Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Star King by Susan Grant

Careening out of control in her fighter jet was only the start of the wildest ride of Jasmine’s life; spinning wildly in an airplane was nothing like the loss of equilibrium she felt when she landed. There, in a half-dream, Jas saw him, a man more powerfully compelling than any she’d ever encountered. Though his words were foreign, his touch was familiar, baffling her mind even as he touched her soul. But who was he? Was he, too, a downed pilot? Was that why he lay in the desert sand beneath a starry Arabian sky? The answers burned in his mysterious golden eyes, in his thoughts that became hers as he held out his hand and requested her aid. This man had crossed many miles to find her, to offer her a heaven that she might otherwise never have known, and love was only one of the many gifts of The Star King.


An overview…

Jace: Let me start by saying that I haven't read much Sci-fi Romance. The first SFR author whom I read was Linnea Sinclair, so it's understandable, I think, that I'm totally conditioned to her writing-style. While Susan Grant's writing-style is engaging, it's less evocative and stirring. This story wasn’t what I expected.

Mel: Like you, Linnea was my introduction to Sci-fi and her books are so good, it’s not fair to compare. Grant's writing style was pleasant, but it took me a while to warm up to this story.

Jace: I thought that the focus of this story was on relationship than space action-adventure. I'd have liked more space action with starfighters and battle cruisers blasting one another to oblivion. LOL The world-building was great though. I totally bought the different environment of the various planets.

Mel: Yes, the story was much more relationship based than action based. I did like the idea of first contact and the aliens wanting to trade with Earth. However, the Star Trek fan in me cringed at these advanced aliens making contact with a planet that didn't have warp capabilities! LOL That was always a requisite on Star Trek and it just seemed, I don't know, wrong somehow.

Kat: At first, I felt the same as both of you. The book wasn't at all what I expected. Like you, I expected some adventures, a fast-paced romp all through the universe and back. Then I read further…

The plot and characters…

Jace: I found the 1st chapter confusing. Up till now, I still can't decide whether Jas and Rom had actually met in Balkanor during that one crucial moment when both were critically injured, and if they did – how? Or was that a dream?

Mel: The first chapter was utterly confusing and I still don't understand just what had happened between them. That could have really used some explaining.

Kat: I think the first chapter took place in the realm between life and death, where a physical body wasn’t needed, so they could experience the same thing on different planets. Rom and Jas were both near death and their souls reached out to each other to make their love possible later on.

After reading the first chapter I thought wow … now they know there is someone out there for them, they will go searching for each other, unite, go through a dangerous plot, and finally do their happy dance. No, not at all. When I read that the story happens 19 YEARS LATER, my first reaction was … OMG, they have to be ANCIENT!!! When I discovered that Jas had married and had kids, and Rom had become quite bitter and tortured, my thoughts weren’t very nice and I ranted a bit. How could Susan Grant do that to Rom and Jas! What happened to ONE true love and HEA?

I went to her website and looked up some info about the book. I discovered that Jas was only 43 years old, 19 years later … and then I read Grant's comments about living to write a scene, where Rom adored Jas's stretch marks. Now, that kept me reading and I came to love the book. It was so good! I loved the character development, I loved the world-building and I loved what happened in the end too.

Jace: As lead characters, Jas and Rom were pleasant and likeable, and they matched up very well. I thought their love story was a natural progression and very sweet.

Mel: Yes, they made a very nice couple. I also thought it was nice that they were a bit older than the standard romance couple.

Jace: Jas was an ordinary, everyday woman but I felt that her character was a little bland. Yes, she was kind, nice, loyal and all that … just wasn't very vivid. Rom was such a nice guy, wasn't he? I thought his character was well-developed and I felt quite bad for the poor guy – from his sterility to his banishment from his home and his heritage.

Mel: I preferred Rom over Jas for the reasons you mentioned. He was a more vivid character than her, and I felt more for him.

Kat: Jas was a grown woman. She wasn’t what I expected as I'm so used to insecure heroines in their late-twenties or early-thirties. I really enjoyed reading about an older heroine.

Rom was a fabulous hero. He was a sweet, caring and very sincere guy. Imagine a world where men are schooled to give their spouses pleasure and happiness! What a nice thought and what a fabulous world that would be. I loved that scene involving her stretch marks. Rom treasured her as she deserved it.

She and Rom were perfect for each other. There was so much tenderness and love between them, that I could feel their relationship growing from page to page. It was so nice, watching these two truly falling in love and not just chasing after their dreams from long ago.

Jace: The last part of Chapter 19 was very emotional. It broke my heart and I shed a bit of tears.

Mel: That got to me too.

The secondary characters…

Jace: I thought that Rom's crew - particularly Gann, Muffin, Zarra - were too ordinary and nice. In fact, I thought all the aliens, including the baddies, to be too common and human-like. I don't know – I expected aliens to be unusual and at the very least, regard earth-dwellers with a healthy dose of scepticism? These are just my own expectation and perception, I know.

Rom's crew did provide some funny moments though. Muffin's name made me smile. Gann was sexy, I thought. I liked his interaction and close bond with Rom.

Mel: I got a kick out of Muffin's name! I also laughed and was grossed out by them piling all that salt on their food ... ewww. I kept picturing how awful that would taste. I guess for them though, it was wonderful.

Kat: The secondary characters were very interesting and nicely developed. Whew, Gann was hot as hell and I'd like to read a story about him too. Muffin was just outright sweet. Grant really made me laugh about his name.

The ending and rating…

Jace: The last chapter was a little rushed, with the resolution quickly done. My rating is 4/Warm.

Mel: I thought the ending was sweet even if it was a little rushed. I'm definitely interested in reading more of her books. My rating 4/Warm.

Kat: You're both right - the end was quite short, but that was okay with me. I liked it that Grant showed us Rom making the effort to get to know Ian (he's the Hero of the next book in the trilogy).

Bottom line – Susan Grant made me her fan with this book. I liked her writing-style and she had done a fabulous job with the character development and world-building. I'd rate the book 4.5/Warm.

My rating4
Sensuality ratingWarm


Brie said...

Nice review, Ladies. I have a couple of books in Susan Grant 2176series. Her writing is good, but it has been hard for me to get into her characters.

Kristie (J) said...

I've been a fan of Susan Grant for years and you did a good job with this review. I wasn't quite as keen on the second book of this series, but the third one was my favourite of all three. I'm reading her latest right now and really loving it!

Jace said...

Brie, I like her writing too. I just read Grant's Contact with Kat and Mel and my only complaint so far is the lack of space action-adventure. Also, her heroes tend to be betas? ;)

Kristie, I was in two minds about reading the sequels. Thanks for the heads-up. :)

BMW said...

I am a big susan grant fan. I got to meet her and have several of her books autographed. Check out my blog for some Susan Grant reviews for my favs at www.skywoman.blogspot.com and leave a comment

BMW said...

hi Jace:

You read alot more than I do. Notice you are from Malaysia. My ex fiancee was from the province of Selangor. He was portuguese, javanese and mongolian. We met in college he was on a scholarship from Petronas. Broke my heart as he was muslim and parents arranged a marriage.

My fav Susan Grant books are star princess , how to lose an ET in 10 days, Monnstruck and I also like the scarlet empress as I love Asian heroes

Jace said...

BMW, I'm sorry about your ex-fiance. Sometimes, the culture and religion barriers are insurmountable.

I live in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, and Selangor is nearby :-)