I’ve heard a lot about C.J. Cherryh, and was really excited to finally read one of her books. The Pride of Chanur is the first book in the Chanur series, about Pyanfar Chanur, a member of a feline species called the hani. She is a ship captain that commands The Pride of Chanur, a ship owned by the Chanur family.
The Pride of Chanur is docked at Meetpoint Station when they find a stowaway on their ship. He’s small, blunt fingered and has no fur, and he calls himself a human. No one has seen the likes of him before, but he’s on the run from hostile aliens, so they give him shelter, not realising that this would put their whole world in jeopardy.
This book definitely felt a bit dated, probably because of the cat-like and bear-like aliens. That doesn’t stop it from being really fun and really good, though!
The Pride of Chanur is written entirely from Pyanfar’s point of view. Tully, the human, isn’t really a huge character, he’s alien to them and they don’t know his language in the beginning. He’s more of a catalyst for the story – the discovery of a whole new race. I found this pretty refreshing, I’ve never read a story with a wholly alien protagonist. I really enjoyed a look at humans through the eyes of other species – we would be quite strange to aliens.
Hani society is interesting too, it’s completely female dominated. I enjoyed the little intersection of family trouble into the intragalactic trouble.
The only complaint I have about this book is that there was a bit too much action for me – it almost felt more like a movie than a book. I would’ve appreciated a bit more plot or backstory or worldbuilding. But then again, it’s an old book.
I’m definitely looking forward to Chanur’s Venture.
The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh (Chanur, #1)
DAW Books, 1981 | Buy the book