I first read Kate Elliott in her Crossroads trilogy. I was an immediate fan.
I feel the same way about Jaran and will be looking for the next in this series. Jaran was first published in 2002 and has just been republished this summer. I'm pleased to note that this series is available, and I won't have to wait for the next to be published.
It is science fiction in that it involves a distant future and has an alien race that has become a benevolent overseer of the human race and their planets. However, once the novel really begins, the science fiction and tech elements pretty much disappear.
Kate Elliott excels at world building and even more so at populating the worlds she builds. In this case, we find Tess Soerensen departing a spaceship on a planet that has been interdicted from technology and the awareness of planetary travel in order to preserve the life style of those natives who live there. A group of the alien Chapalii race have secretly disembarked, and Tess follows, hoping to discover their purpose.
Elliot is a skilled storyteller who creates living, breathing individuals; even the secondary characters are well-rounded with depth and personality.
After writing the above, I did a little research and ended up at Elliott's web site. She writes about the way she creates characters here. Anyone who is interested in characterization could learn from Elliott's method. (Now I know why I become so involved with her books).
NetGalley/Open Road Integrated Media
Science Fiction/Fantasy. Originally published 2002; republication Aug. 2013.
Print version: 557 pages.