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Darkover: First Contact
Marion Zimmer Bradley
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Paula Coots
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Jerome K. Jerome
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Beyond Duty - James Buchanan That is possibly the shortest, vaguest and lamest blurb ever. On top of that the dude on the cover would not survive 5 minutes into this story. No way would either of the main characters be caught dead with an Elvis pompadour like that. This is what happens when a publisher decides to re-release a story without giving the author any notice.

This book used to be bundled with Jason Edding’s ‘Dark Robe Edges: Dark Robe Society 2′ in The Edge of Desperation, [b:Dark Space|16174363|Dark Space|Lisa Henry||22023544] or other SciFi-light.

Adal and Hirah are soldiers through and through. This is the story of how they meet, how they meet again and how they end up devoted to each other, while things get blown up all around and political intrigue rears its ugly head. While the worldbuilding is depicted in detail in all its damp and soggy glory, the men are a bit more sparsely drawn. This fits the story well at the beginning but leaves a bit to be desired by the end. Their romance isn’t very romantic at all, really. They are men of action, not words. The sex is rough, they don’t cuddle, they don’t have heart to hearts. Nobody uses the L word. And, sweet relief, not a single tear is shed in this book, despite several life-or-death situations. These guys would shudder at the thought of any potential crying. This may not satisfy the average reader’s need for romance, but, personally, I loved that. Alad, in particular, is a great character with a wonderful pragmatic attitude. There were enough twists and turns in the story to keep me turning the pages with interest.

The only thing is, this book is awfully short for a Science Fiction book with this level of worldbuilding. There is a reason most regular SciFi books are at least 3 times the length of this one. This is like Peter Jackson hiring the full cast of The Hobbit, taking them all to New Zealand, build all the sets, get all the costumes and make up done and then only film the trailer. Ok, so it’s a bit more extensive than a trailer and the story is satisfying, but still…. There is this whole world, and all these cool secondary characters, and there must be MOAR!

The writing is a little clunky at times. There is a lot of use of first names and not enough substitution of the names by pronouns in many scenes, leading to a lot of ‘Hirah said… Alad thought… Hirah grabbed Alad’s arm to drag Alad away from Hirah’s kit…’ etc. There are a few glaring typos (tongue’s for tongues, birth for berth) and one or two temporal glitches, that the editor really should have caught. But it isn’t bad enough to start The Bad Editing Rant right now.

So I still haven’t found the perfect SciFi Romance, but this one was really pretty good.