Julie E. Czerneda is going to make it into the awards nominations very soon, if her first two books are any indication. Her first novel, A Thousand Words for Stranger, was called "thoroughly entertaining" in Locus. Czerneda's second book, Beholder's Eye, is even better.|
Esen-Alit-Quar is the youngest of her Web, a "family" of
extremely long-lived shapeshifters. Web-beings live in the diverse cultures and forms of intelligent life to learn and preserve their accomplishments. On her first assignment Es rescues a human, Paul Ragem, from the culture she's studying. But he and some on his first contact ship learn about her shapechanging. This could be fatal for Esen's Web, as an Enemy has appeared, seeking to destroy them and consuming all intelligence in its path. Es must elude pursuit by humans, who believe she is the Enemy, warn her Web members, and defeat this danger. Paul Ragem offers help, but asks Es to trust him with knowledge of her kind. He could lose his friends, his career, and his life, or he could betray Es to his human colleagues out of fear.
The characters, races and cultures are marvelously distinctive and well drawn, the action swift, and the conclusion satisfying. If you've enjoyed Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books, give Beholder's Eye a once-over.
Source: Nona Vero, Amazon.com.