“The V’Dan” is the second story in the ‘First Salik War’ series by Jean Johnson and continues the saga started in “The Terrans”. Jacaranda (Jackie) MacKenzie and a group of her fellow humans have transported Captain Li’eth Ma’an-uq’en and his surviving crew back to his homeworld. The cultural differences between the long-separated people who share a common background but place a vastly different value on skin pigmentation causes a diplomatic nightmare. Finding a way to establish a rapport with the V’Dan and their allies will offer its own challenge, particularly considering their significantly different forms, but ingrained prejudice may sabotage any potential progress before it can even begin.
I love science fiction stories such as this one because they prompt one to think about the implications of the ‘what if’ game. What if we discover that there are indeed aliens but what if they look almost exactly like us? What if the world never can grow past its prejudices? What if psychic phenomena becomes a well-studied subject and is present in the general population?
It was interesting to follow the permutations of misconception and stubborn resistance to changing one’s mindset. Sadly, there are a lot of parallels with today’s society but I found the message to be a little heavy-handed and repetitious while many of the characters are way too obtuse for the most part considering how high up they are in the chain of command. To me, the final climactic struggle was telegraphed well in advance and predictable, and the ruthless results end in somewhat of a cliffhanger which is inevitable, but nonetheless frustrating. I enjoy the multiculturalism and exploration of discrimination which is such a timely subject but I thought the elements of space opera were relatively low key and overshadowed by the sociopolitical elements. Despite all of this, I still was captured by the overall conflicts and I am definitely curious about what is going to unfold in this remarkable universe.
A thrilling new perspective of the world created in the explosive, national bestselling Theirs Not to Reason Why series. It’s two hundred years earlier—the age of the First Salik War. And the battle against humanity has been engaged.
The V’Dan always believed they were the chosen race, destined to make a mark on the galaxy. For the last few centuries, they interacted peacefully with other sentient species—save for the Salik. Cold, amphibious, and vicious, the Salik were set on one goal: to conquer every race within their grasp.
Now that the Salik’s ruthless war has begun, the fate of the galaxy is in the hands of two strange companions: Li’eth, a prince under siege and his rescuer, Jacaranda MacKenzie. A beautiful ambassador from the Motherworld, Jackie possesses more than the holy powers of a goddess. She brings a secret weapon—a strange, wondrous, and dangerous new technology that could be her and Li’eth’s last and only hope to save their people from extinction...