Christine's Reviews > Primary Inversion

Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
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Jan 24, 11

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bookshelves: science-fiction

This book featured a number of compelling moments, sandwiched between a few extreme info dumps and techno babble.

To put this in perspective, it has been a long time since I've ventured into space opera, so I might not be remembering genre norms very well, but the first three chapters of this book were really just one long, boring info dump. The problem with this kind of info dump is actually two-fold: First, it was boring to read, and came very close to making me put the book down. (I'd had anything else I really wanted to read waiting for me, or I probably would have.)

The other problem with an info dump like this one is that later in the book, when the information became relevant, I couldn't remember it very well. I'm still not clear on what a Rone is or why it's so rare, or so important for the heir to the throne to be one, or how they've managed to maintain that line given how few of them there are.

This book would have been much, mubhc better, I think, if I had been reading it in print, instead of audio. I could have skimmed the boring bits, and then flipped back for reminders when I needed to know something. I could have skipped some of the longer sections of techno babble altogether, because even though I realize some readers love that stuff -- I'm not one of them.

What I'm interested in -- what interested me enough that I gave the book 3 stars despite the way I just lambasted it -- is the human element. Sauscony is a powerful empath, with borderline telepathic abilities. She is also a warrior, with a computer running through her body and brain. She's got issues -- a few years earlier, one of the enemies captured and tortured her for three weeks. Apparently, the Traders are some kind of anti-empaths who can't feel pain, and they use empaths for sadistic pleasure. So when she meets the Trader Empire's heir, she's understandably wary.

The book includes Sauscony's personal growth, her problems with relationships, some political intrigue, and a bit of a love story, all of which worked fairly well. I admit that I was a bit put off by the 25 year difference in ages between the lovers, but the author managed to make it matter less to me than it normally would have, probably because of their shared empathy.

My only other complaint about this book was the use of the first person in a story that I felt had two clear sides. I'm not really sure why it was told that way, since the narrative voice wasn't that strong (it wasn't bad, either -- my only real issue with it was that I felt the story was half told). The Trader Empire seems so hopelessly evil to me at this point that I almost have trouble believing it -- but I think it's because of the one-sidedness of the story. As much as Sauscony tried to understand some of it when she linked empathically with Jaibriol, it just left too many holes.

I am undecided whether or not I will continue reading this series. If you like space opera, and if you can read this in print (I'm blind, so I don't have the option), you may like this.
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