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review 2014-06-27 22:11
The Trouble With Heroes by Jo Beverley
The Trouble With Heroes... - Jo Beverley

The Trouble With Heroes feels incomplete. Stepping outside of her customary genre has given Beverley the freedom to experiment more widely with a theme that often appears in her full length works. Unfortunately, she pulls her final punch. Set in one of earth’s future colonies on a host planet that appeared perfect for a utopian existence, humans who have known no other planet maintain a deceptively peaceful life. Early settlers discovered that some were born knowing how to harness the planet’s natural energy, giving them the honored career of a fixer.

 

Fixers spend their lives guarding against an invasion by poorly understood indigenous life forms who attack so rarely they seem almost mythical. The day to day responsibility of a fixer is to lay hands of healing on the population, repairing broken limbs and soothing unrest. Jenny feels the edges of the fixer energy. Dan, her childhood friend, is a fixer. He wants more from her than friendship, something he barely pursues while hinting at an ability to compel her compliance.

 

Early in the novella it was difficult for me to stay interested. An interesting tale of refugees lining the city walls warred with overly cute references to Monty Python films as historical artifacts. The Python bits fit neither the tone of the story nor the logic of the settlement’s timeline. Once past that DNF danger zone, The Trouble With Heroes opened up. Beverley plays with the subject of war, it’s culture and costs. From the streets named for the fallen to the populations discomfort with those who return, The Trouble With Heroes had a strong story to tell. In the end, this novella was too short.

 

The ending of Jenny’s story is neatly wrapped in an unearned bow. The resolution feels more like a prologue than a HFN. Jenny is inconsistent in her actions and desires without clear cause. The indigenous population of the settled planet is left unresolved. What the locusts are, if they will return, if the fixers have committed genocide – all of these points are left to the readers speculation. It isn’t done in a way that feels purposeful. While this is the strongest of the SF/F novellas I’ve read from Beverley, it didn’t really satisfy.

 

Final Assessment: Strong message about the costs of war but ultimately unsatisfying. C+

 

Source: Purchased copy

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review 2014-02-18 01:09
"Fool for Love," by Eloisa James
Fool for Love - Eloisa James

Usually I rather like Eloisa James' novels as well-written fluff, full of witty adulterers and scandalous rakes and delectable descriptions of round gowns, towering Georgian wigs, and malfunctioning 19th-century toilets. 

 

But other times they are simply too silly to entertain: when the ridiculous becomes dull, and when the lack of logic, sense, or any grounding in reality causes the story to continually wriggle out from under my attention span. Such is the case with Fool for Love.

 

The heroine, Henrietta, has been told by a few country doctors that, thanks to a dodgy hip bone, she's incapable of surviving childbirth - a fact which renders her unmarriageable. Still, she becomes besotted with Simon Darby, a lace-wearing rake, but they are separated by the fact that unprotected sex will Kill Her Dead. Rather laughably, given how sexually creative all romance heroes are, they never think of the several oral and butt options, until the heroine gets pregnant anyway and everything turns out fine because of course 19th century doctors are Stupid and who actually wants to waste time Actually Solving a Plot Obstacle when they can simply make it disappear? 

 

Oh, and there's a dippy romance between Henrietta's pregnant BFF and her erstwhile lover who is pretending to be a gardener so he can bone her on the sly.

 

And surprisingly all of this ridiculously overblown angst is dead boring. Fantasy scenarios are all well and good but I can only take so much airy piffle before I get gassy. Ah well. My reading tastes really have changed.

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review 2013-12-26 21:55
ReRead Rollout: "Sing the Four Quarters," by Tanya Huff
Sing the Four Quarters - Tanya Huff
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review 2013-11-02 21:57
"How To Say Goodbye in Robot," by Natalie Standiford
How To Say Goodbye In Robot - Natalie Standiford
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review 2013-10-21 17:07
REVIEW: "Trial By Desire," by Courtney Milan (Harlequin, 2010)
Trial by Desire - Courtney Milan
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