A Beautiful Friendship (Stephanie Harrington 1) by David Weber [Book Review]

First contact YA

This new YA series by David Weber builds on one of my favorite short stories with the same name by David Weber. The book is out now but I am making this review based on the ARC so things might differ in details.

This takes place some three hundred years before the Honor stories. It is kind of an origin story in that it portrays how the Harrington family settled on Sphinx and how young Stephanie meets and befriend one of the secretly sentient treecats there.  Stephanie’s story starts like any ordinary teenage story with issues of parental control and resentment for her parents for dragging her off to the boonies.

It switches pov between humans and treecats mainly Stephanie and Climbs Quickly. It has the famous Celery thieves’ episode I loved in the short story. It is over all an enjoyable read but I have some issues. Sometimes the story just stops abruptly. Like when scott was about to tell how the cats where communicating with him. It didn’t disturb much since I have read that short story. But there is also a jump in the story from the first meeting to scott and his story, I felt the narration lacked a segue there. Giving me the feeling it is just a couple of short stories stitched together with the bare minimum of an overall storyline. This disappointed me.

I am also a bit disappointed that the inner life of Stephanie doesn’t come out and play.

I am a great fan of David Weber and his works and it pains me that I found A Beautiful Friendship delightful in parts but lacking in the whole. Maybe Jane Lindskold will make better work with the sequels.

Book Information

A Beautiful Friendship (Stephanie Harrington 1) by David Weber – ARC (Baen 2011) – Amazon US | UK

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.