Second Star (Star Svensdotter, #1) [ePub]

by Dana Stabenow

I gave this book a shot on the word of an Alaskan friend who's a fan of Stabenow's work - though I think she likes the mysteries, not this stuff.Maybe those are better.I certainly hope so, because this book just wavers back and forth between 'mediocre' and 'terrible', and even for a first novel it strikes me as weak.

The one strength of the novel - despite Stabenow's introduction explaining that she was worried most about getting it wrong - is actually the scientific research that went into it; even when I couldn't follow it all, and even though it was often dished out in infodumps, it was clear that she'd put a lot of time and energy into getting the tech right, or at least logical.It is also abundantly clear that she didn't want to leave much of that out of the reader's sight - hence the infodumps.

This book's primary writing flaw is one of 'too much of a good thing': in this case, straightforwardness.Too many infodumps on tech or people; characters who are similarly straightforward and uncomplicated, as nuanced as cardboard cutouts.Stabenow makes an effort to have a diverse cast, which is nice, but it goes little further than food/accent/looks.There is little sense of 'culture' to this book except for Star's - which is, of course, the secular Alaskan Libertarian-ness with which she (and at a guess, Stabenow) was raised.

Then there's the 'romance'.Honestly, this is also a problem with Star's character - in that the 'romance' arc undercuts her characterization at critical points.For someone brusque, professional, in control and strict, she never chastises her love interest (who is also her employee) for his forward behavior when they've only known each other for days.He brazenly flirts with her and touches her, and she barely even responds, let alone point out how unprofessional his behavior is.Whether it's welcome is one thing - Star's character as it's established doesn't seem to be one that would permit this guy's behavior, and yet she does.In fact, she tolerates his repeated violations of her rules and orders, and even praises him for some of them.His behavior, to her, is above reproach.To me, as a reader, it was completely out of line.He picked her up and shook her when she criticized him for making a rash decision.What the fuck?

(view spoiler)

09.09.2010

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