Cuckoo’s Egg

By CJ Cherryh

I bought Cuckoo’s Egg solely based on the cover. Well, the cover and the author. I haven’t read much CJ Cherryh, but I love Cyteen, so I’ve been slowly collecting some of her other offerings.

Cuckoo's Egg by CJ Cherryh

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, and honestly, I think that is the best way to read it. We start the book with Dunn being given a small, smooth skin, baby to care for and raise. He names him Thorn. Dunn is Hatani, he is scarred and most people have trouble looking at him (though I don’t think this is due to the scars). He also appears to have a large amount of power and can have anything he asks for. What is Hatani? What happened to Dunn? Where did the human baby come from? Who is Dunn to be someone that has this level of power? All these questions were raised in the first few pages, and while we do end up getting answers to these, some are not answered until near the very end.

What it means to be Hatani is one of the questions that gets answered quickly, and we see a lot of the training throughout the book. The pebbles intrigued me – what they represent. What a way to live, especially when you come to this life from as young an age as Thorn did. It seemed exhausting to me. And lonely.

The truth behind who Thorn is and how he came to be in Dunn’s care was pretty much the last question that got answered. And I found the answer tragic. And cold. The poor kid.

The style of the book took a little bit of getting used to. It felt a bit jerky, and not at all what I was expecting of this author, but I did find that it suited the book – highlighting the alien-ness of the world, the fast pace at which Thorn must do everything (so much of the first half of the book is done at a run), and the timing (we quickly move through the years from birth to 16).

I’m trying to not include any hints to the plot of this book so that I don’t spoil the journey if you haven’t read it yet. It’s different from any other book I have read to date. And though I have read a limited amount of science fiction, I think I’ll probably say that 12 months from now when I have read more widely. I would definitely recommend reading this if you haven’t already.

Fantastic fiction says that it is book three in a trilogy, but actually they are three separate books that are in the same universe but are in no way linked to each other. So you can read it (and the other two) as a standalone.

One comment

  1. oh im pleased you wrote a blog on this one. cos i just scored this on trademe and wasn’t sure if i should read the other 2 in the series first. good to know can be a standalone.

    Liked by 1 person

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