Series: Honorverse: Stephanie Harrington #1
Published by Baen on October 4, 2011
Genres: Science fiction, Young Adult
Stephanie Harrington always expected to be a forest ranger on her homeworld of Meyerdahl . . . until her parents relocated to the frontier planet of Sphinx in the far distant Star Kingdom of Manticore. It should have been the perfect new home --- a virgin wilderness full of new species of every sort, just waiting to be discovered. But Sphinx is a far more dangerous place than ultra-civilized Meyerdahl, and Stephanie’s explorations come to a sudden halt when her parents lay down the law: no trips into the bush without adult supervision!
Yet Stephanie is a young woman determined to make discoveries, and the biggest one of all awaits her: an intelligent alien species.
The forest-dwelling treecats are small, cute, smart, and have a pronounced taste for celery. And they are also very, very deadly when they or their friends are threatened . . . as Stephanie discovers when she comes face-to-face with Sphinx’s most lethal predator after a hang-gliding accident.
But her discoveries are only beginning, for the treecats are also telepathic and able to bond with certain humans, and Stephanie’s find --- and her first-of-its kind bond with the treecat Climbs Quickly --- land both of them in a fresh torrent of danger. Galactic-sized wealth is at stake, and Stephanie and the treecats are squarely in the path of highly-placed enemies determined to make sure the planet Sphinx remains entirely in human hands, even if that means the extermination of another thinking species.
Unfortunately for those enemies, the treecats have saved Stephanie Harrington’s life. She owes them . . . and Stephanie is a young woman who stands by her friends.
Which means things are about to get very interesting on Sphinx.
If you like Sci-Fi where its more about the new world than it is about the technology then you will like A Beautiful Friendship. Also, if you aren’t normally a Sci-Fi YA reader but just a YA reader, give this one a try because I didn’t feel like it was hardcore science fiction at all – given that it could make for a smooth transition for you into a genre that you have yet to explore.
Stephanie Harrington is a smart alecky little girl with a lot of nerve. She likes to have her way, what person doesn’t, but she is good about finding ways to get it. Her family has just recently moved to a planet that is in it’s young stages of human colonization. The population there is still recovering from several bad bouts of a plague and her parents are much needed scientists. Due to that they are busy and don’t have a lot of time spend with her.
Fortunately, for Stephanie, she is a resourceful girl, unfortunately, that trait also seems to get her into a lot of trouble. One of the traits I liked about her was she listened to her parents, but if they didn’t specifically tell her no to something she would work her way around it without breaking the rules they had already set down for her. Trixy aye? I always like having enough rope to hang myself by…
The main reason I picked this book up was because of the description about the telepathic treecats. I love cats so I had to know more. This was written from mostly alternating perspectives of Stephanie and Climbs Quickly the treecat that Stephanie befriends. My enthusiasm about the treecats was not let down, they are an amazing species and I can’t wait to read the next to learn more about them. He has some pretty decent character building, and we see some nice descriptions about his species and community in general.
However, my biggest gripe is that after they become friends we don’t get enough of his perspective. I also, personally like the name ‘Climbs Quickly’ more than I did ‘Lionheart’ which is what Stephanie named him.
I really can’t think of anything else I didn’t like about this. The story had a surprising ending that I didn’t see coming and that for me is a major deal clincher on if I’ll pick up the next book – which of course I will.
On an additional note: this the first David Weber book I have ever read – but because of it I have already picked up his adult Sci-fi title On Basilisk Station.