Friday, June 3, 2011

Blue Galaxy by Diane Dooley

TITLE: Blue Galaxy
AUTHOR: Diane Dooley
PUBLISHER: Carina Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 22k)
GENRE: Sci-fi futuristic romance
COST: $2.69

It’s a job that will guarantee Javan Rhodes economic freedom. All he has to do is transport someone without asking any questions. When that someone turns out to be a beautiful aristocrat off to make a marriage alliance, however, his resolve to get the pay-off begins to waver…

This one’s my own fault. I need to pay better attention to red flags when they show up instead of giving the author the benefit of the doubt.

Captain Javan Rhodes is a cargo ship owner/pilot/businessman, who agrees to take on a special passenger for an exorbitant amount of money if he promises to keep his mouth shut and not ask questions. He has no problems with that until he meets the cargo in question. Her name is Sola, and she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. From the very first look, he fears he’s fallen in love with her. He has to transport her to an as yet unknown destination to satisfy a marriage alliance, but almost as soon as they’re in the air, he’s broken the agreement by pressing for details. She doesn’t give many, but she intrigues him, and when he finally does start discovering things about her, it’s a little too late to do him much good.

Within just the first thousand or so words, I got fed a line that should have made me put the story down. Javan meets Sola, and gazing on what had to be the most exquisite face in the entire universe, felt his heart twist as he fell instantly, irrevocably and most definitely in love. I stopped reading. I thought, “Seriously? Insta-love? Why wasn’t that in the blurb?” But then I thought, “He’s a hardcore space captain. He wouldn’t fall instantly in love. He’s too cynical. Maybe this is just indicative of a sense of humor or grandiose statement or something.” So I went on, putting my faith into the author. Big mistake. It might not have quite been instant love, but it came pretty darn close. He acts like an idiot around her from the start, allowing her to manipulate him in such a blatant way, I lost all respect for any sense of intelligence he might have had. It might not have been so bad if I’d had the opportunity to get to know the man and see that he wasn’t actually an idiot prior to her arrival, but I didn’t. I only got to see him after she came onto the scene, and frankly, I wish I hadn’t.

Sola is the worst heroine I’ve read in a very long time. She lies, she manipulates, she uses sex to get him to do what she wants. And when sex fails, she uses violence and death threats. Unrepentingly. I have absolutely no idea why Javan falls for her. He claims she’s funny and smart and curious, but I only saw evidence of the intelligence (and that was later in the story, long after I’d lost any sympathy for her whatsoever). She’s so flat in the first half of the story that I wondered what I was missing. Even if her actions weren’t so appallingly awful, her characterization suffers a lot from the fact that the entire story is told from Javan’s POV. This is done to maintain the suspense of who she is and what she’s doing, but ultimately, it doesn’t work because by the time I did find out, I hated her so much I didn’t care.

The prose doesn’t help it. This is not an erotic romance, but these two spend a surprising amount of time having sex…off-screen. And during that sex, important things happen and get discovered. Things we are told about rather than shown. It weakens an already floundering story, crippling the pace and stifling the suspense. Ultimately, it becomes a pedantic exercise in reading, with the only emotions getting generated those of anger and frustration. I have zero interest in following on in this world, since it’s clear from the very open ending that this isn’t it. And if for some reason it’s not meant to be continued? Then all of those hanging plot lines that were left are just more proof that it just wasn’t a very good story at all.


6/10 – Prose that’s more tell than show, with soft POV sometimes


4/10 – A gullible idiot


1/10 – When she’s not flat and boring, her blatant and unremorseful manipulation of a man who loves her makes her the most unlikeable heroine I’ve read in a very long time

Entertainment value

2/10 – Hating the heroine with all the telling problems made this a complete waste of my time

World building

6/10 – There’s some attempt at doing something interesting but it’s never clearly explained or well delineated



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