RogerBW's Blog

Shadow Game, Christine Feehan 22 February 2021

2003 SF romance, first of an ongoing series. Captain Ryland Miller volunteered to become a psychically-enhanced soldier, but he's ended up in a cage. Lily Whitney, daughter of the scientist running the project, has abilities of her own, and when her father disappears she has to work out who might be trustworthy.

Which is pretty much the way the book was presented to me, and it's not technically inaccurate. But it doesn't mention that large parts of the narrative are about Ryland and Lily falling in lust at first sight, then shagging like bunnies at every opportunity, at length and in detail. I'm sure I've read porn that had more plot and less sex than this. Which is evidently what some readers want, but even with my romance-reader head on I find that "she thinks she's ugly until the right man tells her she's gorgeous" isn't particularly satisfying as character development.

That the plot is a conspiracy which isn't even internally consistent in terms of what the conspirators want to happen, never mind anything close to actually practical, is a whole separate problem.

Oh, and Lily's super-rich (via her father) with an eighty-room house which can be a convenient home once the enhanced soldiers escape, as well as highly intelligent, and psychic; certainly she goes up against enemies, but her problems seem to be largely emotional ones of her own making (the discovery that daddy, whom she already knew had adopted her and was always quite cold and formal, and was working on the same sort of psychic abilities that she has, had obtained her mostly in order to get an experimental subject doesn't seem as though it should really be the huge shock that it's shown as here).

Oh well. It's a short book and while the writing isn't great it doesn't have any major howlers in it. But to me the point of a romance is something more than great sex, and when the only response to "hmm, this is all a bit sudden and thoroughgoing, do you think perhaps we've been deliberately set up to regard each other as our One True Bedmate" is "don't care, come back to bed" the spirit of enquiry that for me is a vital part of the SF side is lost as well.

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