Sensation
by Thea Devine, historical (2004)
Brava, $14.00, ISBN 0-7582-0403-5


Sensation is closely related to Thea Devine's previous book Satisfaction. Maybe that is the problem I have with this book because I don't remember much about Satisfaction other than it is like a watered-down replica of the author's previous books, only with more gibberish stream-of-consciousness ohmigod's. So, when I read Sensation, I'm not reading as much as I am scratching my head because I have no idea what is going on here. Ms Devine's writing is always on the opaque stream-of-consciousness type but here she makes no freaking sense at all. Of course, that could be due to the fact that I don't remember much about the previous book.

The romance in Sensation is actually minor compared to the mystery subplot going on here. I wonder if Ms Devine is trying to create an actual series here because the focus in this book is more on the mystery rather than a romance and I think there are enough lack of closure by the end of this book to allow Ms Devine to create another book with the continuing storyarc. But the hero in this book and the hero of the previous book are brothers with no clear sequel-friendly relatives in sight so I don't know what is going on here.

Kyger Galliard loves his brother Lujan's wife Jancie. Lujan and Jancie of course were the couple in Satisfaction. So poor Kyger drowns his sorrow by drinking and sleeping around and generally behaving like a sad mule. However, there may be a consolation prize waiting for him when Angilee Rosalyn, an American, shows up. Actually, she charges straight into a brothel hoping to lose her maidenhead because she believes that this will automatically stop her upcoming arranged marriage to some disgusting old coot. She heads straight for Kyger who for some reason requires plenty of persuasion to actually do the deed with her. Naturally, Kyger can't get her out of his mind.

But the mystery subplot that dominates this story is one concerning the murder of Tony Veneble, a radical politician widely tipped to be the next Prime Minister until he meets his untimely end. Kyger is investigating the case, if only to find secrets that will discredit the dead man so that his many supporters will quiet down and be good old docile and oppressed people all over again. This leads to some clues related to the number seven. Or something. The problem is, Ms Devine has completely lost all control of her writing and nearly everything about this story is opaque fragmented thought trains of the various characters. The fragmented sentences all run over each other, each one apparently unrelated to the other, and the only thing I learn from sitting through this excruciating book is that Ms Devine apparently hates finishing a sentence. Oh, and that Angilee is such a stupid twit even for a typical Thea Devine heroine.

The characters spend a lot of time apart and when they are together, they are having joyless sex. Therefore, there is not much romance and the external subplot is pure gibberish. Reading this book is like watching a TV in a bizarre world where it's all static apart from the unpredictable occasional moments when explicit pornographic scenes flash on the screen as if they are infrequent transmission from a distant planet.

The identity of this villain gets many of this author's fans fuming because it totally destroys Satisfaction. However, I don't particularly care about Satisfaction so I'm not too worked up over this aspect of the story. Then again, like everything else about this story, the identity of the villain makes no sense.

Thea Devine has completely lost the plot and, judging from Sensation, her ability to tell a story straight-up without making me feel as if I'm trying to solve trigonometry problems under a state of complete intoxication. No, really, if you compare this book to the author's much earlier books, you will see a big difference in the writing. The author doesn't go overboard in a bizarre manner with the fragmented sentences and the heroine going hysterical over every single thing in the story until her recent few books for Brava. I don't know what is going on here, but I actually like Thea Devine so I hope she quickly returns to earth in next book instead of floating even farther out to some distant reaches of the galaxy.

Rating: 12


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