*** Abandoned around 48%. *** He held himself like someone who'd spent his life in the military. And she knew what military men liked. “I didn't know y...more*** Abandoned around 48%. *** He held himself like someone who'd spent his life in the military. And she knew what military men liked. “I didn't know you were expecting me.” Renna used her best seductive voice. [...] Men were always so easy to read. [...] Gods, she hated working with other women. They were always so catty and competitive. Always so ready to stab you in the back if it meant getting ahead.
Sometimes I enjoy switching on my Kindle to buy a random, but recommended title on a complete whim. That's why I try to keep my paper TBR pile rather low. Having to sweep my eyes guiltily across a mountain of brand-new paperbacks when snuggling up with a spontaneous purchase kills half of the carefree fun. Futuristically flavored spaceship stuff has always held an inexplicably strong appeal for me, and a bit of boy-girl-electricity - if not overbearing - added to the mix is almost always appreciated. Therefore the enthusiastic review of Emily May, whose opinions I value highly, reeled me unto Amazon's shores with a juicy snap.
I eagerly started reading and found out quickly, that the world-building is unspectacular, but alright. Beam me up Scotty, if the weapons, vehicles and alien anatomies do not sound boringly startrekky: 'Heliolights', 'gamma particle stabilizers', 'nanotech spanners', 'radiowings', 'sonic screwdrivers' and 'magnacrafts'. Uhuh. That's cool sounding stuff, but it merely adds a thin sci-fi sheen to a more or less familiar high-class-thief setting. The setting is not the only thing that feels painted-on: “The smell of raw silk from his dark uniform making her take a step back. [...] The smell of starfuel, machinery, and space filled her lungs.”
I admit, I understand where Emily May's relieved gushing concerning the heroine's unrestrained use of her own body, her feeling at home in her physical shell, and her making the most of her feminine effect on guys comes from. All that usual focus on naive, timid and pure virgins in the need to be conquered, taught and saved grates on one's nerves pretty quickly. But I do not enjoy this 'liberated' shot at gender stereotyping more: All men are simple and quickly relieved of their innermost secrets, when a waterfall of thick and shiny hair (I cannot stand one single flick of the heroine's glorious ponytail more), a carefully window-dressed pair of boobs or a sultry voice is used to prod their explosive libido into action. In addition, men are always quickly hurt in their pride, being male equals being unconcerned about hygiene or the lack thereof in one's abode, and it means being able to differentiate work from private relationships. The crew of the 'November' consists only of men in order to do a kidnapping job properly without staff members being swayed by guilt or compassion for a victim young enough to be their kid. Naturally, their women-free vessel stinks and is in disarray, Renna notes with haughty disdain. On the other hand she does not like to work with other women, because they are all "catty and competitive" (compare quote on top).
"Sleeping with the chief engineer of the V’Mani Electrical Company had been one of her better decisions." / "With a sigh Renna followed Viktis from the ship. Good thing she’d washed her sexy underwear." I do not judge Renna for exchanging sexual favors for crucial information or access to her targets' inner sancti and I congratulate her for being able to feel pleasure even when encountering a stranger's naked body is mainly part of her business strategy, but I resent her conviction that because of male simplicity physical seduction is a foolproof method (Luckily at least MYTH leader Dallas seems to be unimpressed, which makes her saloon girl antics look rather silly and pitiful) and that she needs to employ it to keep that final edge, which others in her line of work do not have enough spunk or guts or sexiness to allow themselves to gain. Also I do not get why she is so angry about being called a whore. Her sexuality is a commodity she is quick to barter with. Women in the Star Thief universe do not maintain their shape to feel good but to get their way. To use a second example, Mary, the 'Athena's' on-board cook had been a mercenary in her youth, too, but after her husband's death and her switch from thief to kitchen staff she has allowed her body to go overweight and matronly - apparently she has no use for feminine weaponry anymore.
