The third book in the 'Alien' Kitty Katy series by Gini Koch, Alien in The Family starts six months after the events in the second book (Caliente Base is now a political refugee annex) and Kitty Katt is still part of Centaurion Division, as head of Airborne, working with the aliens and humans to deal with ongoing threats, whilst having accepted a declaration from Jeff Martini. In human-speak, she's engaged, and happily so. Well, that is apart from planning a wedding to an alien, and all of the cultural implications, whilst dealing with the threats to Earth. But at least she can actually plan a wedding, now that she's actively changed the ban on AC - human weddings. She's also started working closely with best friend Chuckie, who is leader of the CIA ET Division, which came as a surprise to Kitty, and a pain to Martini, who is incredibly jealous of his relationship with his fiancé. At present the team is stuck in the desert watching strange lights in the sky that are somehow familiar, and appear to be linked directly to Kitty. In fact, the lights in the sky seem to be a message, resembling Kitty's unity necklace. And it, oh God, appears to be an invite across the solar system to all Martini's relatives - to the wedding reception from hell. Similar to the first two novels in in the series, this one, also, literally doesn't take a breath. There's action, adventure, fighting and fun all the way through, and Kitty is a fun protagonist to ride along with. The banter she shares with everyone is genius and she can kick-ass or snog with the best of 'em. This novel offers lots of scope for more political intrigue and fun. The wedding shenanigans (think humour, soap opera, fights and guns) gives this book the tight focus needed for the threat and also adds sparkle to the mix. From choosing a wedding dress, to relatives who think Kitty is marrying the wrong man, there is mayhem all the way. What I particularly like about these books, is that underneath the veneer of SF action and humour, is a very relevant discourse on diversity and prejudice. Not only is Kitty Jewish, but she is marrying an alien in the first interspecies marriage since the Pontifex changed a ruling. There are also gay couples and lots of inter-racial couples in here and each character is judged on their merits not their race. Koch, through Kitty, makes it very clear what her views are, which are indicative of the tension within the SF community itself. The book is brimming with diversity. And the ending is a real treat, leaving the reader wondering just exactly how Kitty will deal with what happens next, in her own inimitable way.
This is the third in a series of humorous romantic science fiction novels which parody everything going, particularly the "Men in Black" films and Heinlein's classic 1950's alien invasion novel, "The Puppet Masters" and in this case also "The Princess Bride" and "Meet the parents."
The story is told in the first person by Katherine Katt (known as "Kitty" to her family and close friends), who is self-confident, witty, and obviously attractive (she isn't quite big-headed or crass enough to write something like "I'm sexy, stacked, and brilliant" but every unattached and straight male in the first three books proposes to her.)
This story begins on the start of a mountain where a light display in the sky warns Kitty that she is about to meet the future in-laws from hell ...
To give you some background, at the start of the first book, "Touched by an Alien," Kitty had been living a fairly ordinary and humdrum life as marketing manager. She was not aware of anything particularly unusual about her family or friends, and the only extraordinary power affecting anything in her life is her handbag, which appears, like the TARDIS, to be larger inside than out. She had just left a courthouse where she has been on Jury service.
If you've watched "Killers [DVD]," you will remember that for the first part of the film Katherine Heigl's character is under the impression that her husband, her parents, and most of the people she knows are harmless innocents, but in fact almost everyone she knows is a current or former CIA or freelance assassin.
Similarly at the start of this series, as she left the courthouse, Kitty had been under the impression that her mother is some kind of consultant, her father is a professor of history at A.S.U, and her best male friend "merely" a brilliant globetrotting millionaire who made his money from convenience stores. In fact they are a former MOSSAD agent who is now head of a special antiterrorism force, a member of a secret branch of NASA specialising in extra-terrestials, and a senior official in the CIA doing the same.
And over the first two books, Kitty has become a commander in a special agency staffed mostly by aliens from Alpha Centauri whose job is protecting earth from "Puppet Master" style aliens who turn any human (or Alpha Centauri person) they can bring under their control into a rampaging and destructive "Superbeing." This organisation, known as the Centaurion division, could almost have been a parody of the "Men in Black" - and anyone first learning of their existence usually reacts by making a "Men in Black" joke, which bores the members of the division to tears as they've heard them all before. Members of the Centaurian division of from Alpha Centauri ancestry, (generally known as ACs) look like exceptionally handsome or beautiful earth-humans, and Kitty is engaged to be married to a particularly sexy AC male called Jeff Martini.
