Finished THE RADIANT SEAS by Catherine Asaro. I would have posted this yesterday, when I finished, but someone decided my blog was "spam" and locked me out until it could be "reviewed." Nice. Since I'm writing this, I guess I'm allowed back in. Honestly, I think I'm one of the least spammy blogs out there. But, whatever. On with the review.
I met Catherine Asaro at the Romantic Times convention a few months back. She is a character all in herself. Well-spoken, quirky, attractive, she has loads of personality, and I liked her immediately. Loved her clothes, too. I'm not one to notice outfits, but she had on this great black off the shoulder top that managed to be tough, yet feminine at the same time. I need one of those. She was on a panel with my friends Linnea Sinclair, Stacey Klemstein, and C.L. Wilson, discussing science fiction and fantasy romance novels. At the end, she offered to give away her display copies, so I asked for THE RADIANT SEAS and she autographed it for me.
Now, I've never read her before. Therefore, I suspect I was at a great disadvantage. THE RADIANT SEAS is the fourth and last book in one of her series. She said it would stand alone, and I suppose it does. But I definitely felt behind the learning curve. Books that have character glossaries and genealogy trees mapped out in them tend to intimidate me. This one had both. I tried to ignore all that and simply enjoy the story.
For the most part, I succeeded. It's a fast-paced action novel. I wouldn't really label it sci-fi-romance, though. Maybe her other books are more in that vein. There was a tremendous amount of theoretical science involved, more than I could really wrap my brain around, including diagrams to explain the method of space travel used. Clearly, Ms. Asaro is an exceedingly intelligent person. I believe she has a physics degree, though I'm not certain I'm remembering her introductions correctly. I learned a lot, glossed over a lot, and went for the character driven scenes, which I enjoyed immensely.
The main characters of Soz and Jaibriol were both intriguing and entertaining. Their scenes were my favorites. Soz is a strong female, yet manages to find it within herself to be motherly. Jaibriol has a dark past he must overcome to let himself be loved. There are some great supporting characters as well, like Althor and Cirrus. However, I would strongly suggest that fans of fast-paced sci-fi with a lot of hard science read these books in order. You'll love them, if THE RADIANT SEAS is a good example for the rest of the series, but without the first three books, you may find yourself lost in the "sea" of characters which I didn't really sort out until the very exciting climactic ending.