Even as the genre is concerned I differ with Emily and the majority of readers shelving the book. Renna is only 23 years old, but if plot wasn't relying so heavily on her body as a currency and a means to trick men to part with their brains and their secrets, she could as well be 50. She is very, very experienced and sought after in her profession, she knows the other players in her field and she speaks of immediate retirement plans more than just once. Therefore I would never label her story as New Adult fiction. I consider 'The Star Thief' as a standard example of romance-tinged scifi told from a female point of view. Most female romance heroines are in their twenties - whether they populate chicklit, historical bodice-busters or paranormal romance. New Adult to me means first job (uni time counts as well), first live-in partner or flat-mate, first attempts at being an independent adult. (Still, notwithstanding Renna's abundant experience and professionality she is trusting enough to let a very shady scientist with a murky agenda tamper with her broken brain implant. What if he installed a bomb, a tracker, something that makes her sense impulses which aren't real? Apparently even the best can be mightily stupid.)
I have not mentioned the love interest yet, which is probably unforgivable in a scifi romance review. Well, I have to say that after reading almost half of the book I have not learned much about the icy-eyed, well-muscled Hunter/Finn. It is obvious from the first encounter that apart from sexual tension there is a huge misunderstanding wedged between the former gang mates concerning who betrayed whom. And when that is cleared away, which is just a matter of time, everything will be peachy and the lacy underwear and the flexible, bulletproof spiderman-nano-schmano-suits will be ripped off under an ultra-violet dry-shower or in a starfuel tank.
'The Star Thief' has ‘self-published material’ written all over it. It shows a desperate need to be cleansed of annoying repetitions and ballast and turning-arounds-in-circles: Twice Renna is ultra-angry and shocked about the revelation that the rescue mission at the beginning had been just a test to assess her abilities. (”You mean you used this kid as a frakking test for me?” she snarled. / ”Was Myka's rescue a test?” Dallas nodded.) and I haven’t really counted how often she blathers about “a girl” and her need of "morals": A girl had to have her morals, but that line was getting further and further away the more he touched her. / But a girl had to have her principles, and slavery didn't fit into her moral code. / A girl had to have her morals, but where should she draw the line? *Sigh*. A girl has to have some stamina, but, I, personally, drew the line at 48% percent.
A less important side remark: I always thought that self-publishing meant being in charge of many things a traditional publisher otherwise decides without consulting you. Therefore I am very irritated that the cover girl looks so porcelain-dollish in spite of the heroine being in the possession of coffee-colored complexion.
Obviously, Renna and her adventures were not for me. But I am sure there are still some spaceship romps out that that do match my taste. Titles I loved were 'Startide Rising' by David Brin and 'Song of Scarabaeus' by Sara Creasy (both in the adult section). Can you recommend similar titles to me? I am curious about 'On Basilisk Station' by David Weber, ‘Perdition’ by Ann Aguirre and 'The Apollo Academy' by Kimberly P. Chase – although the latter is probably pretty chicklitty. (less)
"Don't you see? Those monsters you've been so worried about. Not aliens. People. The monsters have always been people."
What a thrilling ride to Centau...more"Don't you see? Those monsters you've been so worried about. Not aliens. People. The monsters have always been people."
What a thrilling ride to Centauri-Earth and back! Not counting the hours I slept and I had breakfast I read the final volume of Beth Revis' Goodspeed trilogy in one go. I enjoyed it a lot more than the second volume - of which I don't remember much apart from that the heroine had been running against time through the spaceship like a Wonderland rabbit on Speed with literary classics in her hand, because she had to solve riddle after riddle but no chance to think about them. It seems to me that the haste and the suspense did not allow for much else besides.
'Shades of Earth' on the other hand would work brilliantly as a movie because of its richness. I imagine it as a cross between 'Avatar', 'Jurrassic Park', 'Alien', 'Moon' and 'The City of Ember'. There is a just-in-time-crash-avoiding landing of the space shuttle, there are prehistorical seeming flesh-eating monsters, deathly flowers, a fighteningly high body-count Beth, I kind of got angry at you when Kit got murdered while I desperately hoped for that racist pig of a father to bite the dust in a painful way , hints at alien, but humanoid habitation, there are unbalanced fights for leadership, there is a deliberate use of known and unknown weapons, there is a food shortage and an engine fail on the Goodspeed, there is even a rather well-done love-triangle I admit its introduction made sense: Amy always wondered if she would have fallen for a different boy if there had been sane alternatives to Elder on the Goodspeed to choose from, there is romance, there is sex, there are several people that can or cannot be trusted, there is greedy corporate behavior, a severe daughter-father and a less severe daughter-mother conflict and a too large bunch of unfrozen specialists, who do not listen to or show the faintest interest in the crew that expertly kept them alive for centuries, but treat the "shipborn" (always spelled with a minuscle s in contrast to the "Earthborn" written with a capital E) as if they were impersonating Christopher Columbus' reincarnations with a master's degree in Degrading Supposedly Imbecile Primitives who are facing their first opponents.
