I'm still on my mission to reread the Darkover novels, this time in the order they were published. The first in the series and published in 1965, Star of Danger is the first that's writing has held up.
The protagonist is Larry Montray, a teenager transplanted to Darkover from Terra when his father takes a post there. Before they even leave earth, Larry is taken with the place, learning its language and wanting to dive into its culture, something that most people on Terran Empire space station are uninterested in. He is befriended by a local teen, an aristocrat and gets his wish. The two of them have some harrowing adventures together and by the end are viewed as the planet's best hope to move Darkover into the future without destroying it.
My biggest complaint is that it's a big sausage fest. There are two female characters, neither of them named. One appears for about two seconds, and the other has only a minor impact on the story. wtf MZB? Still, we're starting to meet the characters and themes that prevail in the series.
In Star of Danger (I guess the titular star refers to the psychic abilities enhancing crystal?), Bradley contrasts the two cultures' approaches to conflict. On Darkover, people solve problems on their own, or between families, as opposed to bringing the law into everything.