RESTOREE A Fond Look Back

004I’m not by any means a book reviewer – I like what I like, and I don’t dissect the components too much. Conversely, if I don’t like a book, it becomes a Did Not Finish and I won’t waste time talking about it either. But for a while now I’ve been wanting to pay affectionate tribute to Anne McCaffrey’s Restoree, which was probably the first true science fiction romance  I ever read.

And reread. And read again. I’ve worn out three paperback copies, although I kept my original (seen to the left) for sentimental reasons. It lives on my kindle too. This is one of my favorite books of all time, people.

Andre Norton was actually my favorite science fiction author and she occasionally had hints of glimpses of glimmers of romance (squint hard) but when I found Restoree I was enchanted to have the SF and the R in one place, with no need for me to privately expand the story in my head.

I think the competent heroine Sara is every ordinary Earth girl who gets abducted by aliens, makes her way admirably through the complicated alien society, finds true love and a lofty place for herself at the center of the new civilization. (The sex was much tamer in that era though!). I LOVED that she was a librarian. I was enchanted at her modesty, not just assuming the Warlord Harlan would ever really fall in love with her. (Spoiler Alert: he does.) She has a great sense of humor too.  At that age, I liked to test myself against SF heroines – could I manage to do the things they did? With Sara, I felt I could probably manage it.

I really liked the character of Harlan, and the worldbuilding of the planet Lothar, although I remember being a bit annoyed at all the politics.

I didn’t exactly understand all the “restoree” stuff when I was younger, although I get it now. I didn’t let it distract me from the story when I was a kid.

I was ALWAYS – and still – frustrated that there was never a sequel. I didn’t appreciate that Harlan disappears offstage at the end of the book, leaving the final pages covering Sara’s fight more or less alone against  Monsorlit, the is-he-evil-or-not physician. (I never really was satisfied with how things turned out re Monsorlit. HE got off too lightly IMHO.)

Nowadays of course, there’d be a sequel for each of the brothers, Jokan and Jessl. There’d be a sequel for Ferrell. There might even be a sequel for one of Sara’s brothers, come to Lothar to check on her maybe, and falling in love with a Searcher of his own. Although as her brothers were described in the early going, not sure they could be made sympathetic enough. Perhaps she had a Navy SEAL cousin who could volunteer to go to Lothar to fight the Mil and check up on her…..

But it’s pretty much a little jewel of an SFR story as it is and one I’ll always have deep affection for.

Yes, I went on to become a total addict to Ms. McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and other series, but nothing will ever take the place of Sara and Harlan in my bookloving heart.

(I never liked this cover but here it is anyway…)002



9 comments on “RESTOREE A Fond Look Back

  1. I read Restoree many years ago, probably when it first came out, and I have a used copy on my To Be (re)Read shelf now (if I’d tried to keep all the books all the years, I’d be on a show about hoarders). I’ve been a McCaffrey fan forever.

    BTW, I recently read Star Cruise:Marooned and enjoyed it very much–perfect mix of romance and good science fiction. More of yours await on the giant TBR shelf on my Kindle.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed Restoree, too. She did a great job with Sara, the retiring librarian. As you said, she’s real; just a normal working girl caught up in something huge. Sent me looking for more of Anne McCaffrey’s writing. She was never an automatic read for me, except for the Dragons of Pern. But I remember Restoree with real affection. Thanks for sharing.

    • I have to agree – some of her series left me cold as a reader, so she wasn’t an auto buy for me ALL the time. I used to get frustrated when she’d work on a series that wasn’t one i happened to love! The Tower and Hive series just never did it for me…

  3. Just reread this book last week, and liked it as much as I did years ago. The mutually saving each other instead of a hero rescuing the damsel, I think that may have had a larger impact on my writing than I realized! I would have preferred them together at the end, even though you know she is with Harlan’

    I would have liked Ferrell’s story, though. Always thought he was a compelling character.

    • Very good point re them saving each other. I tend to agree that probably had an impact on my writing as well. And yes, Ferrell deserved his own book and his own heroine! Couldn’t agree more.

  4. There would totally be a bunch of sequels! Ha ha ha, you are so right. I totally imagined some plots for them, too, about a decade ago. Some books are just timeless and this is one of them.

Leave a Reply