If your initial Across the Universe-caused enthusiasm had - like mine - been waning a little bit while reading A Million Suns, I suggest to ignore that slight sense of deflation and to read Shades of Earth anyway. You will be rewarded with an awesomely entertaining end of a teenage space saga.
P.S.: Beth, what are you writing next? I am up to another adrenalin overdose.(less)
- that the young adult scifi novel was not one of those damned stand-alones with a real ending - that Mavkel was more human looking, had a hot, hot body and an 'Englisher' name like Paul or Oscar - that Oscar-Mavkel's and Joss' heart-string-tucking friendship was replaced by a forbidden instant-and-forever-love that would swallow up at least half of the plot and the majority of the heroine's thoughts.(less)
It started so promising, so very promising, tickling my appetite for graceful, ruthless assassins, outer space, old dynasties, artificially enhanced b...moreIt started so promising, so very promising, tickling my appetite for graceful, ruthless assassins, outer space, old dynasties, artificially enhanced bodies and a bit of dangeous romance on the side.
But soon, so very soon, the excellent premise got thoroughly drenched in stickily sweet romance of the manly-he-expertly-claims-what-is-his kind as he invested some expendable money and did circus tricks with his muscular tongue and other body extensions, whereas the new-planet-scenery simply served as a pseudo-alien stage mural upgraded with sensuous tastes and exotic smells.
For the first time I skimmed parts of an Ilona Andrews. Rather disappointing.(less)
** 2.5 stars ** A mixture of interesting ideas, a salute to the different, technical details overload and partly strange, partly prudish views on rela...more** 2.5 stars ** A mixture of interesting ideas, a salute to the different, technical details overload and partly strange, partly prudish views on relationships, physical intimacy and parenthood.(less)
"But you know, Terra, if you didn't want to be botanist, maybe you should have drawn something besides trees."
*** This review contains mild spoilers....more"But you know, Terra, if you didn't want to be botanist, maybe you should have drawn something besides trees."
*** This review contains mild spoilers. *** "Starglass" quietly tells the first half of hobby artist Terra Fineberg's coming-of-age story on board of the spaceship Asherah, which has been traveling towards the inhabitable planet Zehava for about 500 years and is due to land when the heroine is approximately seventeen, earning her bread in a specialist position and at least betrothed to someone council-approved. When an an asteroid had threatened to destroy Earth, numerous ships had been overrun with healthy, genetically promising individuals willing to survive. Terra's uninformed ancestor chose the safest option with the shortest list of applicants: An ark provided by a hierarchical society of secular, but strict Jews driven by the vision to create a completely new civilization by rearranging useful seeming scraps from Jewish rituals and morals and founded on the assumption that man is inherently evil and in need of being led.
I guess, from an objective point of view "Starglass" is a well-written, slowly paced young adult novel with a nice message. Liking or not liking it is a matter of individual taste and private expectations. My expectations were dangerously high, because I have enjoyed (book) blogger Phoebe North's reviews and essays for a few years now. I admired her expressive style, her considerate opinion and her personal history of falling in love with fiction - especially science fiction - as a child with limited access to reading material. Her desire to reproduce the euphoria she had experienced when she devoured a Mercedes Lackey or an Anne McCaffrey in others resonated deeply in me. And since I always had a soft spot for interstellar travel - although I never actively watched series like "Spaceship Orion", "Star Trek" or "Star Wars", because TV time was a controlled commodity, which was distributed in smallish doses in my parents' household - and plots set in confined, self-sustaining surroundings like space ships, cruise ships, submarines, remote islands, emergency shelters, floating cities and the like with bonus excitement added for futuristic world building, I was eager enough to get my hands on Phoebe's debut to preorder a copy. Noticing that Phoebe had consumed lots and lots of space-located films, shows and books and had concentrated deeply on travelling technology that would actually work or rather fail, I dreamt up a result that would be inevitably better than other attempts: More believable, more intricate, more creative and much more futuristic. The last wish was not founded on anything Phoebe said or wrote at all. It was fueled by my own fascination with interiors depicted in films like "The Fifth Element" and "The Island" or favorite books like "Startide Rising". The exceptional cover which had eventually been revealed for "Starglass" should have alerted me to the possibility that the novel would present an albeit different world-building, but not one defined by holographic plants, wondrous architecture or intelligent suits spun from space worm spit. It did not. My homespun explanation for Terra's woolen 20th-century-style coat was that the heroine is wearing earth-made clothing in reverent remembrance of her dear mother - the writer of the nostalgic letter at the book's beginning. The ivy? Well, which cover designer had ever been able to resist the urge to add an artistic touch, a contrasting color?
The step into the reality Phoebe had concocted for the inhabitants of the Asherah therefore proved to be extra deflating for me. I had to switch gears from gleaming steel corridors, sparse, multi-functional accommodations, high-tech communication and unknown wonders to a sleepy, rickety 1,000-souls-village with an in-ground cemetery, a clock tower, a cobble-stoned shopping district, flocks of sheep grazing next to fish-filled streams, printed school-books, two-storied brick-houses that come with staircases and galleries and are surrounded by decorative gardens, and ancient, flickering computers that have been running for centuries and are used only to control the weather, house plant databases and keep people's bloodlines from going incestal routes. In short, life on the vast vessel reminded me much more of "The City of Ember" than of any space adventure I have so far enjoyed (vocational and political matters included). But the comparison to Ember's slowly failing underground town and the comparison to my own childhood in a village that was inhabited by slightly less than 1,000 people brought additional food for thoughts and a slight incredulity to the surface: I wondered where the material for the various and dynamic fashion in the clothing shops comes from - there are, for instance, golden, shimmery wedding-dresses, and colors are in or out in the matter of a season. Are they made from sheep wool? Are there flax fields? Who spins the cloths? Who does the sewing? Are there a couple of factories? Terra's best friend wears lipstick. Does it make sense to produce decorative cosmetics for such a small group of potential customers? The Asherah's captain employs 50 guards. How can they be spared, when there is food, clothing, paper, household tools, school material and more to be made, machinery, housing and infrastructure to be maintained, the next generation to be hatched and taught and scientific experiments for life on Zehava to be conducted? Then there is the hatchery, where human foeti are nurtured and human DNA is tampered with, and there is the botany department, where new plants are created. Both institutions operate with only minimal computational support. Including me there were only eight children from my village in my grade even though some families had three children or more. Consequently I doubted that Terra's class would hold so many students of her age (I estimated between 35 and 40 on the day the vocations were distributed), when each couple has one girl and one boy. Until I reached the last chapters, in which Silvan Rafferty's grandmother is introduced in a side sentence, I had been convinced that the Asherathi eliminated their citizens as soon as they become elderly. Terra should call two sets of rather young grandparents, one uncle and one aunt her own. But there is only one estranged aunt (view spoiler)[How can people be estranged, when there is no physical distance between them? (hide spoiler)] mentioned and there seems to be no relative available to help out with her brother's baby. Also, I was astonished to read that being outside by nightfall is considered to be dangerous on board. What does that guard do all day? All in all, the depicted society did not match my experience of a small community whose members know each other inside out and cannot avoid having intertwined lives. Well, the place I where I grew up was no certainly no cosmos of its own.
Another aspect I thought strange was that the mission's original members, who were chosen for their Jewish background, managed to let crucial elements slip instead of handing them down to the next generation. Doesn't a culture survive because of its stories? Terra vaguely identifies Israel as a place on Earth and has never heard of the Tora - But someone startled me with the sentence like "Where the the hell is the captain?", considering that God has been filtered out of the culture by its founders. Would not the story of the Exodus have matched the Asherahti's search for their own land of milk and honey wonderfully? On that note I have to add that I did not mind the unfamiliar vocabulary (gelt, bashert etc.) at all. Maybe I have it easier as a non-native speaker. Unfamiliar words attack me all the time in books. I just let them come and relax. I could have relaxed with the puzzling world-building, too.
The responsibility for the two missing stars, however, carry the characters and their inability to make me invest emotions in their decisions. I believe that the lack of connection is a mainly personal thing and that I would not have noticed the slow pacing of the first half had the heroine's fate interested me more. And I am aware that judging the actions of a fictional character, whose education has been so thoroughly different to the people I am setting up as the norm, is pretty unfair or impossible. But I really did not get Terra most of the time although she is a victim of her situation: First no one looked after her, although she neglected her hygiene and her clothing, was late for school and obviously beaten by her alcoholic dad. Then she started to hide with her drawing equipment in the forest and lost interest in almost everything else - including vocational possibilities besides portrait artist and their consequences for her adult existence and her connections within the hierarchy. Although there are only two years to secure a required husband, the pressure to make a decision comes as a huge surprise to her. And although is it more than obvious that the rebel group's agenda and method of keeping their followers in line are exactly as patronizing and as strongly aimed at reaching personal gains as the ship's council's, Terra apologizes for having asked for the leader's name and the greater goal and hastens to meekly do as she was bid. I understand the lesson Terra learns during that phase is what finally makes her grow as a person. Still, I had to release two or three exasperated sighs on account of her too many. In addition, I do not think that her discovery of other equally bad people on board besides the captain and her friends is reason enough to grant her absolution and let her continue to play the dictator. Terra's father, Arran, had already lost me at his wife's funeral, when he had labeled his daughter as a burden and whined about having to spend the rest of his life without a mate. No change of heart or demeanor or explanation (view spoiler)[Trust me: There is an explanation, but it reached a hardened heart. (hide spoiler)] could redeem him enough after that selfish outburst. His plans were too easy to foresee, too. Characters I instantly liked were botanist Mara Stone - although she missed so many chances to really enlighten Terra -, her young daughter and Terra's best friend Rachel. They were delightful - pinky swear. There was no joy at all for me in reading about Terra's love matters. I appreciated that Terra has erotic dreams and longs to put a few fantasies into action regardless of a specific recipient. In spite of the thumbs up in this department, I felt the lack of a worthy love interest to swoon about severely. Both of the boys Terra starts having a romantic relationship with put the reader at unease for valid reasons and not just because they both stink. But by and by I really resented the nicely slender and geeky one's clammy hands, his evasive looks and movements, and I slightly gagged when the privileged one entered the scene with his long, black, shiny curls, his slug-like, fat lips, his cocky smirk, his puppet-like ignorance, childish whining and condescending stance.
The best about the novel were the diary entries written by first generation passenger Frances, a grown-up woman whose lover had died. I felt her pain and her initial indifference and wished I could have read her complete story. Maybe Phoebe should attempt an adult-targeted scifi novel in the future? For even though I am not planning to buy "Starbreak", "Starglass" did not discourage me from still expecting great things to come from its author.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
2.5 stars altogether. *** There will be spoilers. But then I have surely been the last girl on the planet to read this book. So what? *** ”His gaze lin...more2.5 stars altogether. *** There will be spoilers. But then I have surely been the last girl on the planet to read this book. So what? *** ”His gaze lingered on my face, and warmth blossomed in my belly. ‘Maybe I’m just curious why she is so enamoured. Dee doesn’t take well to strangers. None of us do.’” This quote is extracted from one of the 'friendlier' scenes in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s young adult paranormal series starter Obsidian, which openly celebrates the hotness factor of supernatural jerks by calling out to the readers “The jerkier, the hotter! This hero knows that he’s an «asshat», but he likes it that way and doesn’t feel the need to make things right. Hail to the champion of demeaning superpower users!” I am certainly aware of the turn-on-effect the attraction between the moody catch (i.e. Mr. Darcy, Edward Cullen, Damen Auguste or Patch Cipriano) and the average girl with drawbacks (i.e. Lizzy Bennett, Bella Swan, Ever Bloom - such a ridiculous name – or Nora Grey) can have on the female reader.
