The Star King
by Susan Grant, fantasy (2000)
LoveSpell (Perfect Heroes), $5.50, ISBN 0-505-52413-9


Allow me the indulgence to rant about how difficult it is to get my hands on this book. The Dorchester distributor in Singapore must be run by orangutans. Finally just when I was about to break down and pay for online shipping charges, this book turns up in the bookstores.

Happy to say, The Star King is fabulous and worth my headache trying to locate this book. It has an air of exuberance that is worthy of any swashbuckling futuristic romances, and it balances the quiet moments well. There are times when The Star King seems uncertain whether it wants to pay tribute to or parodies George Lucas' Star Wars, but all in all, they don't make futuristics this good since Marilyn Campbell and Justin Dare head off for greener pastures.

The story first takes place during the Gulf War when pilot Jasmine Boswell's plane goes down. In a distant galaxy far far away (I know, I know) Prince Romlijhian B'Kah spacecraft is down as well, as somehow these two people connect in some telepathic manner that gives each other the strength to go on. Rom tosses away the religious kook rebels overrunning his planet, and Jasmine survives to live another day.

Cue 19 years later, when Rom's people discovers Earth. The aliens are coming! Rom's people just want to trade, however (they find salt a precious commodity and yummy delicacy), and they are getting fed up with Washington DC's red tape in clearing their landings, et cetera. Jasmine sees our her on TV and is struck by how much he resembles that man who orgasmed her in her dreams years years ago... better still, she wants to go see the stars. She decides to volunteer as an middle person between Rom and Earth.

Rom sees her and voila! He decides to keep her and seduce her. There some obligatory space politic intrigue in this story, but the main crux of the story is Jasmine's coming to life as she explores the stars and as her relationship with Rom unfurls. It's a lovely read. The atmosphere is steeped and well written that the whole premise seems real. When things are slow, things are romantic and fun, as both interplanetary parties try to adjust to each other. When the action pick up, well, it's not too bad (the ending scenes seem rushed though).

The obligatory hero's grouchy best buddy is here, as well as the one-dimensional doofus loose screw in the party. But no matter - The Star King is fun. There are times when I wish I am on the trip to space myself, because the author makes it all so evocative and exciting. That's what good science fiction or futuristic fiction does if you ask me - to take me into the story.

Rating: 88


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