Sunday 8 January 2012

Darkship Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt

This is my first DNF of the year.

Plot summary as follows :- Athena Sinistra has to leave her father's space cruiser in a hurry when she wakes up in the middle of a mutiny. Taking refuge in a lifepod she is picked up by a Darkship - one of many that steal the power pods needed by Earth. The pilot of the ship - Kit - cannot return Athena to Earth, he has no choice but to take her to his home. However, Athena hasn't given up hope that she'll be able to get away and that's the one thing that Kit can't let her do.

I read a review of this on someone's blog, can't remember which one as it was quite a while ago now. And it sounded really good. Unfortunately when I came to read it I just couldn't get into it.

I think the main problem being that I didn't like the heroine and when a book is written in first person, that's a big problem. She's spoiled, arrogant and selfish and after 200 pages I just didn't want to read about her any more. Kit was a slightly more interesting character and I wish we'd been able to get into his head a little more.

It also felt like there was a slight disparity between the ages of the characters and what they'd accomplished. Athena was 19 (which might have explained some of her behaviour and immaturity) but she'd also packed an awful lot into her short life. I felt as if parts of the characters didn't quite match up. Hopefully there would have been some character growth and development after the point at which I stopped reading. I'm assuming that by having the characters start at an "unattractive" point, there is the suggestion that they will develop and grow by the end of the book.

But basically it didn't work for me. Maybe because one of my favourite books is Stardoc by S. L. Viehl which covers some similar themes and I couldn't help compare it unfavourably to that.

So, not one for me, but I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who'd enjoy it. A quick word on the cover - I think it's meant to be the scene from the beginning of the book when Athena is rescued from the powerpod fields by Kit. I will point out that in the story she was in a lifepod at the time and not half naked in the vacuum of space.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Her Vampire Husband - Michele Hauf


Werewolf princess Blu has agreed to marry the vampire lord Creed (under duress) in a bid to end the hatred between the werewolf and vampire nations. Unfortunately neither of them are completely honest with their intentions going into the ceremony and rather than preventing a war, their relationship may trigger one.

I had a lot of problems with this book and really am torn between wanting to give it a D rather than a C-. But some of the dialogue just hit the spot, it's a pity that for most of the book the heroine had no consistency whatsoever.

I don't think this is an unfamiliar tale in a way - essentially it's a Romeo and Juliet - but the problem is that neither character is honest with the other. Neither of the factions have any intention of keeping the promises made at the wedding ceremony - which makes it hard to believe in the love they declare for each other halfway through the story.

I think the main problem I had was with the way that the heroine is written. She's either deliberately being written as an unreliable narrator for the first half of the book or she's just not being written with any consistency. I actually feel it's more the latter than the former. And because most of the story is written from her point of view, it makes it difficult to actually fall into the story.

She also behaves like a child for much of the first half of the book - she is so indignant when she finds out that the vampires didn't intend to stick to the treaty, but she's got no justification for that feeling really, because she knows full well that the werewolves have no intention of sticking to the treaty either. I find it hard to reconcile the character as written, with the experiences that we're told she's had later in the story. It's a pity because I feel there was a real opportunity here to write an incredibly strong female character, but that just didn't happen.

What's also a shame is that some of the dialogue is really sharp and cuts straight to the bone.
"I don't want to play the game anymore, Creed. I wish you could make it stop."
...and some of it is quite funny
"Intimacy bonds the couple."
"So does superglue."
If they'd sat down, talked to one another and been honest - after all they supposedly love each other - a lot of strife could have been avoided. But I guess that would have been a different story. I think if Blu had been written in a more powerful way I would have understood why she didn't talk. By powerful I mean showing the reader that wariness and caution underneath Blu's bravado, too often we're just told by the author how Blu is feeling.

I think Creed was written slightly better. You did get the feeling that he regretted his past deeds and was trying to make up for them. And his actions at the end make for the most powerful scenes in the book. Another reason why they felt slightly mismatched as a couple.

There are some things which I think should have been picked up, or at least queried in the editing process. For example, if your mind takes a 360 degree turn, it doesn't mean you've changed your mind, you've actually ended up at the same point you started from. And having a werewolf change be triggered by the last chime of midnight seems silly. What if the werewolf hasn't got a clock, what if the clock's wrong?

I think the second half of the book was stronger than the first. And though some of the characters and the premise were interesting, I don't think this is a series that I'd personally follow any further. I think it's worth checking out, but for readers that prefer a story to cut a little deeper it might be a bit light.