And I do love Mr. Darcy and Edward as well – especially in those helpless moments in which they realize, that their scheming or their pride has done them in and that love hurts. But in contrast to Damen or Daemon and other “sexy demons” they are finally able to put their earlier off-putting behavior into perspective. Although far from perfect, their efforts to keep a distance to the objects of their desire become relatable somehow. I cannot relate to cruel or deliberately mean, though, and am puzzled that so many girls can. Daemon is Damen’s successor in the shitty-heroine-treatment department: He is equally full of himself and purposefully embarrasses, taunts and insults Katy, but he also feels entitled to account for his modus operandum by stating that he is a guy, that he is just “that awesome” or by changing the subject to something that is basically another way to make Katy squirm or boil in a not so cute way.
Of course the feeble solution presented later is that staying away from the oh-so-special human Katy and preventing the forming intimacy between her and his only sister were necessary to keep his species safely undercover. But this - fully expected - explanation for the heightened jerk-factor did not convince me in the least. There is a huge difference between treating your neighbor like she is dirt - or worse - and keeping your polite distance to someone you are not keen on spending time with. Everyone who is not elephant-skinned gets the signals of disinterest. Plus, the childish, partly hysteric the-likes-of-me-do-not-play-with-the-likes-of-you mantra is rather a perfect trigger of a rising awareness and suspicion than a hint at the desire to be let alone. After the big, long-awaited revelation Daemon justifies his need to let Katy in on the secret by claiming that he had to, because she was about to find out anyway. But then he has his trackable superpower stunts to save her (from being hit by a truck *ding-dong*) in mind, instead of the obvious cause, namely his and bitchy non-girlfriend Ash’s ongoing insistence to differenciate noisily between "us" and "them": ”Daemon was quiet and then he laughed. ‘You’re not really like them.’ ‘Like who?’ […] I had no idea what he meant by the whole not like them or needing a friend like me.” ... Or later ... ”Ash’s smile faded. She took a step back. “This is her?’ […] ‘I can’t do this, Daemon. Maybe you guys can be okay with this, but I am not.’”
Another stupid move of the extraterrestrial team was that they all chose to morph their shape into human supermodels when they took refuge on earth. A great way to blend in with the small-town crowd, really! And I doubted that the US Department of Defence would simply finance a couple of hundred harmless seeming teenagers from space a luxurious life without trying to find foster families or group homes for them.
Katy is not entirely helpless or passive. She loves to make use of her middle finger, she uses spaghetti as a weapon and she tries not be over-rolled, out-smarted or made an example of. Still, there were several things I despised about her: - She is often very, very dense. - Her choice of come-backs was cringeworthily childish most of the time. (i.e. she resorts to claiming dangerous things like “I would not play in your sandbox / kiss you / touch you / share your lollipop if you were the last boy in this universe” while trying to tune down her heartbeat. Naturally he is always able to prove her wrong and makes her drool and stutter wearing that smug smirk of his. I wanted her to stay cool and say something like “So what, slimy Six-Pack? I am a teenager. I have eyes and my glands produce hormones. But that doesn’t mean I want every trollop with a yummy exterior to stick his wiener into my mustard pot. Got it?”) - She goes all Bella and asks the – understandable, but exploitable – question concerning the aliens’ method of reproduction and receives the “typically Deamon” counterquestion as an answer: ”’Are you asking if I am attracted to human girls?’ [...] 