Out Of The Blue
by Janice Sims, contemporary (1998)
Arabesque, $4.99, ISBN 0-7860-0596-3


Out Of The Blue has dolphins, a marine biologist heroine, and a mystical dolphin, plus a plot straight out of a Michael Moorcock-type fantasy tale. I am hard-pressed to figure out why I am not swept away - pardon the pun - by this paranormal fantasy romance. Oh yeah, I know why. It wants to so dearly fly out on a limb, but it remains grounded all the time, so it's a neither here nor there affair.

Gaea Maxwell is a marine biologist whose niche is studying whales. Currently she's trying not to remember that her boss is also her ex, whom she caught cheating on her one fine day, while she's trying to figure out the mystery of a blue-nosed dolphin that she saw change into a man. No, they don't have drugs stashed away at the boat, I really don't think so. In the meantime, Micah Cavanaugh, landlubber, is here to recruit Gaea for his godfather's private college. Oh, Gaea who has sworn off men, is so tempted by Micah? What will she do now?

Well, I can tell you that the story shouldn't have left for dry land so soon. The marine ecology research thingies in the start of this story I find really fascinating, and even better, the heroine actually holds an academic position that she is clearly qualified for. What doesn't gel however is the relationship between Gaea and her ex. One moment she's telling me that she's well rid of him, and next minute, barely a chapter later, she's forlornly telling Micah that she feels that the break-up was her fault. She's a - sssh - virgin, you know, and maybe if she doesn't do a Jessica Simpson so rigidly on her ex, Xavier, maybe they'll still be together. Oh boo hoo hoo, how sad. What happened to the real Gaea? Kidnapped by aliens? (Incidentally, that's not an impossible scenario, as yes, there are alien thingies in this story. Damn you, aliens!)

Micah and Gaea are obviously right for each other, which only makes the delay in their happily ever after very annoying. Gaea lets herself be led around the nose by Xavier way too often for my liking, and when she and Micah finally get down to business and ride off into the sunset, my only thought was, "Well, that's about time! What took them so long?"

But the biggest flaw of Out Of The Blue is that it takes too long to build up to the fantastical climax. The characters spend a lot of time doing minor, trivial things like bickering with the exes and chit-chatting with friends.

While I do like Gaea and Micah, the meandering pace and the somewhat schizophrenic characterization of Gaea make me wish that these people have just stayed on the ocean and make love among singing whales and dancing lobsters or something. Out Of Blue promises to be a dive into the exciting romance of the unknown, but it takes its own sweet time to get there that I can hardly muster the excitement to keep up.

Rating: 74


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