any future reincarnations. Bleck.There was no way that the author could have redeemed him for me at this point. He doesn't care about her consent or her love, only that he has won. Yet somehow by the end of the book Tess is in love with him, forgives him, and gives in to him. And then decides that she want to spend years living with him and giving in to him because . . . I don't really know why. Because he is hot? But she spent the first half of the book knowing that she didn't want him in spite of his hotness. (hide spoiler)]In short, I couldn't stand this book and will no longer read any Kate Elliot.

  • Julia
    2019-05-19 03:30

    I haven't picked up this series since high school, and I found myself more engrossed as an adult than ever before. As a teen I mostly wanted to see an assertive heroine navigating her love life, as an adult I also appreciate the politics and supporting characters around her.

  • Beth
    2019-04-30 04:39

    I have absolutely no idea what to think right now. Jaran combines familiar elements in a way that might be new, and yet when I look at it closely, might be derivative; events are telegraphed in a way that feels more obvious than organic; certainly a large part of the central relationship is nothing new at all. Tess, as a political idea in a complicated power dynamic, is a fascinating character. As a person finding her way, her journey is much more typical: she's welcomed into strangers' homes because protagonists can't be allowed to die on the plains, she's compelling because she's foreign, which makes her attractive to everyone, and she's good at everything because - well, because she's the protagonist, I guess, and only significant people seem to have books center around them. She shakes up the gender politics in a way that's familiar to modern readers, even though the gender dynamics are different in the world of Jaran - an interesting inconsistency. Especially because one aspect of her relationship would make modern readers uncomfortable.And yet it's well-written, which is where that sense of freshness comes from, I think. There's also a lack of obvious evil, a subtlety which is interesting for high fantasy. Jaran is - well, a good starting point would be Elizabeth Bear's non-European high fantasy. If you liked the idea of that but not the actual work, like I did, Jaran might be a good fit for you.

  • Salimbol
    2019-05-26 09:29

    [3 and 1/2 stars] A solid and engaging first novel from Kate Elliott, with fairly minimal SF elements and a strong focus on world-building. There's a comment from Judith Tarr on the cover that the book reminds her of C.J. Cherryh's work, and I can see that resemblance - however, this feels less of an intellectual puzzle/ almost clinical analysis of culture(s), with more emotional investment on the part of characters, writer and reader (this isn't a criticism of either author's approach, as I love them both). Certainly, there are hints of the magic Elliott works so very well in other, later books, with peoples and cultures in flux and the sense of the epic sweep of history. I'm interested to see where this is going!

  • Meagan
    2019-05-07 05:36

    Only took 4 years to finish it.

  • Kritika
    2019-05-01 05:35

    This review can also be found on my blog, Snowflakes and Spider Silk.It's books like these that keep me coming back to sci-fi. Jaran is set in a the future where alien species and humans coexist rather delicately, vying for power. This is only one side of this story, however, and a rather small side at that. The majority of the book hardly reads like science fiction at all - the protagonist, Tess, finds herself learning about and assimilating into the jaran culture, one that is markedly different from the Westernized world she has grown up in. Along the way, she builds friendships, thwarts foes, learns to wield a saber, falls in love, and ultimately discovers herself.I loved the world of the Jaran. You would think the whole nomadic tribe concept would get stale, but Elliott delivers a world that I would almost want to live in. The women are the ones in charge in this culture, and the freedom they had to make decisions for themselves and their families was refreshing. I thought it interesting that while the women chose their lovers, the men chose their wives. The Jaran people ride like the wind upon their horses, always restless and searching for more to explore and experience. As Tess absorbs this new way of life, she really spreads her wings and becomes a far more liberated person, even though she her instinct is to hold herself back.While the plot is slow-moving (the first half was especially long), I didn't really feel bored. I was captivated by the world and the mysteries of the characters and their individual motivations. You really get to know these characters, and they felt very real to me. Once things get going, though, things really pick up. They aren't really twists so much as bends in the road, shuffling the dynamics between characters and cultures as they learn more about one another.Tess was an incredible main character. I really enjoyed reading about her transformation from someone burdened by her association with her infamous brother to someone free to live and love as she pleases. Bhakhtiian was equally dynamic and incredibly intense. You never quite know what he's up to or what he's really thinking, but you know for sure that this incredibly proud but very courageous man has something up his sleeve. I adored Yuri with all his babbling, and his relationship with Tess was really sweet. I didn't like Kirril much at first, but by the end of the novel I really liked him as well. Even the more minor characters had personality and none of them blended into one another. I will admit that I was a little confused with the dozens of names as more and more tribes and relationships were introduced, but it wasn't too bad.The whole mystery involving the Chapallii didn't seem so relevant during the first half of the book other than the fact that it was why Tess came to the planet of the Jaran in the first place. I felt like the Chapallii conflict could have been a little more intense in the middle of the book, because it kind of fades before coming back full force towards the end. Still, there was definitely enough going on with the other subplots that I was entertained the whole way through.I highly recommend this book!*An e-copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

