book review: Diadem of the Stars by Jo Clayton

A lot of readers will have never heard of this master of character driven science fiction from the seventies. She passed away before the new millenium had really got started and finding her books in ebook format is a real trial but lucky for me I have read all her books. This week I decided to re-read the books that introduced me to this amazing author.

Diadem of the Stars is the first book in a nine book series. We are introduced to a rich world that seems to be very much a fantasy, though it isn’t. This book is filled with alien races, space ships, an alien artifact known ad the Diadem, a star thief who steals it from the spider-like Rhomnal , the half Vryhh psychic Aleytys and so much more.

Shorter in length than the current norm, many would consider this a novella but it really is a novel. We are treated to an in depth study of love, hate, religious fanatics, and the dynamics of being very different in a closed society. Aleytys is a beautiful and sensual fiery red-head, blue-green eyes with skin like liquid amber. That alone sets her apart from a society of mostly dark hair and eyes but add into this the beginnings of what will become strong psychic abilities. Her mother crash landed on the planet and was sold as a slave while suffering a high fever. Bought and raped by a powerful man when she comes back to herself she is pregnant with Aleytys and with a powerful need to leave what she calls the mudball.  Once she gives birth she curses the people to make them take care of her child and leaves.

I could go on and on about Aleytys life and her trek across the face of her homeworld, a young and pregnant girl with no idea how to survive but you really should read this book and this series. The secondary characters are fully fleshed out and the growth of her confidence and understanding of her abilities is a great start to what becomes a full science fiction classic as you move from book to book.

 

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