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Shadow's End by Sheri S. Tepper

Review by Caleyna

I do not recommend this book. Yes, I got all the way through it, but it is just way too bizarre for my little brain to comprehend. There are good pieces of philosphy intertwined in the book, and I agree with most of it (i. e. we need to take care of the earth, humans are not the most important creatures, men always seem to find an excuse to keep women "down"), but the resolution of the book makes no sense to me.

It is sci-fi instead of fantasy, so I'm sure that is one reason I didn't care for it. Running all over the Hermes Sector just doesn't do it for me.

I'm going to post my specific complaints below, so they will be spoilers. I honestly don't recommend this book, but it is up to you if you want to be spoiled or not.

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Ok, now for the good stuff. This book has these weird creatures called Kachi, which this one really primitive culture thinks are the ghosts of their relatives. The Kachis are mean and nasty. They only come out at night and when they do come out they eat people who are outside, but the Gracious One has convinced the people of Dindah that the Kachis are better than the humans. The people are practically starving, but they give all their food to these creatures. The people never ever go out at night either, so that the Kachis won't eat them.

It gets even sicker. The main character is pregnant and has to go through a weird ritual. She is taken to this special ceremonial stone house, layed on her stomach and tied down. Food is left for the Kachis, then they come in to the house and eat her face off, then they have these really long gross things that they impregnate her with Kachi eggs with. It's just sick. It is not described in any detail, but when she gives birth to these little monster Kachi that have eaten her baby in her womb, you figure it all out. GROSS! The point, of course, is that the men are willing to let their women go through anything for immortality. The women have no idea what they are getting into when they get pregnant. They also have no idea that their first child will be dead until they give birth to the little monters.

Other plot developments include these big monsters that are killing all the humans. They are actually the grownup Kachis, but they are totally different from the Kachis. They are like big jelly fish, but later on they turn into other wierd animals. It is just crazy. There is this little boy who was designed genetically to be a virus to the monsters, and when the "God" figure chews up and spits out the little boy, all his parts heal, so there are 120 little versions of the boy running around, some as small as half of a little finger, the biggest the size of your leg. That is when it got way too bizarre for me.

The part I really didn't like was that the "God" creature was a part of the Kachis torturing the women. All through the book you hate the Kachis, yet you also hate the human race (though not the characters) since the Kachis hurt the people, but the people have taken every living creature other than humans off almost all the planets. Then, at the end, the creator of the Kachis makes all the jelly fish like creatures morph into regular animals (i. e. wolves, elephants, snakes, birds, ect) and tells the humans that all animals are important.

Ok, I can agree with that. I like that. I like the message that sends. But I absolutly can not reconcile that with what the "God" has caused the women of Dindah to go through. Then, at the end, the women of Dindah refuse to partake of the Kachi ritual anymore, so they kill all the Kachis, but on another planet the "God" tells the men of the tribe lies, and convinces them that their women should bear the Kachis.

Very very twisted and bizarre. I know that it prolly all doesn't make a lot of sense, b/c I can feel myself rambling, but just don't read this book. I just had to tell someone how incredibly bizarre it all was, so even if no one is reading I feel better *l*.


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