Author: Linnea Sinclair
Published: 2005, Bantam Spectra
Category: SciFi Romance
I’ve loved the other two Sinclairs I’ve read (Games of Command and Finders Keepers), but this one I’m not so sure about. Lots of stuff that was really great, but also some things I thought didn’t work too well. And this appears to be one of her most popular titles with other people, so maybe I am odd. I am also feeling very lazy tonight, so excuse me if this review is a bit lacking.
The cover blurb actually gives a good description of the plot (amazing!), so I’m going to save myself from writing a synopsis:
After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’t commit–and shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows.What’s Yay: There are a lot of very interesting themes going on here--prejudices and ethnic persecution being the top of the list. We are introduced to characters who are Ragkiril---called “soul stealers” by those who don’t understand them, they are able to read minds, change people’s perceptions, and in some cases even erase memories. They are greatly feared for their abilities and shunned by society. Though they have been deemed as “evil” by the prevailing religion, we learn that they are no more good or evil than any other person. Sully’s good friend Ren is a Ragkiril, and Chaz is surprised to find that he is wise, gentle, and kind. I loved Ren. I found him the most interesting character in the whole book.
Gabriel Sullivan–alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue–is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom–for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line–but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.
What’s Less than Yay: I found the beginning rather slow, and to be honest I could never find it in me to care about the jukor-breeding plot. I never felt like the (reportedly horrible) consequences of jukor-breeding were adequately explained, so I never quite understood why Sully and Chaz felt this martyr-ish need to destroy them. That said, the action scenes themselves were very good. While the love story was nice, at times it came off a little melodramatic for me. My other complaint involves major spoilage, so I've whited it out:
The fact that Sully turns out to be a high level Ragkiril did make both his character and his relationship with Chaz much more complex and bring about some very interesting plot developments. I liked that Chaz was properly afraid and really needed time to overcome her prejudices. But at the same time it gave me two problems: (1) Chaz forgives Sully for reading her mind without permission too easily, imo. And who would want to have their significant other be able to read ALL their thoughts/emotions? No matter how much you trust your partner, that’s just asking for problems. (2) The whole “we are now fused together in an unbreakable bond” thing never sits well with me. If you reject my love, I WILL DIEEEEE!!! This bothers my independent spirit, though I guess it is uber-romantic. Too romantic for me, apparently.
I still enjoyed it though, and I have one more Sinclair in my TBR (Accidental Goddess) that I’m very excited about reading.