To save the world from an alien invasion, humanity altered their children's genetic code--but now they're paying the price. Earth's younger generations are dying of a new disease. Salvation may lie in outer space, in the DNA of humans who founded colonies before the alien attack. That is, if Earth's settlers can be found.
Great first effort
By Liz0000 on Jul 19, 2000
A little while after Earth successfully fends off alien invaders, Irene and her shipmates leave on a voyage to discover the fate of colonists who have left Earth before the invasion. They seek to learn more then only the fate of the colonists - the young people of Earth are dying of a genetic disease caused by the biological warfare that led to the defeat of the alien invaders. Warfare in which Irene took part. It is hoped that the colonists will have a cure for the deadly disease. After finding that most of the colonies failed due to alien diseases, Irene and her shipmates find a group of colonists who have not died. It soon becomes clear that these colonists are hiding something... The characterization in the book is wonderful. You find yourself actually rooting for Irene and her nephew (who is dying of the genetic disease). The story keeps you on the edge of your seat, and it has a satisfying ending. Even the "bad guys" have understandable motivations. The biggest problem with the book is the logical inconsistencies. The most glaring is why would the colonists be expected to have a cure for this disease? Overall this is a great book, and I would highly recommend it. You won't want to put it down.
This sf has heart as well as action
By Harriet Klausner on Jun 12, 2000
The Vrell were an alien slave trading race who attacked the earth in full force, but were repelled by scientists who developed a virus that killed the invaders. The victory came with a huge price tag as one out of every two hundred children born die young from GED, a genetic disease that every newborn carries. There remains one hope left for the planet's future, which is to locate an earth colony established before the Vrell aggression occurred. Scientist Irene Olson, her nephew Mark under a death sentence from GED, and a host of her peers, are on a three year expedition trying to track the lost colonies. They have found many colonies, but in each case, alien plagues have killed everyone. Their hopes soar when they reach NAVOHAR where colonists live, having survived a deadly plague. Irene prays that their blood and DNA will bring the cure to the dying children of earth, but first she must uncover the secrets that the inhabitants are hiding from her. NAVOHAR is a fast-paced, exciting space opera novel that employs a wicked mystery to add to the brilliantly executed story line. The characters feel genuine and strike a sympathetic chord with the audience. The alien landscape makes the plot feel realistic as talented newcomer Hilari Bell shows she is a born storyteller by painting a vivid visual picture. This is one writer whose star appears ready to illuminate the genre with excitement. Harriet Klausner
This book could have been so good
By Jennifer Pelland on Aug 15, 2001
You know, this book really could have shone. The premise is fabulous, the universe is wonderful, but the characters... Oh, the characters. I felt like I was watching a bunch of braindead, immature caricatures rather than a group of intelligent and mature adults. Also, our protagonist, who is supposed to be a brilliant scientist, takes until page 252 to figure out what we all realized back on page 101. The plot drags needlessly in some places, and races along too quickly in others. The real frustration is that with a good editor, this book could have been a gem. But instead, it's just a disappointing read.
Excellent First Novel
By Lior Issacof on Jul 28, 2002
Every time you read a first novel you take a chance. With Bell's firs novel, I must admit, this was a chance worth taking. This is an excellent book. The characters are both vivid and complex and the dialogues are truly authentic. The plot, though somewhat anticipated, keeps you on the edge till the very end. I would recommend this book and will await Bell's next novel..
By Amazon Customer on Dec 12, 2000
The problem with distinct characters, and characters with strong personalities is that it is hard to make them not suck. It's like the horror movie where you know there's something behind the door, and the actor opens the door anyway, and there is in fact something bad there. Irene, who looks nothing like her picture on the front cover, runs the risk of sucking. She's determined to the point of stupidity. It would be easy to make a story that sucked from that trait. She's determined, she overcomes obstacles, she wins. Bleah. This does not happen. The story runs along the edge of making that happen but, thankfully, avoids it. It is instead an interesting story that talks about culture, and stress. The lesson about the price for winning is, unfortunately, lost in the actual story where the protagonist wins - with minimal cost. Heck, let's be honest. All she loses is a negative character trait as she grows. The story is still well worth reading, for the in-depth development of a culture, a 'realistic' look at other world settlement, and interesting aliens. The most interesting aliens are off-stage, but that's life. I read this book quickly, and the back story filled in quickly enough not to leave me clueless, but was drawn out in a parallel thread that stretched throughout the story. Nicely done.
A compelling story with unpredictable twists and turns.
By Midwest Book Review on Jul 04, 2000
In Hilari Bell's Navohar, scientist Irene stumbles upon a well-kept secret when her seriously ill son is miraculously cured by the settlers they've discovered on a distant planet - settlers who don't seem to want to share the secret of their cure. As Irene struggles with research and conflicts, she slowly comes to see why they are so withdrawn - and must wonder at her own conflicts - to save worlds from disease, or preserve one world's unique life. Navohar is a compelling story with many unpredictable twists and turns.
By Steve on May 26, 2001
It's hard to believe this is a first novel. I hope Bell isn't a one trick pony or camel as the case may be. I don't often give SF a top rating, but this is the best SF I've read in a while. It was everything I enjoy in a SF novel. An interesting world/future to explore, interesting realistic people, and a great story with plot twists that had me guessing till the very last chapter. The book even has a message/moral that I find compelling. It made me think about my role in society as a scientist. I eagerly await her next novel and highly recommend this one to anyone. Here is an author to keep your eyes on.
read cover to cover, and my butt and legs are still asleep
By Skyler on Oct 26, 2003
For a first time book it was really good (And taking that into consideration, I award it 5 stars) if it was a second book, or a third, I would only give it 3 (There wasn't enough real research in the book-information regarding things that are close to real was vauge) but it was a great book to pull out of ones imagination, and I look foreward to reading some more of her work. Just hope she makes a part two to the book!