Death World is a really entertaining read. Jason dinAlt is the hero, a gambler with psionic abilities who is hired by the ambassador of planet Pyrrus (hint, hint) to engineer a gambling coup. He ends up visiting Pyrrus, the most deadly planet ever colonised by humans. All plant and animal life is predatory, and the colonists are locked in a ceaseless battle with them. The colonists, despite their incredible toughness and discipline are slowly losing the battle. Jason sets out to understand this mysterious phenomenon and save the colony. It was a clever story and I really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed the sequels a lot less.
WARNING: THE PARAGRAPHS BELOW CONTAIN SPOILERS.
Having enjoyed Death World, I looked forward to Death World 2. My initial issue was that the world Jason is stranded on in the sequel isn’t as inventive as Pyrrus, and it didn’t feel as deadly. However, a much bigger issue was Micah. The entire book hinges on him being incredibly annoying and doing annoying things, and well. for me at least, he overachieves. He is the most annoying character in any book I’ve read. EVER. So much misery could have been avoided if what had happened to him at the end happened to him at the beginning. I suppose I have to rate the book a bit higher than I otherwise would, because Micah made such an impression on me, albeit not a very happy one.
Death World 3 started out interesting but it rapidly became clear we were dealing with some pastoral warrior/invader setting. Jason’s plan find a home for the Pyrrans on this third planet is convoluted and over-the-top. He effectively facilitates genocide of the more advanced lowland cultures to wear out the warlike tribesmen in his way. It is an example of where you are supposed to root for the hero because he is the hero, and ignore the morality of his actions, actions that any dastardly villain would be proud of. I didn’t enjoy it so much.