I enjoyed Star Born (1957) a lot more than Star Hunter. The main characters are more interesting, the world is more fleshed out and has more to do with the story itself, and the story actually has a point to it beyond “cool stuff happens!”
Again there are two main characters: one the descendant of humans who fled an oppressive Earth decades ago and were stranded on another world. The other, a member of a modern survey team from a freer Earth. The colonists befriended an ocean-dwelling species that helped them survive, but the survey team is focused on the cities built by the planet’s other intelligent species, one that looks more human and has more complex technology, but is far more brutal and warlike than the mer-people.
On one level it’s an adventure: the human born on this world is going through a rite of passage with his best friend from the mer-people. The city-builders are sifting through the ruins of their own nuclear war for lost technology. There are giant beasts to fight and so on. But woven through it are themes of colonialism, prejudice, and cultural identity, sometimes nuanced, sometimes ham-handed, but ultimately more important than the space opera.
It’s a sequel to The Stars are Ours, but I didn’t know that going in and didn’t feel like anything was missing. The book stands well on its own.