  • Tammie
    2019-05-15 02:26

    Not exactly what I was expecting; Jaran reads like a fantasy but with other planets and an alien race thrown in. I was expecting more scifi. I liked this book but it took a really long time to get into. It was rather boring for a long time. There was a lot about Tess learning the culture, the language, learning to ride, and learning to use a weapon. I almost quit reading before I was halfway through, but the reviews I read said that it picked up after the halfway point, so I stuck with it, and I am glad that I stuck with it. I liked the main character Tess. I thought she was true to herself and remained a strong woman who made her own choices, even though I didn't agree with a couple of the choices she made. I wasn't crazy about the casual attitude the Jaran people had about sex, especially even after they were married to someone else. But even with the casual sex those scenes are all left to the imagination. I really liked Ilya, Yuri and many of the other characters. I felt like they were very well drawn.A bit of a spoiler here...I was disappointed when she allowed her husband to mark her with the blade at the end of the book. Actually I cringed. Then was relieved when she marked him back, something no woman had ever done. I felt they were equal then, however I didn't like that they marked each other that way. I had hoped that she would not let him do that and maybe they could show the rest of the Jarans that you didn't have to mark someone like properly to be married to them.

  • Girl
    2019-04-25 06:28

    It's not Kate Elliott's greatest, but it's readable and well-written. It's about horse-riding nomads IN SPACE.Let me say that again.HORSE-RIDING NOMADS IN SPACE.Overall, most of the book is pretty standard girl-meets-another-much-less-advanced-culture-and-then-becomes-enchanted-with-it stuff plus some frontier romance plus friendships plus aliens. And horses. In space. There is also a political subplot concerning the heroine's much older brother, which I wish was more extensive. Perhaps in volume 2?

  • Sarah
    2019-05-25 02:31

    So engrossing. I'm not sure what this sub genre of science fiction is called, but it really works for me. It raises the anthropological issues that occur when different alien races meet but is set in the context of one culture on a planet, not as a space opera ... just fascinating. It did have a few Dances with Wolves/Avatar-ish moments, but Elliot doesn't get quite that cliche, thankfully. I love books involving a lot of land travel, and Elliott's descriptive writing style perfectly frames the landscapes, the buildings, etc. While this is the first book in a series and leaves many of the larger conflicts open, it ends in a satisfying way and can be read stand alone (good thing, since I can't get a hold of the 2nd book, which is out of print). p.s. I oddly love Yuri, Fedya, and Kirrill more than Ilya.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-26 06:44

    This was the second time I've read Jaran - but the first time in 13 years - and I loved it even more this time 'round. Fabulous, fun, smart and romantic space opera, all of it centered around a really wonderful heroine.

  • Kenny
    2019-05-25 07:26

    Huh.. Not what I was expecting at all!So I loved the Crossroads series by Kate Elliot (Spirit Gate, Shadow Gate, and Traitors' Gate) I was expecting more of the same... and I sort of got it... maybe.This is supposedly a science fiction story - there are aliens and spaceships and other trappings of scifi, but the meat of the story is set on a "medieval" world among a whole bunch of steppe horse-lords :) The titular "Jaran" tribes. If you have read Outlander then you have the same kind of idea going on.The really good part of this story was the culture clash, and getting to know the jaran culture. Tess is the our point of view character, an earthling from a privileged background who gets accidentally involved in an alien plot to do something on this primitive world (that happens to be owned by her brother and is a kind of nature preserve?) The alien plot and all the sci-fi happenings are an occasional intrusion into a story that feels more like dances with wolves - an outsider from a civilised area being brought in and learning to love a primitive culture because it is more "honest" in some way.The Jaran are really interesting -something like medieval mongolians or huns, with a young warrior just starting out on his quest to unite the tribes and war on the settled people of his world. Like outlander there is a romance story in here, but the meat of the story is all about cultural assimilation and change.I understand this is one of the author's earlier books, and it shows as the characters are (pretty much) stereotypes and not up to the level of her later books.Nonetheless, I will be getting to the rest of this series someday soon. (I hope)

  • Jess Mahler
    2019-05-20 09:46

    I wanted to like this more than I did. It was a solid story with interesting world and characters, it hooked me enough I wanted to keep reading, but I always picked it up with a sigh. Not sure if it was Elliot's writing style or something about the story that was hitting me wrong without me knowing why.If you are interested in sci-fi adventure that involves a mix of high and low tech cultures, it's worth checking out the sample on Amazon and seeing what you think.This book is on the Fiction books with Polyamorous Relationships list, there are things about relationships among the Jaran that will be disturbing to a lot of polyam readers, but the view of love and sex will be refreshingly non-mono and non-normative. Sadly heterocentric and gender essentialism is very much a thing. (For anyone wonder, I had trouble plowing through the book before hitting the heterocentrism and gender shit, so there was more going on to turn me off than just that.)

