by Susan Grant, fantasy (2007)
HQN, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-373-77192-9
My Favorite Earthling follows Your Planet Or Mine? and I really do suggest that you read that book first before you tackle this one. Many of the otherworldly concepts in this book may not make much sense even with the backstory present in this book if you haven't read the previous book. Also, the plot in this story is carried forward from the loose ends in the previous book.
To be honest, I'm disappointed by how similar Ms Grant's series for HQN is to her Star trilogy for Dorchester - both deal with the "the aliens are coming!" theme and how humans end up finding love with these aliens and hence a war worthy of a Star Wars-type trilogy is avoided. After the author's 2176 series, this series for HQN feels like a step backward for her. Certainly, I can't help feeling that Ms Grant is just retreading familiar ground here. My Favorite Earthling nearly has me reversing my opinion of this series but things become less interesting once the story leaves Earth.
In this book, the aliens are still threatening to come and start a sequel to Independence Day on everyone on Earth. Jared Jasper, the brother to the heroine in the previous book, wants only to live a quiet life. However, when he fools around with a spacecraft that first showed up in the previous book, he ends up making contact with the Goddess/Queen Keira of Sakka. He only sees a manga queen with a hot body and does what he believes to be some harmless trash-talking, calling himself the Prince of Earth and how he will kick the behinds of any aliens who dare to invade Earth. The people of Sakka is looking for a way to ally with Earth to ward off another alien threat so the next thing both Jared and Keira know, they are being shoved into a marriage. Every leader in Earth is more than happy to pretend that Jared is the boss of everyone as long as this means that the aliens won't come and zap everyone into photons, so poor Jared finds himself thrust into the limelight and into this unwanted marriage.
My Favorite Earthling has a very nice balance of humor and more sober moments. Ms Grant manages to poke some light fun at the more zany aspects of the story without turning the story into outright farce. Jared is also a fun character with his easy-going ways and his almost too-perfect adaptation to the situations he finds himself in. Sometimes he comes off like a Ash Williams type of character who acts as the reader's placeholder when it comes to pointing out the more zany aspects of the story he finds himself in. As a result, this is a very readable story with an entertaining hero and a plot that seems to be building up towards something good.
Unfortunately, once the story moves to Keira's planet, things become less interesting as the plot ends up being focused too much on the main characters' reproductive abilities. I'm looking forward to intergalactic space battles, lightsaber duels, or something - anything but this "Are we having a baby yet? No? Someone is clearly tampering with things!" drama. Keira starts out a rather one-dimensional petulant spoiled creature (it does seem like she is hogging all the exclamation marks in this story to herself) but Ms Grant is aware of this and it's all part of her master plan to give Keira some character growth. However, I find that Keira is still rather one-dimensional at the end of the day since when it's her chance to shine as a character when the story moves to her place, the story becomes more preoccupied with what is going on in her uterus than in her head.
I find My Favorite Earthling a pretty amusing story and the characters are pretty likable on the whole (although Keira really could use a little more depth to her character). I just wish it hasn't turn into some 1960s-style cornball science-fiction tale obsessed with the heroine getting knocked up by the second half of the story. It's just my bias showing, of course, but I really feel that it is a waste for the author to set up her story only to then set it pointing straight towards the heroine's private parts. Surely this story could have been something more than that?
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