Protector is a 3 star book in a 5 star series. I love these books and will continue to read them as long as Cherryh writes them, but this middle book in the fifth (!) trilogy set on the atevi world was purely comfort reading for me: it’s a joy to visit this incredibly detailed world and read about these characters. As someone else said somewhere, I’d be happy just reading about these folks having tea and chatting. The Cajeiri chapters are wonderful, and the bits about Cajeiri’s young human visitors are truly excellent. (Irene is being set up to be something truly special, I think.) Unfortunately, Bren’s sections in this one just drag, with a large amount of lecture-dialogue politics early on and a finale that felt painfully forced.
I’m sure that the next book will get back to this series’ usual excellence, and that the people who have read this far in the series will not stop reading — I most definitely won’t, and already look forward to book 15. Still, being honest: if the first book had been like Protector, I probably wouldn’t have made it this far.
(There’s a lot more to be said about this one, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers and, really, it’s nearly impossible to write about book 14 in a series without spoiling things.)