Friday, 1 June 2012

CBR4 Book 53: "Gabriel's Ghost" by Linnea Sinclair

Page count: 447 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Date begun: May 9th, 2012
Date finished: May 12th, 2012

Captain Chasidah "Chaz" Bergren has been stripped of her rank, court-marshaled and sent to die on a remote prison planet for a crime she didn't commit. She is defending herself from a brutal attack from a jukor, a vicious genetically engineered  killer creatures believed to be extinct, when she is rescued by a man she (and most of the rest of the world) thought was dead. Gabriel Ross "Sully" Sullivan needs her help in tracking down the people who are once again breeding jukors, and he's willing and able to get her off the planet in return for her aid.

In the years before Sully faked his own death (for a whole number of reasons), he was known as a mercenary, smuggler, sometimes space pirate and all around rogue. On opposite sides of the law, Chaz and Sully would banter and flirt, but Sully would always get away in the end, and Chaz was always drawn to him. So when they team up for a dangerous mission, it doesn't take long before sparks fly between them. But Chaz also wants to find out who set her up, and Sully has a number of secrets that could stand in the way of their future.

I don't normally read a lot of sci-fi, and mainly picked this up because it was May's pick of the month in Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy Hangout. Besides, I do try to challenge myself to trying new things occasionally. When reviewing the book at the end of this month, the four ladies who run the book club all highlighted a number of things they weren't overly fond of about this book. I agree with them on several points.

As far as I can tell, this is one of Sinclair's earliest novels, and some of the writing is quite repetitive and cliched. There's also Sully's deep dark secrets. I didn't  have problems with Sully having things he was hiding from Chaz (dude's entitled to some privacy now and then), but the truth kept coming out in little drips, where every time, the situation got a bit more extreme, and he ended up a little bit more unbelievably special and unusual. I can see why there are sides he's afraid to reveal to Chaz (due to the nature of said secrets), but he also takes liberties which are not cool, and when Chaz eventually finds out, her reaction is not to turn around and confront him with the massive betrayal of her trust, but to pretty much instantly forgive him, because, well she loves him now. I don't want to go into more specifics for fear of spoiling the plot.

Chaz starts out as a strong and independent heroine, but seems to change her character almost entirely towards the end of the book, when she pretty much submits completely because of her woobly feelings for Sully. I have no problem with character development, but it makes me sad when the supposedly strong female regresses into a weak-willed ninny just because she's found the love of a big strong man.

There's good stuff in this novel too, though. While normally not a fan of sci-fi (I don't know why I'm fine with dragons and faeries and vampires and werewolves etc. in fantasy, but the minute it's set in space, my brain goes: meh), the actual space travel and quest to stop the evil jukor breeding was pretty good. Ren, who is Sully's blue-haired alien sidekick is awesome, and I pretty much enjoyed every scene he was in. A lot of the dialogue was excellent, and I did like the depth of feelings Sully clearly had for Chaz, and had never had the guts to tell her about before he rescued her from the prison planet.

Felicia Day insists that several other Linnea Sinclair books are much better than this one, but while I didn't hate this one, it didn't exactly wow me either. I doubt I'll be checking out others by her any time soon.

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