Review of REGENESIS by C. J. Cherryh (see her website)
DAW, January 2009
The first Ari Emory was murdered...a case that was never solved. The second Ari is now eighteen. With the computer access she inherited from her clone-mother, Ari has the ability to take control of Reseune, the vast science/biology corporation that dominates the planet Cyteen and the whole of Union. Still, she hesitates to move. She has a lot to learn and hopes she'll be less of a target by staying below the radar, letting the survivors of the first Ari's generation continue to play at least care-taker roles. Of course, there is the little matter of Ari #1's killer...still at large.
While Ari struggles with her options, Jordan and Justin play out their father/son relationship. Jordan, falsely (perhaps) accused of killing Ari #1, has finally been allowed back into Reseune, at Justin's request. But Jordan is anything but grateful and is intent on breaking up the trust Ari and Justin had built. Jordan had never been able to accept he had less talent than Ari #1. He'd never agree that a teenage girl should be his boss.
Author C. J. Cherryh (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Cherryh) continues the story she began in CYTEEN (see our review). The teenage Ari confronts both her predecessor's enemies and those she's created herself as she attempts to unravel the mystery of Ari-1's death, a mystery that might tear apart Reseune itself if she solves it.
With REGENESIS, Cherryh narrows her focus from the sociological in DOWNBELOW STATION, or the complex psychological interventions of CYTEEN. Instead, we have something of a mystery, the soap-opera that's the Jordan/Justin relationship, and in the final quarter of the book, a riveting bit of SF action as Ari struggles to hold together Union in the face of an attempted coup.
Although CYTEEN is frequently difficult to read, I ranked it extremely high. REGENESIS has some of the same difficulty in reading, but it didn't completely emerse me in the fascinating world that CYTEEN did, didn't make me care about the characters, and didn't open my eyes to future possibilities in the way her earlier novels in this universe had done. Still, there is a lot here. Fans of Cherryh, and especially those who, like me, found CYTEEN among the top SF of all time, will definitely want to ge their hands on REGENESIS.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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