by Catherine Spangler, futuristic (2000)
LoveSpell, $5.50, ISBN 0-505-52424-4

In Catherine Spangler's debut, Shielder, I am struck by how the heroine's IQ seem to go lower and lower in exponential decrement with each turn of the page. Well, the heroine in Shadower, Moriah, starts off a decent, capable heroine but her brain get flushed out of her ears and into the deep space some time after the hero boinks her. Must be something in the air.

Hence, right up to the midway point - or maybe it's a bit before the midway point - Shadower is a decent story. After all the heavy petting and foreplay, the heroine completely loses the plot, and shame on the hero Sabin for encouraging her.

Moriah is a smuggler, supposedly one of the best in town. But when her ship disappears (coo, go figure) and our heroine is stranded, she decides, what the heck, she's smart, she'll gamble, and she'll make pots of money and buy herself a Holiday Inn in this planet of thieves. Okay, she just wants to make lots of money and get the hell out of there. But she ends up causing a brawl instead, and our hero Sabin (last seen as the obligatory and humor-free best buddy in Shielder) has to rescue her.

And no, Sabin still hasn't found his sense of humor.

Moriah decides to stow away on Sabin's ship. Heck, she'll steal the ship! But ah-ah-ah, Sabin ain't that easy, young lady. He is on a mission to save a colony of Shielders from the genocidal activities of their enemies Controller, and Moriah is dragged into the fun.

The story is fun and the sexual tension is red hot. But alas, after the consummation, things get stupid. Funny, I always thought things get stupid until after the consummation. Anyway, Moriah starts her Foolhardy Dummy act, Sabin gets even more sourfaced and puts on his Unreasonable Alpha Mule act, and lots of unnecessary miscommunication and sour-faced pouting ensue.

I have high hopes and anticipation when I first started on Shadower. By the late half I am just turning the pages just to finish this book before Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes on at ten in the evening. It is always a disappointment to read a book that starts out on high tide of things and peters out into a pathetic trickle midway in the story. Hopefully the next book in this series can maintain the momentum throughout - we do need more decent, if not good, futuristic romances to ward off the annoying onslaught of kilted Napoleon-slaying Earls and their impoverished bluestockings.

Rating: 64

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