Story in a nutshell:
This story is part of a series. Readers who have read the earlier books in the series will recognize the characters right away, but I didn’t read the earlier books before reading this. I was able to follow the story quite well with little or no confusion.
Synopsis on Goodreads: While resting at Space Station Phoenix, Zyra Zanr comes down with a mysterious sickness. She meets Ryan Grant, the station doctor. Fearing that she is dying of a terminal disease, Zyra turns to Ryan for support. But things spiral out of control and their budding friendship explodes into a full-blown romance.
Their tryst inflames the wrath of Ryan’s jealous wife, ultimately leading to betrayal and murder. Even as her health worsens, Zyra’s uncontrollable desire for Ryan takes her down a dark path of unbridled sensuality that threatens the destruction of her very soul.
Descriptive language woven into the telling of the story as opposed to blocks of description in between actions
4 – 4.5 / 5
Anyone who enjoys science fiction will undoubtedly find this story enjoyable. There is, of course, the space/military lingo throw in with the characters’ ordinary days, but the story focuses mainly on the relationships and actions between characters as opposed to their surroundings. So, you won’t find a lot of overly descriptive passages that don’t also contain at least a moderate amount of action and/or dialogue as well. Almost all of the descriptions of characters and their environment are actually woven into the story. So, you’ll get a flavor for what the characters are like, what they look like, and the environment they’re in while you proceed through the story. The author calls this a “space opera”, which I have personally never heard of before reading this, but it actually is fitting.
Unlike a soap opera, which has characters that are usually developed in extravagant ways that are rarely very believable, this book develops characters in less extravagant, decidedly more relatable ways. The author does go into characters’ histories and, despite the exotic backdrop, the histories actually do make sense. The other big story I thought of when starting this book was Firefly and it much less of a Space-Western than Firefly, but has a lot of the same level of focus on character development.
Because the main character is female and the author is male, I kept a very keen eye on anything she did or said that might be strange. Many male authors have trouble when writing female characters and have a weird focus on their boobs as though any female pays any attention to what the semi-jiggly masses of glands on her chest do. I was glad to see Zyra acting like a normal human being and not some sub-species of men.
The writing is very descriptive with adverbs and adjectives used generously, though that isn’t necessarily a criticism. I didn’t always like how some descriptive words were used, but I don’t necessarily think it was always a bad thing. Some readers will enjoy this since the use of descriptive words means that they don’t have to sit through paragraphs-long descriptions of each thing that comes into the scene (think: Charles Dickens). I also do like how the characters appear to be people first and, though distinct from one another, tend to have goals and ideas that can be translated, i.e. there aren’t major disconnects between characters and when they interact, they act in ways that make sense.
The main criticism I have is with Jack’s dialogue. He is supposed to be Southern, but I didn’t really like the way he talks. He is written to basically have a lot of history that is actually pretty interesting, but the colloquialisms are not very believable and don’t usually line up with what his character is supposed to be. The truncated words and sentence fragments would portray a man of very few words who is probably less intelligent than a doctor (which is what the character is). Jack talks quite a bit and is supposed to be caring (though grudgingly so, it seems), held to a firm set of principles, and highly intelligent. I would have enjoyed the story more if his dialogue was written the same as all of the other characters as opposed to reaching for a Mark Twain feel which isn’t needed to make the character likable.
Overall though, this story is quite good and readers will find a lot to like.