C. J. Cherryh, 2005
It's two books in one! Two... completely unconnected books. According to Wikipedia, they take place in the same universe, but I didn't get that from reading them.
Cuckoo's Egg (1985)
Intriguing premise that never really goes anywhere, more of an extended character background than a novel in it's own right. The identity of the main character is interesting, but not surprising the way the book seems to imply it should be. The politics are slightly too muddled, the plot fuzzy. The last little bit has all the plot, and then it ends. It does bring up some intriguing ideas, and the society of Space-Cat-Samurai is fairly original, but I'd prefer if those ideas were attached to more of a plot.
Serpent's Reach (1980)
Very cool world, interesting, if confusing, plot. Again I could have wished for a bit more resolution (Of the situation outside of the planet the plot ends on), but this one's much better. Probably the best space-bug society I've ever seen. I like the idea of the Kontrin, (long-lived humans who have a hereditary ability to communicate with the bugs) and why the castes of humans were necessary/came about. In describing this book to Erin, he pointed out that the human castes are like an insect society. I feel silly for not adding two and two myself. Cherryh's world building is solid and original enough that I'll definitely look for more of her work. Even though apparently her last name is really Cherry, but she changed it because it was too feminine to sell sci-fi. Sigh.
3 Stars - A Good Book