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.