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Mostly Cross Posts from my blog, Readings From the Dark Side

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Alpha Trine

Alpha Trine - Lexi Ander I enjoyed a lot about this book and really admired Ander's incredible inventiveness, but the experience of reading it was mostly frustrating. My favorite part was the opening chapters about Zeus' adoption, but once the story moved to the space station I was overwhelmed by the onslaught of different alien species, with their wildly different appearances and abilities. Instead of giving us any time to get caught up or orient to what was happening, the book kept lurching from one major event to another, each accompanied by ginormous info-drops involving ever more complicated (and only tangentially related) plot entanglements--symbiotes, hatred of Terrens, assassination attempts, kidnapping, Fal'Amorics, Bespoken, United Galaxies, Valespia, V'Saar.

For a short novel--169 pages--there are way too many strands for the author to do justice to. It reminded me of the later George Lucas movies, especially Episodes 2 and 3, where the incredible wealth of detail comes at the expense of clear, focused story-telling. I would have preferred if we'd had about six fewer species in exchange for more basic facts about this world: what is the relationship between Zeus' adopted family of "Emperors" and the ones Dargon serves? Why are humans such a problem? Why are the Fal'Amoric necessary for this marriage? Why is everyone on Dargan's ship so sure Zeus is human when they are transporting a bunch of Fal'Amoric passengers who look just like him? What the hell are psionics anyways? We spend most of the book running away from them but are never told what they are.

In a similar way, bits of crucial information about Zeus' life are tossed at us at random points, which I thought deserved more in-depth treatment, in particular the history with Rathmar and how Zeus came to be a master engineer instead of a warrior. Some of these problems might have been offset if I'd liked the sex more, but I found it lukewarm, more tender and affectionate than kinky, though I did think the "menage" bits with the symbiote were inventive and clever.

Bottom line: I will probably read the sequel because there were a lot of things I did like here and I don't like having all these unanswered questions, but I wish Ander had curtailed her amazing creativity a bit in favor of just focusing on her story and major characters.