Tag Archives: romantic sci-fi

Review of Wild Blood (Cyborg Shifters #1), by Naomi Lucas

I borrowed an audio copy of Naomi LucusWild Blood through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Dommik was a monster, a Monster Hunter, and an alpha. Part of an elite group that dealt with the horrors of the universe. At least that was what everyone at the spaceport was whispering as he walked by. A Cyborg, a hunter, a beast with eyes as dark as the pits of Hell and the stride of a predator. 

Katalina was a nobody who was intimate with death. It clung to her like a shroud, It followed her like the plague, and infected her like a parasite. When she overheard that the Monster Hunter needed an assistant, she took the job. And when the Cyborg’s eyes caught hers, she knew getting closer to death might just bring her back to life. 

The Cyborg didn’t scare her. 
So she followed him and left fate up to chance. 

Review:

This was……

This was interesting, as people in my family would politely say to avoid saying anything bad. I listened to the audio version, so I can’t say with certainly that the editing was clean. But I didn’t notice any errors in the mechanical writing, as it was read. But the story was…not for me. 

I appreciated that the cyborg was less human-like than a lot of sci-fi romance cyborgs. He was truly a melding of machine, altered DNA and man (even during sex). And I appreciated that Kat wasn’t a pushover and went after what she wanted. 

But there was very little smooth progression in the romance (there was none). Dommik did some things I would find unforgivable. Most of the sex was subtly written using the language of abuse. The closest thing to an antagonist in the book is the only other significant female in the story (and she’s the sexy femme fatale archetype too, super cliched). And there’s no real plot or world-building beyond giving the characters somewhere to boink, but not so little as to mark this as straight erotica. All in all, I just kind of found this a weak showing in general. Plus, I thought the narration really flat. And sex scenes read with little inflection are awkward beyond belief.

Review of Safe Passage (Black Flag #1), by Rachel Ford

I received an Audible code for a review copy of Safe Passage, by Rachel Ford.

Description from Goodreads:

Go big or go home. For privateer Captain Magdalene Landon, it’s all about going big. For Kay Ellis, it’s about getting home. Together, they’re about to architect the most daring heist in the galaxy. Kay knows too much. She knows it’s a matter of time before a Conglomerate hitman finds her. She’s desperate for safe passage back to Union space. Then Magdalene shows up, promising a way home in exchange for that information. It’s a risky bet, but Kay is out of options. So she strikes a deal: the heist of the century for her freedom.Kay is playing a dangerous game, and she knows it. She’s made herself Enemy Number One of the Conglomerate. She’s relying on privateers for her safety. It’s a fool’s game. But the worst part is, her fool’s heart is starting to warm to the enigmatic captain. And that’s a risk for which she hadn’t planned.

Review:

I can’t say I enjoyed this book much. I didn’t find much that grabbed me. I felt the world wasn’t well developed, the romance was abrupt, the casual use of attempted heterosexual rape as motivation unoriginal (especially in a lesbian romance), and the characters were too Mary Sue like. Here’s an example, they kept people alive when they shouldn’t have. It felt like an artificial mechanism to move the plot along AND that the just author didn’t want them to seem like bad guys, especially considering those same characters end up dead anyway. It seemed inconsistent this insistence on ‘doing the right thing’ when they are basically thieves (and have already killed others).

This tendency to use obvious and inelegant artificial events for plot progression was also present in the romance. The characters got together, then one broke it off for sudden and stupid reasons. Then later apologized so they could get back together just as abruptly. You see it all coming a mile away.

Similarly, all the twists are as obvious as the sun. You know from very early on what is going to happen and when. 

The writing itself is fine, minus a tendency for characters to call Kay by name too often. And the narration too…for the most part. I actually greatly disliked how Rich voiced the characters. But that’s a matter of taste not quality. 

All in all, I think this was just a poorly matched book for me. I went in with high hopes. I love sci-fi romance, but this one wasn’t a winner for me.

Review of The 5th Gender (Tinkered Stars Mystery) by G.L. Carriger

I ordered a signed paperback copy of The 5th Gender, by G. L. Carriger from Borderland Books.

Description from Goodreads:

A species that has no word for murder, has a murderer aboard their spaceship. 

ALIEN 

Tristol lives in exile. But he’s built a life for himself aboard a human space station. He’s even begun to understand the complex nuances of human courting rituals. 

Detective Hastion is finally flirting back! 

MURDER 

Except that Tristol’s beloved space station is unexpectedly contacted by the galoi – a xenophobic species with five genders, purple skin, and serious attitude. They need the help of a human detective because there’s a murderer aboard their spaceship. Murder is so rare, the galoi don’t even have a word for it. 

Tristol knows this because he is galoi. 

ROMANCE 

Which means that he and Detective Hastion are on the case… together. 

Review:

I was super excited for this book. Carriger is one of my favorite authors and I thought this sounded like a very sweet MM sci-fi romance (one of my favorite genres). And it is. The problem is that it seems to depend far too heavily on being cute and feel-good and no where near enough on world building, character development and plot (not something I ever expected to say about a Carriger book). 

The love is basically instant, in that the characters are supposed to have been attracted to each other for a while. But all it took was one single conversation for them to go from distant but attracted to ‘lets move in together.’ So, I see no reason for this conversation not to have happened at any point in their past. The mystery is very easy to solve and, in todays (American) political climate, notably pointed. And I was disappointed to find that Carriger created a race with 5 distinct genders, but Tris was so recognizably feminized and then contrasted against Drey’s manly-madness. I feel like the premise promised to challenge gender stereotypes, but instead presented them un-interrogated. 

As always however, the writing is sharp and easy to read. Carriger’s trademark wit and humor are in abundance and the heroes are very likable. Maybe if my hopes hadn’t been so high to begin with I wouldn’t have been so disappointed at the end. It’s not a bad book by any means, just not as great as I had hoped.