'Or are you asking if I am attracted to you?’” - She thinks she is “best friends” with the girl next door after meeting her for a couple of times although it is obvious that the chatty beauty only blathers superficially without sharing something personal. - She admits that Daemon had been right when he warned her not to accept another boy's invitation to the dance, because said jock – who had initially been described like he was a perfectly nice and friendly guy – suddenly had a ‘reputation’ as a date rapist. Sure, her date’s drunken fumbling turned out to be physically aggressive, but Daemon’s own advances did not always fare better in comparison, and Katy could also have accepted, but have made her opinion on drunken driving or casual groping simply clear when it started - instead of waiting until escalation and hanging her head in shameful remorse afterwards. I thought it was too convenient to turn someone else into a really bad boy to make the hero’s equally black armour shine in comparison. Plus I hated that Katy just felt it in “every bone” that Daemon would never hurt her. Screw teenage intuition! - She agrees to take a stroll deep into the woods each time she is asked to - just because Mr. Megajerk thinks he can think and talk better under a canopy. I had the faint impression that the author was a little bit too much in love with the twosome forest scenes in Twilight and was not able to resist the compulsion to sample its scenery (see also the truck fiasco). - Her obsession with the nuances of relationship vocabulary. I have constructed a prototype conversation to highlight my point. You just have to imagine it playing in an endless shuffle loop to grasp how intensely Katy’s thoughts were captivated by the subject: - ’Why do you hate me?’ - 'I don’t hate you, but I hate your stupid kind. I don’t want my only sister to be around the likes of you.’ - 'Oh. What do you mean - the likes of me? Short girls with boobs? But you don’t know me. I dislike you, by the way. So.' - ‘You think? I know you are attracted to me.’ - ‘Attracted, yes, I mean, no way. Attraction is too much. I lust after your body. That is, I like your body. But not like like ... Is that clear?’ - ‘Well. I get mightily turned on by your blush. Here. Let me poke my manly errection into your hip to show you. Wanna tumble me in the lake?’ - ‘Oh! No need to use body language, buddy. I swear, I'll show you my finger, when I've caught my breath. So you like me! I didn’t know that.’ - ‘No. I don’t like you. I am just a guy with a blush fetish.’ - ‘As I said, I don’t like you either. But I kind of like the other you. The secret, sweet one that got snatched away by aliens, you know?’ - ‘Erhem. I pretend now that I didn’t hear you say that. Otherwise you’ll get ideas that I might be one of them ... And I have to stay undetected by all means, because I am by far the strongest and most disciplined one of us.‘
As a relatively tame romance, one which ultimately avoids penetration, Obsidian has its fair share of sexual tension: The countless moments involving grabbed chins, widened eyes, accelerated heartbeats, moved strands of hair, thickened voices, grazed skins and quivering fingers did have their merits. I forked out half a star in appreciation of them.
The first sexy lake scene which shows Daemon trying to coax Katy to skinny dip reminded me of one of my childhood favorites, Pictures of Adam by Myron Levoy, in which 14-years-old, traumatized Adam believes he is an Alien, frightens his potential girl-friend, Lisa, by staying underwater far too long and succeeds in getting her to completely undress and join him in the ice-cold water. Wow. That realistic, tender and funny scene was dripping with hormones and restraint and sweet awkwardness! Dark, smirking Daemon and his confident demonstration of feel-up-skills is nothing in comparison. Maybe Jennifer L. Armentrout read that wonderful book in her youth, too (I think she is a couple of years younger than I, though).
To readers who are fond of books with a lot of intelligent boy-girl-bickering in them I would rather recommend the Australian debut Shadows by Paula Weston. Mysterious, supernatural Rafa knows where to prod and poke to trigger an explosion, but he also knows how to steer clear of the jerk trail. I would categorize the included “almost”-sex scene as being very hot and I extremely enjoyed the heroine’s tendency to swear extensively .
Last I have to add that the extraterrestrial aspects concerning asylum seekers from the galaxy farthest from ours - interesting to learn that the universe has an end – severely disappointed me. Although I couldn’t stand the sickly instant-love story I admit that I would probably prefer the scifi romance Neptune's Tears. But the alien teen romance I am willing to gush about is still somewhere out there in the vast void of writers’ minds. (less)
*** Decided to let it go after 244 exhausting pages and the slowly forming wish that the buggers, whoever they were, got them all and ate the planet f...more*** Decided to let it go after 244 exhausting pages and the slowly forming wish that the buggers, whoever they were, got them all and ate the planet for lunch. ***(less)