Eye of the Monster

by Andre Norton
Reviewed date: 2018 Jan 28
Rating: 1
135 pages
cover art

What happens when a colonial power decides to leave and let the natives govern themselves? If that colonial power is the South Sector Empire and the planet they leave is Ishkur, then the native Crocs go on a murdering rampage. The moment the Patrol forces withdraw, the Crocs kill every foreign trader, scientist, or surveyor on the planet.

Rees Naper escapes the initial slaughter because he happens to be away from the Mission when the Crocs attack. His only hope of survival is to cross hundreds of miles of savage jungle to the spaceport at Nagassara. But the Crocs are hunting him, and he must also protect a young boy named Gordy and a Salariki child he rescues from the nearby trading post.

Norton never offers any explanation for the Crocs' violence. No, this is a simple story: Crocs bad, Empire good.

And the writing was confusing. The awkward sentence construction had me re-reading over and over to decipher the meaning. I'm convinced that some of those weren't proper sentences at all. And Norton seems to forget things, or at least forget to explain them. For example, on one page, Rees Naper comments that the robocopter they've been waiting for has arrived. But on the next page, it still hasn't arrived and they're waiting for it. And during the most exciting action sequence, Naper and the Salariki get attacked by an air dragon and they can't defend themselves with the blaster because it would give away their position to the Crocs. But on the next page, Rees uses the blaster to kill the air dragon and there's no thought of it alerting the Crocs.

I didn't find much I liked here.

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