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-04-25 02:52

    When I try to think about what I want to write about in this review, I have to keep coming back to Roger Ebert's famous and useful maxim "it's not what it's about, it's how it is about it." He's talking about movies, of course, but it's just as applicable to books. And that's where my troubles lie. I will defend strongly the idea that science fiction and romance should not be mutually exclusive categories, although I have to admit that I haven't loved the couple of entries into that hybrid genre I've read so far. I do not, however, think that good romance science fiction books can't be written.Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Deniz
    2019-05-14 03:26

    So so good!Really! It really really is...4.5Stars... but not quite 5 hence I rounded it down.This is a re-release and to be honest I was baffeled that I missed this. I could have sworn I read all of Kate Elliotts books. After reading this I did a search around and realised that I it wasn't at my local library nor did my favorite book stores stock any copies of it. SO I am beyond glad that they re-released this. If you like Kate Elliott this is a MUST read. This is Elliott at her best. Clever world-building and beautiful prose as always- but more importantly great characters and an interesting relationships.The plot is interesting, different and yet familiar. Elliot got the timing just right with this one. It feels like a beautiful melody, right pace, sometimes fast and eventful (action) and sometime slow and thoughtful. I love traveling so I might be biased since this book is mainly about a journey. But Elliott managed to not only evoke places in my mind but most importantly made me fall in love with the characters. Saying that the book offers not only a journey, there is a political intrigue in the making, battles are fought, romances are struck and there is an entire alien world that still has to be explored.There is quite a big cast of characters. But while I felt a bit lost in the beginning, I quickly grew to know them and adore them all. The story is mostly told from Tess POV. It does have a few other POVs as well. For me the book showed Tess'es journey - an outward and an inward one. And as she got to know people and their cultures one got to know them as well. I absolutely loved her banter and frien-emy relationship with Ilya. I think this is very much Elliott's MO, and while I enjoy her world-building and fantasy part always, I honestly am every time much more taken by her character building. This book is definitely way more character-driven. I think the world-building is extremely clever and fascinating, the plot exciting but the characters are what makes this book. Elliott written a whole clan of characters with such insight, that I care for all of them, enjoyed their relationships, laughed and felt sorrow with them and I want to know what will happen to them in the next installment. To be honest, I am not quite as taken by the alien side of the book or the whole political intrigue- but that might change in the next.As I said the world-building is clever. Elliott did here what she does so well. She took known elements added them to an entirely new world and wrote a new history. In this case we got aliens, different planets but we also have our own human history as a basis. The Jaran do remind me of the mogul and their culture. There is way more to be discovered of this world and I am looking forward to it hopefully in the next few booksThe prose is beautiful. I love Elliott's writing style- so I knew I will at least like the prose. And I was not dissapointed, I got all the things I love about Elliot and was left marveling again at her skill. A must read for lovers of Elliott's books - but also a definite must read for lovers of fantasy!

  • Elsiekate
    2019-05-19 05:33

    i'm not sure who pointed me towards jaran as a series to try. i think it's her earliest series as kate elliott, though she has some earlier books under a different name. whoever it was, thank you so much--an excellent series for me because it deals so interestingly with a society structured with an attempt to have women be "in charge" without simply flipping roles and having men be as subjugated as women frequently are in societies. i don't want to give too much away, since part of the delight is discovering the society at the tempo that the heroine, tess, discovers it, but i'll lay out a little bit of it.tess is a human, living in a world that has been conquered by an alien people, the Chapalii. tess's brother led a rebellion against the Chapalii and instead of imprisoning him or killing him, they have made him a duke and tess is his heir. tess gets passage on a spaceship headed towards one of the planets over which her brother is duke, discovers that something odd is going on, disembarks, and gets caught up with a group of inhabitants of the planet of which she was previously unaware. this group is the jaran--a nomadic collection of tribes. they have a very different structure for the relative power between men and women in their tribes and tess is introduced to that as she tries to find out what the Chapalii are up to and get back in touch with her brother. she is hampered by a kind of Prime Directive--the tribes don't know about space travel or anything of that sort and it is strictly forbidden to inform them about it. hijinx ensue.beautifully written, absorbing. you can figure out a couple of things but not how you will get there. characters you care about, intrigue, romance and friends with benefits. a type of polyamory, for those who like that sort of thing. i really enjoyed this book. one frustrating thing is that while the first book in the series is in print, the rest appear not to be--but i am acquiring them anyway!

