The Throg task force struck the Terran survey camp a few minutes after dawn, without warning, and with a deadly precision which argued that the aliens had fully reconnoitered and prepared that attack. Eye-searing lances of energy lashed back and forth across the base with methodical accuracy. And a single cowering witness, flattened on a ledge in the heights above, knew that when the last of those yellow-red bolts fell, nothing human would be left alive down there. And so Shann Lantee, most menial of the Terrans attached to the camp on the planet Warlock, was left alone and weaponless in the strange, hostile world, the human prey of the aliens from space and the aliens on the ground alike.
I listened to it on my drive to and from work (so in chunks of no more than twenty-five minutes at a time) and my mind kept wandering. I'd try to pay attention when I realised I was doing it, but I definitely missed chunks. There were several "wait, how did they get over there?" moments. There were also quite a few interesting issues raised that I wished were explored more deeply (yes, yes, I know I've admitted to zoning out, but it wasn't for that long at a stretch.
I found it interesting that although the main character and the other human came from a fairly patriarchal society, the Warlockian aliens they encounter were aggressively matriarchal, to the point of males belonging to the females and not being able to think for themselves. I liked that Norton included that, although it's definitely one of the aspects I would've liked to see explored in more detail.
There was also some promising things happening with mind control and psychic communication. It made the story a bit more trippy, but that actually worked with the zoning out (confusion for all!). At one point, near the start, Shann makes a reference to having seen "mind-controlled" people before coming to Warlock and I kind of want to know more about that. On the other hand, it's entirely possible more was divulged while I was thinking about what to have for lunch the next day.
I strongly suspect that I would have absorbed more of this book if I'd read it with my eyes rather than my ears. I probably still wouldn't have found it particularly exciting (despite the interplanetary war...) but at least I would have taken it in more coherently. For audiobooks to work for me, I need them to keep me interested the entire time. I've mostly had good luck with that in the past, but not with Storm Over Warlock, unfortunately.
So does anyone have any suggestions of other Andre Norton books for me to try reading? I'm thinking of trying Star Hunter next but I'm open to suggestions.
First published: 1960
Series: Apparently book 1 of 5.
Format read: Audiobook