Cyteen is a Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel by C. J. Cherryh, part of her Union-Alliance universe.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Cyteen is the capital planet of Union, one of the two major human space powers, and the research facility of Reseune is its heart. Union is heavily dependent on azi, human clones who are trained, psychologically conditioned and even given fake memories by "tape" (fed into their minds by machines); Reseune is responsible for nearly all high-level azi research, as well as the development of new tape.
When Ariane Emory, a scientific genius, head of Reseune and leader of the Expansionist faction that has ruled Union since its formation, is found dead, possibly murdered, it leaves an enormous power vacuum. Emory had been trying without success to clone past geniuses. She believed the fault lay in not recreating as closely as possible how the originals were brought up. Reseune proceeds to raise her clone just that way, greatly aided by the detailed notes Emory had prepared for that purpose. By the time "Ari" is a teenager, it is clear that the process is a resounding success. She is not only a genius, but also more emotionally stable than her "parent".
She is capable of taking up the reins of power. However, when an attempt is made on her life, it becomes clear that her most dangerous enemies are within Reseune itself.
Best part of story, including ending:
While it fills in a big gap in the series with a look at the Union side, there isn't a lot of action and the characters are not especially appealing.
Best scene in story:
When Ari learns that the people who tried to kill her are some of the same people who raised her, it makes her decision regarding how to deal with them very difficult.
Opinion about the main character:
The original Ariane Emory wasn't very likable, and her clone is only marginally so.