RogerBW's Blog

Dark Horse, Michelle Diener 06 March 2024

2015 SF/romance, first of a series. Rose McKenzie was kidnapped from Earth and was kept as a prisoner and experimental subject aboard a space battleship, until she managed to escape. Dav Jallan doesn't know why this battleship has turnd up in his region of space, or why its crew is dead, but…

And this is romantic SF, so naturally they instantly get the hots for each other. But also this is romantic SF written seriously, so Rose has post-traumatic triggers from her imprisonment, not to mention a big secret about just what's going on.

Although it's treated very mildly here, the premise for this series, to be continued each book with different characters, is in fact the development of a three-sided relationship—between a male person in this spacefaring culture, a female abductee from modern Earth, and the illegal AI that was built into each of the battleships. (It's supposed to be locked down and unable to rebel, but we know how well that always works.) This particular story comes in in the middle of events, but the AI is still in the process of learning about things and developing its own code of ethics, something I always enjoy.

There are also interesting, if perhaps implausible, background details; for example, this culture regards music as rare and special, so whenever Rose casually sings while she's doing something everyone stops and listens to what for them is the Best Singing Ever. (They've also apparently lost the ability to lie, though that's not made entirely clear and they still have spies and infiltrators.) The Class 5 battleship is significantly more powerful than any other individual warship in service, so everyone wants it, including its original builders, as well as Dav's superiors.

It's a simple world with fairly simple characters, and the author's influences are clearly TV and filmic SF rather than written, but there's enough here to elevate the book from by-the-numbers generic romance (SF or otherwise).

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Series: Class 5 | Next in series: Dark Deeds

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