I’m catching up with Verona St. James’ Summer of SFR reviews, and wanted to post them in case any of you missed the last few.
The first is about GABRIEL’S GHOST by Linnea Sinclair:
It started out well enough, as I said I enjoyed the action packed opening on the prison planet. I also loved Sully and his cocky personality, he is your typical charming rogue, but I think Ms Sinclair did a good job at giving him many, many layers and slowly pulling them away, revealing them to Chaz and the reader. Unfortunately, I felt like Sully kept too many secrets, especially from Chaz when he professed himself to be in love with her, and the way he very deliberately parceled them out in increments felt much more like a plot device to keep him enigmatic than as an organic part of his character.
She also shared that she had difficulty engaging with the heroine, Chaz:
Chaz was a good heroine, but, and I'm having trouble articulating this, I felt no chemistry with her, no affiliation, no zing. I liked her OK, but there was nothing about her voice or her actions that made me sit up and say, "I want to party with this chick."
I think I’m the opposite of many GABRIEL’S GHOST readers—on the whole, I wanted to know more about Chaz than Sully, even though Sully is presented as the star of the show.
The second book is Catherine Asaro’s ALPHA. Of the hero Thomas, she observes:
Thomas was a pretty likable protagonist, and I appreciated how he was not a Teflon hero. Thomas gets beat-up and bruised and broken, and every confrontation he's in, he walks--or limps--away with injuries.
I appreciated that realistic treatment, particularly considering Thomas's age. Even Thomas himself notices he doesn't bounce back from rough-handling like he would have in his youth. This was a nice deviation from the usual SF hero, who is typically a robust specimen of Alpha-maledom.
She also points out that ultimately, the story belongs to Thomas. Upon reflection I realized that fit with my own observations no matter how big my crush on Alpha.
On a related note, Verona’s reading of ALPHA prompted her to reflect on The Problematic Nature of Immortality.
Lastly, her latest review is Sara Creasy’s cyberpunk adventure SONG OF SCARABAEUS. I skipped most of it since I recently started the book, but Verona concluded the review with:
I'd say if you're interested in complex world-building, a hot hero, and you don't mind a mild cliffhanger of an ending you should give this book a try.
From what I’ve read so far, the story lies in romantic SF territory, but the romance is structured in much the same way as a traditional romance—there’s just less of it in the beginning.
Thanks for your art, Verona!