  • Althea Ann
    2019-05-04 07:35

    The first book I've read solely by Kate Elliott, and the first she published (under this name.)I'm not sure why I hadn't read anything by her previously, as I did love 'The Golden Key,' which she co-wrote.'Jaran' was good enough that I'm now planning of reading more from her. It was a very enjoyable space opera. My one criticism, however, is that at times it seems a little unsure of where it's going, plot-wise. Our protagonist, Tess, is accidentally stranded on a primitive planet. To survive, she joins a nomad horse-clan - and also starts investigating a possible alien intrigue against her rich and powerful brother. However, the intrigue and investigation kinda falls by the wayside in favor of quite a lot of romance. I didn't mind as much as I usually would, because it was actually rather interesting and hot (though non-explicit) romance. It's just that at times, I was like, "hey! Tess! Aren't you worried about what those aliens are up to? Stop looking at that hot guy!" I'm just going to have to accept that she's an easily distracted individual.Still, it was a fun book; although long it didn't drag at all, and I very much enjoyed the details of the unique culture that Tess finds herself in.

  • Rebecca
    2019-05-08 01:48

    Really solid and strong novel. Like, it was so enjoyable it sold me on Kate Elliott's work. I'll probably try one or two of her other series now. Previously, I've tried Cold Magic, but I never could get into the story.Some of the best things in this book: the elaborate worldbuilding/culture (matrifocal societies), Tess' breadth of relationships (friendships with men and women, romance, flings, familial relationships, etc.), the plot and pace -- event after event unfolded at a reasonable pace, I didn't feel bored, I didn't feel overwhelmed, I was intrigued and wanted to know what's going on..., and lastly the solid cast of characters. A+ book, I really enjoyed myself. The second and third books were weak though. Didn't bother with the fourth. I pretty much skimmed the second and third. The cast was greatly expanded, to the detriment of the novels imo. It felt like an ensemble cast all vying for your attention. I mainly really wanted to read more about Tess -- she's a fantastic character. I wanted to see where she went, who she would become. I wanted to see how her relationship with Ilya plays out. Didn't get any of it, unfortunately. But this first book is really solid.

  • Jedi Kitty
    2019-05-25 07:24

    This has been on my to-read shelf for ages- I'm so mad at myself for gobbling it all down in one sitting. This a slow-burn, slow-build story- with plenty of excitement, world-building, mystery, tension and relationship building along the way to a highly satisfying conclusion. Plus plenty left unresolved- huge interstellar drama - for the rest of the series. I will definitely pick up the sequels. What kept it from five stars in my mind was the slightly...cerebral tone to the writing. The philosophy, experimentation with culture and gender relations all add to the book immensely, of course! But sometimes I would feel pulled from the book and wonder- who talks like this? Is this realistic? By the ending, I was hooked on the characters, but it took a little time. **Grr...I really am mad that I can't put down a book and enjoy it the next day. I think I picked this up around 9pm to "just check it out for a few minutes" and then read straight through to 4am!!!! Dag nab it.**

  • Hilary
    2019-05-03 01:29

    I love it. It's one of the few books I've ever started re-reading immediately after finishing, because the characters journeyed so far during the story - I just had to go back and see it over again. The balance between the science fiction and the fantasy is perfect, and the splash of anthropology kept my interest. The Jaran society Elliot has built is unique and completely believable. The characters feel realistic, and speak and act naturally. Nothing jarred, and watching Tess integrate herself into Jaran culture from being a complete outsider was fascinating.This remains one of my favorite books 15 years after my first reading, and I probably read it at least once a year. I'm already on my second copy, the first having worn out.

  • Leseparatist
    2019-05-19 07:35

    A lot of what I enjoy about Elliott's writing is already on display here - good worldbuilding, characters and character development, attention to bonds between women, thoughtful emotional buildup (for the most part - I wasn't quite sold on the protag's attraction to Bakhtiian). The plot is not at its best, however - to me it felt sparse, compared to her later novels. I'm going to read the continuation but probably not straight away.

  • jesse
    2019-05-01 08:23

    3.5/5very entertaining, especially as tess, the female lead bends the rules as she sees fit and challenges the ways men and women are supposed to behave. but as with all of elliot's novels, this one as well is overwhelming in its length and (for me somewhat exhausting in) narrative. skipped the lengthy (boring) parts with charles/marcus's pov.

  • Li
    2019-05-24 04:45

    Kind of old-school (and loooong) SFF, but I loved this book - I was totally absorbed by Tess and Ilya’s relationship and the slow-burning tension between the two of them, set against the background of the Jaran culture. I also have a soft spot for those SF/fantasy hybrids, and this was one of them.

  • Kerry
    2019-05-18 04:37

    I'm so glad these books are out as ebooks at last and I can reread them easily. I first read this when it came out and it was lovely to read again. I'm not going to dive into the next one immediately, but I'm looking forward to gowing back to Rhui again.