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Ghost In The Machine (Corwint Central Agent Files Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I realise a space opera isn't complete without a little letching and the occasional coming together but there is a limit. I'm sure there is a market for this but it would be nice if the blurb made clear what was coming, so curmudgeons like me can pass by.
Life is short so I'm afraid I deleted it before I finished it - a rare thing for me.
I really appreciate that Kilgore was willing to explore the concept of the consequences of actions, including inaction. I would almost call this the theme of the book. Orynn was forced to face this again and again and there were some real tragedies here. They were some of the most realistic element of the book, which is something I think some authors are afraid to allow. I'm glad Kilgore was willing to go there. I also thought it countered all the sappy, happy-happy-joy-joy of the romance.
The crew of the Zera reminded me a lot of the crew of the Firefly. Yes, the book lacked the steampunk element, but the basic way the crew interacted, the young female engineer, their tendency to fight the good fight while functioning outside the proper legal confines all seemed very, very familiar to me. Now, I loved Firefly. I adored the characters and the way they loved to hate one another, how they ragged on each-other constantly and teased each-other good naturedly. All those elements were here to love in this book too.
I was a little disappointed to find the all to frequently used female lead who has extremely strong abilities, but is hampered by her fragile heart. I really hate this trope, hate it. Orynn was forever berating herself or falling apart for using her natural born skills--for being who she is essentially. What's more, she frequently compromised herself in the process, resulting in the classic damsel in emotional distress syndrome. Yep, I hate that too. Don't get me wrong. I didn't dislike Orynn as a character. I just found myself groaning at some of her antics. She could have been a strong female lead. She should have been really. Instead she was a an emotional basket case that made me want to kick her. At 200+ year old she should have figured some of this stuff out already.
I also had a moderate problem with Ethan. I loved him as a character. He was kind, considerate, and willing to examine himself and his own motives. But he was just too human for a mecha (android), both emotionally and physically. I gather he was designed to evolve and was something of an anomaly among mecha, but he really rose above his subroutines on more than one occasion. Then there was the minor detail of sex. I can accept him being anatomically correct. His designer was aiming for realistic human form after all. I can even accept that he was able to activate that organ as any other. I was with the author up to this point. But once we reach his ability to climax, including a deposit (for lack of a less offensive description), I was lost. I couldn't help but wonder what function that option played. It's not like he had any genetic material to pass on for the purpose of procreation. Not to mention what was it made of...hydrolic fluid?
The writing was pretty good, especially in the second half--once the author passed the need to break up each passage to explain every new species, planet, space station, etc. (That really disrupted the flow of the first half of the book). I only have two small criticism. One, the book could do with a little more editing. Two, the POV is all over the place. Luckily, the cast is pretty small so when you head-hop you can't go too far. But the reader does leap from person to person a lot, often in a short space of time and with no warning.
Despite my complaints, I enjoyed the book and would be more than willing to continue the series. I look forward to seeing how the other characters evolve, especially Merek. He was my favourite. I recommend the book more for romance fans than sci-fi fans though.
This is primarily a romance, and it's a very well written one at that so I would highly recommend it to fans of the romantic genre, even if they wouldn't normally read something that could be considered sci-fi, as it's very accessible, with the focus on the characters rather than anything technical. Kilgore's world building is excellent and her characters believable and likeable. I enjoyed their interactions throughout. I would have liked for the android character to have some limitations, but to me he came across as a typical human male. He is programmed to evolve which was cool, but there was still one physical thing he was able to do that I didn't totally understand when it happened.
Overall this is a well-built world containing an interesting romance and a cast of very likeable characters. Highly recommended to fans of romance!
Still it is nice to know that Vesperians can (and routinely do) cover over their juvenile love mistakes by erasing everyone's memory of them. Also good to know that most of the problems of the known universe are down to the post-trauma separating one of our main heroes from his bother at a pre-sentient age,.
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