Enchantress From the Stars has a bit of an ambitious high concept, and pulls it off very well. The main ‘problem’ with the book is a galaxy full of inhabited planets where all the naturally-occurring intelligent life is human, or very nearly so; but paying attention to alien biology would be to miss the point of the book (and in 1970, it was still a somewhat acceptable idea).

The book is a clash between three civilizations, with a viewpoint character from each one. The ‘main’ story is given by the most advanced civilization, which has a non-interference policy that makes the Prime Directive look fairly tame. They keep keep themselves hidden from ‘younglings’: civilizations at a less-developed stage than themselves, including several star-faring ones, letting them find their own way, and assert that trying to help only leads to problems and stunted development.

But they do interfere on occasion. Such as here, where a less-developed Empire (I don’t think any other name is given) is colonizing a planet with natives that are still at a medieval level of development. The Service sends a small team to scare the Empire off the planet, and leave both cultures to evolve on their own. There are plenty of problems of course, and it makes a good YA adventure, with a certain amount of philosophy and growing up.

The main part that works is each of the three viewpoint character’s sections are written differently. They’re not announced or otherwise kept rigid enough to ordinarily keep it from being confusing, but the style changes between the three is so marked as to eliminate that problem. The native’s point-of-view is by far the most striking, being written with the feel of a lot of medieval tales, and is very successful. The Empire’s point-of-view conversely is the weakest, being in a conventional third-person, and being the least frequent, and least involved in the actual plot.

It’s a little too obvious with the points that it is making, but the novel does avoid feeling ‘preachy’, by virtue of the main character always being challenged to thing thinks out herself, so the philosophy is always a dialog. So it maintains a good flow and remains a fun read throughout, with the plot and characters always keeping center stage.