Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spaceport: Incognito by Cat Marsters

TITLE: Spaceport: Incognito
AUTHOR: Cat Marsters
PUBLISHER: Changeling Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 32k)
GENRE: Futuristic sci-fi erotic romance
COST: $4.99

Kali is hiding out as a prostitute on Adana when a bounty hunter spies her and recognizes her as the quarry he’s been looking for. He hires her to spend a few hours with him on his ship, only to kidnap her when they’re done. But Kali has no desire to go back to the fiancĂ© looking for her. After all, she’s pretty sure he wants her dead…

It’s obvious from the very first page that this will be a grittier erotic romance than the norm. The prologue thrusts the reader into Kali’s POV while she’s in the middle of a trick, using uncompromising language and little romanticism. There’s no doubt she does this with little love for the job, though she does use her skills to their utmost.

Then along comes Jal. He’s a bounty hunter, on the prowl for a woman to take the edge off his need, when he spots Kali in the middle of a blowjob. Something about her makes him stop, a sense of familiarity about the prostitute markings tattooing her skin, but he realizes quickly she’s not who he thought she was. However, when he peers closer, he sees that she’s not just posing as a prostitute. She also has distinctive coloring of someone he’s hoping to get a bounty on. So he convinces her to come back to his ship for a longer session, then proceeds to kidnap her once he’s sure who she is.

The story hurtles forward from there, but the pacing is awkward. It takes a full third of the story to get to the point of kidnapping, during which time a lot of sex happens. The sex is hot – actually surprisingly so, considering the coarseness of the beginning – and the potential romance developing interesting enough to keep me going. But then the story lurches sideways to start delving into Kali’s background with tinges of Jal thrown in, and it never really finds a smooth rhythm after that. Action gets aborted for sex, and the back and forth of their banter rarely feels organic to the original romance I thought I was getting. Just when I would get settled into the flow again, something else would jerk me to a halt – a moment of headhopping (of which there are more than a few), an out of nowhere piece of information, another sex scene. It never felt truly cohesive to me, in spite of liking individual scenes.

It’s not a bad read. Far from it. However, the awkward pacing and a world too dense for the explanations offered keep it from being anything more than mediocre.


7/10 – Mild headhopping, and a lot of terminology that took a while to get used to


6/10 – Distant in that alpha way, but with enough of a good side to keep me interested


6/10 – Strong, but ultimately forgettable

Entertainment value

6/10 – The disjoin between the smut and the action plot was never smooth enough for me to get into a reading groove, making this all right to pass the time but nothing I remembered a day later

World building

7/10 – There were some great details but not enough explanations to keep things understandable



No comments: