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This book is excellent, but it is missing one thing: a sequel. The Vivitare have come to conquer, just as they have conquered other planets, and who themselves were once conquered But one, a soldier by the name of Ahvren who has just returned from a military campaign, is coming to believe all this conquest stuff isn't such a good idea This is his story, a wonderful science fiction hero's quest full of strange beings and insightful observations I enjoyed it Unfortunately, it's not the start of a series. 2001 Booklist Editor's ChoiceA very interesting SF story full of different extraterrestrial creatures, a la a Star Wars cantina scene In this case the son of the emperor's security head has to go on a quest, but not a quest for some mystical object, he is on a quest for information: who is plotting the assassination of the emperor? During his quest, he meets up with and engages the help of a bibliogoth, a purveyor of information, and a member of the native species of the planet, a T'chin, which is an insect/arachnid being Ahvren, as a human, and a member of the conquering race, wonders why the many species who inhabit the planet T'Chin, did not fight back against the invaders The bibliogoth tells him that the invasion did not matter, and challenges Ahvren to find out why it does not matter Full of interesting characters, and recommended to anyone who likes teen science fiction. Reader thoughts: Although I liked the book, I had many small issues with it Or, rather, I didn't like the book, but I found several, er, gems in it I'm not sure which it is.So, the problems first.There were small plot holes.1, There was a conversation in which it was determined that it madesense to talk about how many generations ago something happened rather than how many years ago something happened The two creatures (one human and the other an insect), decided that years wasn't as useful because everyone's generations are different Some might live sixty years, and another six hundred So, clearly, saying three generations ago in a conversation is better What? How in the world does that make sense? Years is an accurate measure of time no matter the size of your generations Bah!2, Ahvren is around two months before trying to help his sister get out of the arranged marriage Now her wedding is in seven days Then he waits another 2 or 3 days before doing the one thing she asked him to do She asked him to talk to the emperor's son and convince him to not marry her Ahvren failed anywaywhy not have him try sooner?(Actually, I don't understand why there was a need for the 2 month delay between chapter 1his arrivaland the rest of the book It threw off the pacing and annoyed me Why not just have it all happen in the same week?)3, There were three days left until his sister's wedding The next morning, Ahvren is worried because there are only three days left until his sister's wedding ?4, The technology didn't fit They have truth drugs and spaceships, but they don't have handheld communicators They have electronic credit as money, but they have a limited number of devices per city that can access the internet Oh, and the internet is a vocal question/answer station They had special gravity trains, but they didn't seem to have sensors and cameras (except the prison at the end).I didn't care for the last fourth of the book (view spoiler)[ The momentum was gone I didn't care about Sabri, and I didn't feel like Ahvren did either The society around him completely changed I mean, it went from docile and pacifist to only what's profitable to suddenly we'll help you break your sister out of prison even though she killed someone.It felt like it went a different direction, and I didn't care for it (hide spoiler)] I though this book was phenomenal! And I spent 8 years looking for it to read it a second time!!! A typical Hilari Bell TwistAfter having read many of Hilari Bell's books I've come to realize that she understands culture and how good and bad can be different in different cultures Profit is a great way to show this idea. I got it for free for working as a library aid and I never picked it up Dnf &FREE DOWNLOAD ⇧ A Matter of Profit ☔ The T'Chin may be plotting an assassinationand Ahvren has to stop them Ahvren is fed up with war, but as a Vivitare soldier he must fight or risk dishonoring his family His sister, Sabri, who dreams of freedom, is being forced to marry the emperor's loathsome son The only chance either of them have to escape is if Ahvren can solve the mystery of the T'Chin in time Why did forty planets of alien races surrender to the Vivitare without a fight? What is their strange preoccupation with matters of profit? And, most importantly, is there any truth to the rumors that the Vivitare emperor himself may soon be the target of an assassin? Hilari Bell is a good storyteller The themes of her books revolve around a protagonist whose worldview is upset by a critical event Eventually they discover that their society is not what they had at first supposed As they discover truth, they also discover their true self or their true calling Bell also places characters in nontraditional roles, girls as warriors, men as scholars and so forth This book, like others she has written, deals with war and conflict.Spoiler Alert: What is interesting about this story is the Confederation of planets known as the T'chin, where 15 different sentient species interact The conclusion is that war and conflict are unnecessary because as people assimilate, they enrich culture and the conqueror becomes one with the conquered In a sense, this is true of the U.S The numerous peoples who immigrate are looking for a better life They join our economy, adopt our goals and enrich our culture We are a melting pot We have seen with post war Germany and Japan, that making people our friends is farprofitable than making them our downtrodden enemies.Yet I think it is naive to think that nothing will change when we embrace all cultures with their accompanying ideologies The underlying paradigms of our culture in the U.S are shifting, have shifted, and I believe will continue to shift, unless there is a major change in our current trajectory I do not know how long democracy can survive if our culture takes on radically different paradigms from the JudeoChristian foundation our Constitution rest on It could be that our ideas of Freedom may even be affected So while I do believe that the best way to deal with conflict and difference is to get to know each other and enrich our world by adopting the best from each other, I also think that we should be wise about what we embrace. This isof a 3.5, but I’m a positive sort of gal so we’ll go up on the rating A Matter of Profit is a pleasant little mystery that takes place on the recently conquered planet of T’Chin The main character Ahvren is a young man who is a member of the conquering race After fighting off planet, he finds himself with a compulsion that does not allow him to lie This is rather problematic, since his primary role in the story is to uncover an assassination conspiracy.This story is classic Hilari Bell If you like her other works, then you’ll enjoy this one as well It has a rawer edge to it than some of herrecent works which I really appreciate Her world is well imagined, and I enjoyed her various alien species, especially the scholar (though I wish she’d used his actual nameoften because I can’t remember it) Some of the plot twists left me covering my eyes in fear Some were predictable, but none were so obvious to make them any less enjoyable The characters were all very interesting, but they were a little less polished than I would have preferred Sabri, for example, had a bad case of “tell and not show” The way she was described and the way she acted through a majority of the book seemed disconnected She was not given enough “page time” in the books to really make me care about her or understand her Similarly, apart from the scholar, the other characters flit in and out of the storyline with little motivation I wantedof them Ahvren was delightful, but he wasn’t enough to carry the story on his own.Fans of Hilari Bell, then you will enjoy this book and it’s worth the price to nab a copy However, it is far from her strongest work If you haven’t read any Hilari Bell yet then you need to rectify that immediately But I would recommend starting with either her Farsala or Knight Rogue series first.