by Loribelle Hunt, futuristic (2010)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.25, ISBN 978-1-59578-712-5
Loribelle Hunt returns to the planet Delroi in Claiming Earth, where another couple bites the dust in the name of the mate-mate-mate thing.
According to the official synopsis, Janice Hawkins, an undercover assassin, is determined to have one last glory before she retires to a more serene life. It's personal, of course - show me an action heroine who doesn't have personal reasons to carry out acts that may leave her hands bloody. In Janice's case, she will strike back at the Earth-based telepath organization called most imaginatively the Tel Group. She will stop them from abusing minors and turning them into emo adults like her, and she will also find evidence that they killed her parents. Falkor Trace wants Janice bad, and because he knows that romance heroines can't be trusted to handle even washing machines on their own, he follows her to Earth.
What I get here instead is a story that cannot stand alone. It looks like I've missed out the previous book in the author's Delroi Connection series, and while it's in my digital TBR pile and I could take a look at it, I should point out nonetheless that this story starts off with characters with pre-established relationships making vague references to events in their past. I have a hard time piecing together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle where this story is concerned.
Claiming Earth doesn't even feel like a complete story. From the synopsis, I'd expect an action-heavy story, but I get instead a talk-heavy story with the characters talking about things that I am not familiar with. When things do happen late in the story, the scenes whiz by in an accelerated pace, so much so that if I happen to sneeze, I'd have missed the whole thing. There is no hot sex scene to compensate - the love scene is another blink-and-I'd-miss-it affair.
Claiming Earth is like an intermission between books rather than a story in its own right. The author spends too long building up the story by having the characters dwell on each other's navel, and when she finally introduces some action, it's over before I know what has hit me. Maybe this novella would be better if it had been longer, who knows, but as it is, it has me scratching my head with bewilderment. Whatever this story is supposed to be, it definitely cannot stand alone.
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