Starchild
by Katriena Knights, futuristic (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-854-2


Starchild has all the ingredients to be an exciting romantic space adventure, but somehow the end result is rather flat and uninteresting.

We have a hero, the very wealthy Harrison Fairfax, who boards the spacecraft Starchild to meet up with the EarthFed President Schumann to discuss "investment opportunities" in some distant Earth colony. However, beneath the surface, Harrison is a man who harbors many suspicions with regards to the government. His wife had vanished seven years ago while investigating a case that turns out to be... sensitive, let's just say. A conspiracy theorist with a lot of money at his disposal is a pretty dangerous person, so Captain Trieka Cavendish, our heroine, soon finds herself stranded in what she calls "Land of the Furry White People" and dragged into a vast and dangerous conspiracy involving some powerful people in the government.

The biggest problem of this story is that the pacing is agonizingly slow, so slow to the point that I feel as if I'm a bored astronaut in space with nothing to do other than to look out the window and count the seconds until I get home. The first quarter of the story could have been dropped without affecting too much of the story because that is how slow the story is. Things pick up a little when Harrison and Trieka end up among folks that seem to come straight out of a Jean M Auel book, but even then, it's still slow going. The author's writing style also adds an illusion of slowness in the pace even when things by right are picking up a little - Ms Knights often dwell a little too long on scenes that don't really move the storyline.

Harrison and Trieka also have a relationship that feels really tepid and devoid of chemistry. I don't really see any sparks between them.

It's a pity that the author's writing style does not click with me because unlike many other futuristic romances, this one doesn't feel dated like something from the 1980s. The setting feels more energetic and sophisticated instead of something heavily borrowed from Star Wars. But as much as I can enjoy the setting, I find it very hard to get emotionally involved with the story, and that is a big problem indeed, I'm afraid.

Rating: 67


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