Jeff is one of a group of people from Alpha Centauri who emigrated to Earth a generation ago, partly because they volunteered to protect earth from the "Puppet master" aliens, partly because both they and the society they left were glad to see the back of each other as a result of religious differences. Kitty is well aware of most of this.
What Kitty hadn't been told is that her fiance was a junior member of the Royal Family of Alpha Centauri: and what neither she nor Jeff knew at the start of this book is that over the past couple of decades he has become closer to the line of succession. Suddenly a group of visitors from Alpha Centauri are coming to earth to check over her suitability to marry into their Royal Family, making the future in-laws problems of the characters in "Meet The Parents [DVD] " look trivial.
The scene on the cover of this book, showing Kitty in a white dress and holding a Glock handgun while surrounded by guards from several different species, from human or human seeming ones clad in black Armani to cat-like and Iguanadon-headed, and a killer tribble, does actually appear in the novel. (There is one slight bit of artistic licence in the cover illustration, in that it shows Kitty wearing a "Unity necklace" which Jeff had given her when they got engaged, and which she was not wearing during this scene.)
"Killer Tribble" is how Kitty refers to a special type of pet from Alpha Centauri, which is normally a cute and tiny creature small enough to be carried in her handbag, but which expands to human-sized and becomes lethal to any attacker when the AC or human person the creature is attached to is threatened.
It is, of course, beyond ludicrous that beings who evolved on separate planets should not merely be similar in appearance, but genetically similar enough to be able to marry and interbreed. However, Gini Koch is hardly the first science-fiction author to blithely ignore the immense improbability of this, and this series does not pretend to be anything other than light entertainment - as which it is pretty successful.
The Sci-Fi genre is usually associated with male readers but this series appears to be sci-fi romantic comedy which is rather more woman-friendly, particularly for female fans of rock bands such as Aerosmith. But men can enjoy it too, especially those with the right kind of silly sense of humour!
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Alien in the Family continues the story six months on from the ending of Alien Tango, Kitty and Martini's relationship is stronger than ever and they are in the middle of planning their wedding. Their only worry should be how to keep the fact that Martini's family are all aliens a secret from Kitty's family but their lives are never that simple. It turns out that Martini is in fact a member of the Alpha Centaurion Royal Family and they're about to have visitors who want to make sure Kitty is a suitable wife for him. They aren't the only new additions to the guest list though, members of the Planetary Council are also on their way and things are about to get complicated!
If you've read any of my previous reviews for this series you'll already know that I've become a massive fan of Gini Koch - it's been a while since a new series hooked me in quite so quickly. I'm not sure how Gini does it but the series just keeps on getting better and better with each new installment. To say Alien in the Family is action packed is an understatement, the surprises just keep coming and it makes for an addictive read. When I pick up one of these books I have to know I've got plenty of time to read - I can easily devour each book in one sitting and find them nearly impossible to put down once I get started.
I don't want to give spoilers by telling you any more about the plot so I'm just going to say if you love Kitty, Martini and the gang you're going to love this installment. There are some fantastically sweet moments between Kitty & Martini, I love the friendship between Kitty & Reader and Kitty gets some fab new pets (OMG I want a Poof of my own!). Along with the team we know and love we are also introduced to some great new characters, Kitty gets to meet her alien soul sister and she also adds some new members to the airborn crew.
This story made me laugh and cry, it was an emotional roller coaster and I loved every minute of it. It's going to be a long wait until Alien Proliferation comes out in December and I know it will be a book I devour as soon as I can get my hands on a copy. Kitty and Martini remain one of my favourite fictional couples and I'm already looking forward to their next adventure. In the meantime I feel a re-read coming on! If you're yet to discover this series don't let the science fiction label put you off, if you're an urban fantasy fan who enjoys a fast paced story line with sexy characters and non-stop action then you'll adore these books!
This is the third in 'Kitty' Katt's series of adventures with her alien paramour Jeff Martini. If you haven't read #1 in the series, start reading these in order! The debut novel lives up to it's 'The Princess Bride' meets 'Men in Black' cover promise: a little bit funny, a little bit stupid, and a little bit romantic with action/adventures that require suspension of disbelief. Highly entertaining and easy to read. Unfortunately #2 was less successful, but tolerable. As of this #3 book, I am giving up on the series. As Kitty & Martini's wedding approaches the interstellar difficulties lead to a plot that is too violent, the screaming multiple orgasms are now trite, and Kitty's relationship with her fiance is too infantile. Again, if you haven't read Gini Koch's Alien Novels, the first one is well worth a light read. Save your money and skip the rest.