Friday, May 18, 2007

Gabriel's Ghost, Linnea Sinclair

Title: Gabriel's Ghost
Author: Linnea Sinclair
Published: 2005, Bantam Spectra
Category: SciFi Romance
Rating: 6.5/10

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.

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 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.

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.


Crazee4books said...

Hi Jennie, Lovely to find your blog and discover a fellow book lover who reads many of the same authors that I do. I'm eager to get my hands on the latest Kelley Armstrong book. Discovered her a year ago and have devoured all of her books. I shall enjoy reading your blog. Cheers Judy

jmc said...

Your not yay section hit on one of my problems with Gabriel's Ghost. I didn't post a review of it, although I did post my opinion to a chat group. Must see if I can find a copy of my post in the archives. What I remember best (and what I found irritating) was the repeated phrase about jukors breeding and women dying.

Kristie (J) said...

Heh heh. I just finished this one earlier tonight and will probably have a review up shortly. I really enjoyed it and what bothered you didn't bother me. I think Sully respected Chas to much to not read her every thought by the end. He could still read her emotions, but he stayed out of her thoughts unless she called to him.
And *chuckle* I liked the unbreakable bond thing.

Rosario said...

Damn, between the fact that I read the original e-book version (which had some big differences from the print one, from what I've heard), and that I read this a few years ago, I can barely remember if what bothered you was a problem for me. All I can tell you is that I really liked this one.

Devon said...

I've been apprehensive about this one, because I tend not to like stories where one character is a ghost. Eh, I'll probably try it at some point. I 'll do Finders Keepers first, though.

CindyS said...

I just got Games of Command so I will try reading that one before getting any other books by her.

Even though I do like the idea of 'mates' I don't like if one is all 'I'll die if you leave me!!' Hey, if the H/H were to keep mum about it and maybe the other found out another way it would be better.

Kresley Cole's last book, although not my favourite, had the hero meeting his soulmate (bride cause he is a vamp) but I liked that at one point the heroine said 'Do you love me?' and he was like 'uh, no'. Made it easier for me ;)


Jennie said...

Hi Judy! You should definitely get the new Armstrong--I think it's one of the best in the series.

JMC--Yeah, the jukors breeding and killing the Taka women was sad, but I just didn't feel like it was a very compelling plotline.

Kristie--I did enjoy it, just not as much as the others I'd read. Maybe it is a case of judging a favorite author too harshly. ;)

Rosario--I heard that the final scene was changed when the book went into print (though I could be completely wrong). It would be interesting to see how different they are.

Devon--Actually, you don't have to worry because there aren't any ghost characters. "Gabriel's ghost" refers to the fact that the hero is reportedly dead when the book begins, but he's just faked his own death. So, no worries! Though I liked Finders Keepers better anyway. :)

Cindy--I liked Games of Command best of the Sinclairs I've read, so that's definitely a good one to start with. Lol about the Cole book! I hope the hero eventually changed his mind. ;)

nath said...

Hey Jennie :D I was wondering, could you tell me if her books are a series? I reamd Games of Command recently, and I kept having the feelings that I should know some of the stuff that is being talked about ^^;

sorr you didn't enjoy this book as much!

Devon said...

Heh. No ghost boyfriend? I'm glad I spoke up, b/c now I'm more inclined to read it. Thanks for the heads up.

Jennie said...

Nath--I don't think any of her books are related--at least the ones I've read haven't been. I know what you mean about GoC--I felt that way too. I believe that Sinclair wrote a bunch of short stories about the characters that were e-pubbed a long time ago, some of which she incorporated when writing GoC and some not. I hope I'm right about that. But it's not part of a series.

Devon--I would be scared off by a ghost hero too. :)