the Little Red Reviewer

Migration by Julie. E. Czerneda (Species Imperative #2)

Posted on: September 22, 2014

Migration-186x300Migration by Julie E. Czerneda (Species Imperative #2)

published in 2005

where I got it: purchased used














Now that the summer is over, I want everyone to tell me how they dealt with all the weeds that popped up in their garden all summer. Did you read up online about invasive species? Did you pull the weeds out one by one? Spray weed poison on them? figure out what their food source was and then deprive them of it? Nuke ‘em from orbit, just to be sure?


When I reviewed the first book in the Species Imperative series, Survival, I made reference to the Guggenheim Museum. That I’d felt a little let down that when I got to the top floor of the metaphorical museum, there was a door in the corner that said “roof”, and how unsurprised I was that the door led to the roof.


Okay, so now I’m reading Migration, the second book in the series. I’ve opened the door, and I’m on the roof. And damned if the view from up here is far more amazing than I’d expected. I can nearly see my house from here, I can nearly see across the solar system from here, I can see that what’s going on is a hell of a lot bigger than what I’d originally thought. What’s happening here is huge.  If Mac was on this roof with me, she’d be standing at the edge with a huge smile on her face saying “wanna jump?”


Mac is trying to get her life back together. She’s getting better at using her prosthetics, getting better at not crying every time she thinks of Emily. She’s trying to forget Nik before she decides how she feels about him. No one she works with knows where she’s been, let alone what she’s witnessed on an alien planet. The Dhryn are the galaxy’s greatest enemies, how can Mac ever tell anyone she’d become friends with one? That she’s spoken to a Dhryn progenitor? that when she sleeps, she talks in Dhryn? She’s trying to stop waking up screaming.   To be sympathetic to the galaxy’s most invasive species is a recipe for arrest.

To make things worse, Mac doesn’t trust the Ro, the alien species who provided the technology to travel through the stars.   Every time the Ro showed up, I got that Babylon5 vibe. That’s a good thing, by the way. They give us needed technology, and we practically worship them. Ok, we might not worship them, but we certainly wouldn’t ever question them.   If you don’t ever question anything, what have you become?


When the Salmon Research Station is forced to shut down for a little while, Mac finds herself at her Dad’s old cabin. Out in the middle of nowhere, maybe she can muddle through some of what she’s been through. Rural areas of Earth have become popular tourist spots for aliens, and Mac finds herself helping out two aliens named Fourteen and Kay.  And let me just tell you, the chapters with Fourteen, Kay, and Mac are absolutely hilarious.  Fourteen and Kay appear to have a textbook (more like a tourists tourbook) knowledge of humans, and amusing misunderstanding ensue. Also: pranks, jokes, and protestations to what is most certainly not flirting.  I was laughing my head off, and you will too.  But no vacation can last forever.  There is a threat that gets closer to Earth every day.  And she knows long before she asks them that these two guys aren’t just on vacation.  There are plenty of other aliens too, you’re gonna love them, because they are all wonderfully and awesomely weird.


I love that the gist of these books is “science wins”.  While the rest of the members of the Interspecies Union are trying to come up with a weapon of mass destruction or a disease the Dhryn will be susceptible to, Mac and her team of anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, biologists, and linguists start studying everything they can get their hands on about the Dhryn – where is their home planet, when did they develop space travel, what is their life cycle, everything. Mac treats this the way she might treat the discovery of a new fish or other marine creature: learn as much as you can about it, as objectively as possible.  This is probably the first time anyone, ever, has looked at the Dhryn in an objective manner. Everyone has always seen them as the deadly enemy, no one has ever looked at them as a scientist might. Until now. And when all the facts are on the table, something just isn’t adding up.


This series has everything I want in a space opera – compelling characters, fun aliens, a smidgen of romance, and to top it all off, a threat that requires us to use our brains. I’ve got nothing against epic space battles or photon torpedoes or laser cannons or other futuristic high tech weapons that make things go explody. But you know what? What a breath of fresh air to run into an alien threat, and have someone say “I’m a scientist, and I’m going to look at this as a scientist. I’m not going to nuke them from orbit to be sure, I’m going to understand these creatures and why they are doing the things they do”. I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed finding a non-martial solution to the challenges of the universe.


Mac finally has a team that get her the answers she needs, and she’s got the biggest secret the IU can hide underground. But will her team be in time? Are the Dhryn capable of changing?  Even more important, can Mac and her team get the IU to go against everything they’ve come to believe? Migration left me with more questions than answers, which is just fine because I’ve got a copy of Regeneration right here. If you’re unable to find the single volumes, the entire trilogy has just been published as an omnibus.

When you come across a dangerously invasive species, how do you destroy them without destroying them? The answer is the reason Brymn came to Earth in the first place.


6 Responses to "Migration by Julie. E. Czerneda (Species Imperative #2)"

More stuff I have to read… Can’t you just review some crap for awhile, so I don’t feel obligated to quit my job and read all day?
As for weeds, we have an “organic garden” (ish) for a number of reasons, so I have to pull stuff out by hand. Since the next door wetlands are overrun with morning glory and blackberry bushes, I basically wage a four month long machete battle to keep the yard civilized.


And the other 8 months you just let the stuff take over??


Nah, they go into hibernation. Summer is short here.


The series sounds like fun, wish I had time, now that I’m reading again.

Each yer we seem to have less weeds as we’re careful to pull those suckers before they can go to seed. Yes, a little Roundup gets used on tough areas without other plants, like Oxsalis in the gravel walkways, but 95% of it is hand pulling or sometimes using a hoe. On one side of the property a neighbor has let ivy and invasive Blackberry take over, but we hire a crew twice a year – late Spring and late Fall – to remove it before it can get a foothold on our side. The thicker the plants you want are, the less chance the weeds have, and we also mulch every Fall.


Generally, I pull them one by one, but I got a recommendation from a friend that I look into a stirrup hoe. It cuts up the roots and things when you work it through the soil.

This sounds like an interesting series to add to my ever-growing and about to topple and kill me pile of books to read. I need a pocket dimension to slip into and read for a few millennia.

I love the idea of sci-fi that’s actually sci-fi. I enjoy alien species that are actually alien ( no matter how much we can relate to them ) and stories that start small and build. It’s part of the hard sci-fi DNA that runs through my reader’s-veins.


[…] of lives so far away from planet Earth?  Here’s a link to my review of Survival, and a link to my review of the second book in the series, Migration. Stay tuned for a review later this month of the third […]


join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow me on Twitter!

  • RT @apexmag: Apex Books Pick 5 (ebook). Pick any five titles from our ebook catalog! This one was requested by our non-US backers. 1 day ago
  • RT @apexmag: We have added a new reward! A blend of loose leaf tea created special for our Kickstarter by @starshiptea! We've paired it in… 1 day ago
  • RT @apexmag: Oh, wow, love this essay by @KameronHurley in @locusmag about evaluating editorial feedback. A must read for up-and-coming wr… 1 day ago

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,622 other followers

Follow the Little Red Reviewer on



FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
%d bloggers like this: