Gail Koger, $0.99
Sci-fi Romance, 2018 (Reissue)
Gail Koger’s Reality Bites was previously published by Loose Id, but then the publisher went under and the author eventually self published the story. I’m not sure what has been changed in this edition, because I actually received the Loose Id edition, believe it or not, despite having purchased the supposedly self-published version from Smashwords. Maybe the author did an oopsie back then – hopefully she has since uploaded the correct edition.
This one is also part of a series called Coletti Warlords, the fourth entry apparently, which probably explains why from page one onwards, I feel like I’d been dropped unceremoniously into a party in which everyone is laughing hysterically and I have no idea what I am supposed to find so hilarious.
Basically, this is the story of… Brunhilda Oden, who is part of a resistance against the Coletti warlords in some corner of the universe. Really, I have never read any of the previous stories in this series, so I’m pretty sure I would have muddled up some details about the setting in this review. Anyway, when the story opens, Bree is confronted by our hero Jaylan, who is a bounty hunter from the Coretti side. He wants to apprehend her, so she flicks chewing gum at him, misses, and generally sasses him up because she is one of those heroines. You know, the perpetually sarcastic heroine who seems incapable of experiencing believable emotions – she has a one-liner for every situation, she mocks danger without second thought, and more all the while behaving all smug and all-knowing. In other words, she is a character created by an author who is so certain that this is the kind of “strong and empowered women” that the modern generation is craving for. Fortunately, Jaylan recognizes that Bree is his destined penis-sheath, so it is through the grace of man that this idiotic, reckless heroine weren’t put down with extreme prejudice. What a strong, independent woman – she only continues to live because her vagina makes a man hot!
These two gambol around doing things and picking up an assortment of insufferable secondary characters, all the time with Bree generally acting like a one-note caricature of a Joss Whedon heroine. The entire story comes off like a sorry excuse for the author to practice her one-liners – which wouldn’t have been so bad if things actually worked. Here, though, the whole thing feels like it had been written by some precocious teenage girl whose entire life experience is cribbed from CW shows. Plot, story, depths? Who cares? The heroine kicks ass and is celebrated for victories she doesn’t really earn, and she can’t stop shooting off sarcastic lines – that’s all that counts! Right?
Well, not for me. This one can bite me.