Species Imperative by Julie E Czerneda

A followup to Survival: Species Imperative, this is the whole trilogy (Survival, Migration, and Regeneration) all under one cover.

The first book, Survival, I discussed in the linked post above. It’s a solid start to the series, with a seriously out of the norm heroine–capable, but uninterested in space, travel, and foreign to conflict.

The second book (Migration) returns less than a year later; Mac’s back on earth preparing for the next crop of grad students and the next salmon run. But she’s different–impatient to hear about offworld activity now that she’s experienced it. There’s a bit of misdirection, kind of a slow speed evasion that’s interesting–and we meet 14, who’s a very interesting character.

That said, this book is slower–in part because it’s the middle book of a trilogy, but also because the second half of the book is basically a scientific conference. It’s interesting to read, but it’s not action packed–it’s definitely something that’d get butchered in a movie, cut down to a series of speech snippets, instead of feeling like an academic conference.

The last book (Regeneration) begins on a tenser note, but that quickly bleeds away. (The excitement has passed over to Nick, but we only get erratic updates on that front.) In the second half of the last book, the aliens are all revealed as truly alien, a scientist and Mac together discover a secret that reveals a new future for the Dhryn, war almost breaks out… it’s a tense end. Still no light sabers or running gunfights–it’s true to a science centered investigation.

Definitely a different approach than most SF&F, treating the science part with honesty as sometimes grindy and never as exciting as a space battle.