Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quantum Rose; C. Asaro

I really enjoy Ms. Asaro's writing- a unique combination of hard science fiction & romance. Ms. Asaro has multiple degrees in various types of brain straining sciences & her knowlege is put to use in her writing. She does not write with the usual constraints typical romance genre novels have & as such the reader ought to be aware that there are elements romance readers aren't used to. Unlike Mercedes Lackey's fantasy romances, though, Ms. Asaro's books have strong relationships which are the primary focus. No disrespect to Ms. Lackey, I've read the two 500 Kingdoms romances & my comments are here.

Kamoj Argali is the eighteen year old governor of Argali province on a small agricultural outpost world. Due to the extreme weather & unusual planetary rotation Kamoj must make a political marriage to ensure her people's survival. Betrothed to Jax______ (sorry I don't remember his surname) since her childhood, Kamoj is ready to sacrifice herself (literally) for the survival of her province.

That is until Havyrl Torcelli, known on Kamoj's world as Vryl (pronounced Va-rye, according to the short story in Irresistable Forces) Lionstar arrives & rides amok around Kamoj's province. Basically, due to cultural differences, Vyrl buys Kamoj. He thinks he's offered her dowry, but alas, that's not so. Culturally Kamoj's world has concepts similar to the Asian face. Kamoj realizes almost immediately that while this relationship may be beneficial for her, there are sure to be negative political consequences for her province.

Vyrl is a political pawn in a huge intergalactic game similar to the Cold War, one consequence of which is that he was moved to this planet. Vyrl is also an alcoholic, resulting from an horrific incident in his recent past. He is not, however, a tortured hero. Kamoj helps him get on (& stay on) the wagon. Like Kamoj, Vyrl has obligations to his homeworld & to his family that he cannot set aside, no matter the price he must pay.

How Kamoj & Vyrl overcome their cultural differences & the political problems weave an interesting story. There are several scenes (all involving Jax) that are likely to set your teeth on edge. Since this is my first book by Asaro I wasn't quite sure of what I was in for when reading this & I was unprepared for some of what happens.
There is the expected HEA, though. Never fear.

Different, exciting, set your teeth on edge romantic adventure. Might help to be familiar with Asaro's world, but I read it without prior knowlege & had no problems.

Edited: I misspelled Vyrl's name in the original post, which I have now corrected.

1 comment:

Bev (BB) said...

I read this one several years ago and really enjoyed it. Well, except for a couple of scenes. I thought she did a pretty good job of balancing the romance with the sci-fi even if that wasn't strictly her intent.

I haven't been able to get into anything else by Asaro until the recent Luna group, though.