I’ve just finished reading The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord. This was a bit of an impulse buy for me as I saw it in Waterstones and couldn’t resist that cover, it’s a lot nicer than many of the books in the SF section of the bookshop. Shallow of me, I know! I then managed to convince my book group to read it as well, so we are discussing it later this week. I’m actually a bit worried about what the verdict will be, because frankly I was a bit disappointed.
The book is about an alien race whose home planet is destroyed. A few of the survivors end up on a colony world which is already inhabited by a range of different races. They are trying to find a way to rebuild their population. The narrator is a human scientist who is helping them survey the planet looking for suitable women to breed with.
It was a pretty interesting premise, and the book explores a lot of issues that were definitely thought-provoking. It’s a rather literary form of social SF, which is something I do enjoy reading. However I felt that the plot was not particularly compelling here, it felt too episodic. I also wasn’t invested at all in the characters, and I found the narrator entirely uninspiring.
I don’t want to be too critical, because I thought it was a very well written book, I loved the prose and the descriptions, and I thought there were some very interesting ideas within. But it was just a bit too fragmented for me, I wasn’t fully engaged with it, it just didn’t quite come together for me. I did like it though despite that feeling, it was definitely an interesting read, I just didn’t love it.