REVIEW: Expeditions, Estimation, and Other Dangerous Pastimes (Claimings #4) by Lyn Gala
Tuk-Palteia Liam has survived the front lines of a civil war and a return visit to his home planet, but now he has to face the ultimate obstacle. Stubborn lovers.
As long as Liam and Ondry have the same goals—the pursuit of profits and status—they are the perfect partnership. But now Ondry wants to protect his palteia at any cost, even if it costs him his newly won rank. Liam hates the idea of Ondry sacrificing for him, and he is not going to allow Ondry to lose status under any circumstances. Add in the Imshee, a predatory companion animal, a new human, and an obstinate Grandmother, and Liam has the recipe for a serious headache. Despite what Ondry believes, not all problems can be solved with a good trade, a tail or a flash of tooth. This time, Liam and Ondry are going to need to find a compromise
Dear Lyn Gala,
This is book number 4 in Claimings Series and I have to admit that as much as I love Ondry and Liam and the wonderful world you created for them to inhabit, I was very wary when I learned that this book was coming. To be honest I had almost the same reservations before book three in the series, but I honestly felt that there was no conflict left for our characters to explore and further grow from. I mean there was an issue of trading with Imshee over possibly prolonging Liam’s life, but besides that? I was not sure.
I was so happy to be proven wrong again. Liam and Ondry may be committed to each other, but they are still two strong characters with distinct personalities and although Rownt may share some personality traits with humans, the author made sure to show us over and over again that Rownt are *not* human and I was very pleased that Rownt characters be it Ondry or Grandmothers or some Rownt youngsters often reacted to things not how Liam would expect humans to react.
I just felt that characters became even more complex in this book. Liam learned a lot about Rownt and in some ways is behaving like one, but he is still making discoveries about how Rownt view the world and sometimes being surprised by those, but also learning how to turn those discoveries to his own advantage in his arguments with Ondry.
“Building technology is evidence of intelligence, not of ethical behavior, and we consider the latter a requirement for sentience.” Reality never stopped reminding Liam that Rownt would always baffle him. It was as if they had little psychological and linguistic flash bombs that occasionally went off to remind Liam that they lived in different realities. This was one. Liam had no idea the Rownt considered ethics a prerequisite for sentience, especially since they had ututeh who lacked any desire to help or even interact with others. However, if ethical behavior implied sentience, that gave Liam new ammunition.”
Ondry’s overprotective streak did not go anywhere and when his palteia is hurt ( be it for real, or when Ondry imagines that Liam is hurt like when he is sore after they engaged in the long session of “non – procreative sex” :)) the overprotectiveness got overwhelming sometimes. I liked that Liam pushed back and I felt that they only got closer to each other afterwards.
““Now, I am so relaxed that I’m ready to fall out of my skin, so maybe we can go to the nest and sleep,” Liam suggested. In the end, nothing else would truly cure his headache. Ondry scooped him up, and Liam squawked, and grabbed for his shoulders. “Warn a guy!” he said as Ondry carried him into the bedroom. “Any time you are injured, expect that I will carry you,” Ondry said.
“Unless you tell me I cannot or unless you need more oxygen and I am in danger of holding you too tightly and restricting your respiratory system.” Liam sighed. Just when he was getting his guilt issues under control, Ondry had to grow his own crop. At least they would never be burdened with too much perfection. Ondry lowered Liam into the nest and grabbed a light cover before crawling into the nest with him.”
Amusingly, when Liam is fed up with Rownt logic or lack of such he makes the following commentary.
“There will be extreme lack of logic,” Liam predicted. He eyed the floor. He would’ve liked to have jumped down, but he wasn’t sure his brain and his headache would appreciate the hard jolt when he landed. “I’ve decided that the only essential quality to life is illogic.” Zach had been rubbing his temples, but he stopped and looked up. “Are you talking about humans or Rownt?” “Both. They’re all illogical. To hell with amino acids or fundamental philosophies, the real core of sentient life is stupidity.” “That seems a little harsh,” Zach said slowly.
“Maybe, but it’s true,” Liam said. “Is this about our chiltas’ matching guilt trips?” “Chilta,” Liam said. “Many titles, such as chilta or palteia, are their own plurals. However, my hypothesis is based on decades of evidence. Humans don’t make sense. They spend more resources on holding on to territory they don’t need than they do in improving the territory they hold, and that does not mean I sympathize with the colonies because they started a war they knew they couldn’t win instead of pursuing legal claims that they could have. They let anger back them into a corner.” “I’m not going to argue with you there,” Zach said. “I wish humans were more logical, but they aren’t.””
Zach Moira who we remember from the last book is still on the ship and as a new human palteia looks at Rownt with more clueless eyes than Liam and I thought Zach’s conversations with Liam were extremely amusing.
The story did not suddenly became a fast moving adventure, no, but I thought there was definitely tension both between the characters and tension around trades with Imshee. The author even managed to surprise me by how she chose to present Imshee. We already knew how they look (insect like looking beings), but the author revealed a bit about who they are and how that somewhat complicated Rownt trading with them.
The ending was very satisfying for me, and now I absolutely do hope that this is the last book in the series, because I want it to go out on high note.