I actually finished Freedom’s Challenge (Science Fiction 303 pages) by Anne McCaffrey several days ago but I haven’t had time to write up my review until today.
The more I read of this series, the more I really am reminded of the television series Falling Skies. Both deal with an alien invasion of Earth that destroys everything we know and takes away our freedom. Both have multiple alien races fighting over Earth’s resources while the humans find ways to sabotage operations and make life miserable for those who would be our supreme overlords. I might have mentioned this in my review of Freedom’s Choice, but the Freedom novels and Falling Skies both clearly demonstrate that attempting to subjugate the human race is a very bad idea.
As a species, we are belligerent, resourceful, intelligent, creative, and we really don’t deal well with people who are not like us who attempt to tell us what to do. We even have that exact problem between ourselves on our own world. Add in a giant, alien threat that we can all agree is an enemy of humankind and you’re just asking for us to mess up your lives.
There was one part of the book that really made me laugh, but I think it was supposed to. It appears as though Anne McCaffrey actually quoted herself in this book because this passage shows up on page 105: “‘Beautiful layout and even the important buildings weren’t squared-off in plate glass but …” he mimicked a commercial voice-over, “‘ecologically situated so as not to mar the natural beauty and making good use of flora and fauna.’ Nothing higher than one story.”‘ While I can’t locate the exact section of the book, Killashandra had a planet named Optheria where the inhabitants of the planet worked extra hard to not disturb or change anything about the natural environment. Maybe at some point soon, I’ll reread the Crystal Singer trilogy and see if I can find that particular passage, because it sounds almost exactly like what I remember from that book.
I continue to enjoy this series very much, with the small exception of some of the minor points. I’m not sure if those minor points are annoying to me because of where I’m at in my life or if there really is something annoying about them. I’m going to start giving away some spoilers from this book starting here, so if you haven’t read the book and you want to be surprised by the events that unfold, you should probably stop reading now. The biggest annoyance for me with this book and Freedom’s Choice is that Kris, the main character, has sex exactly twice with exactly two different human males and she gets pregnant from both encounters. I’ve thought about this in a couple of different ways, one of which is that the survival mechanism of the human body and the species imperative that often goes with it, or even the biology of Botany, would make women more fertile. It just seems weird to me that Kris gets immediately pregnant from two encounters. Granted, she’s extremely sexually active with Zainal and they appear to have a very solid partnership, but they are biologically incompatible.
I do like how the series has a variety of different species and different types of people. The characters are all very well-developed and very different from each other. The aliens are different from the humans and even the humans are different. Every person is treated as an individual and I enjoy that quite a bit.
I know I had a lot more thoughts when I actually finished reading Freedom’s Challenge, but this week has been so exhausting that I don’t remember those thoughts anymore. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance this coming week to finish the series and write my over-arching review afterwards.
Overall, I continue to enjoy the depth and vision of this series and Freedom’s Challenge is a good addition to the Freedom novels. I would rate this book as a solid three on my rating scale and I’m glad I own it and am likely to reread it at some point in the future.