OK, this book was wierd. So, on the one hand, it's a straight up
scifi sort of universe of the sort that Bujold would be happy to stick
her characters in. On the other hand, there are psychic magicians
running around. Um, what? Not many of them, of course---few enough,
in fact, that the main character gets deified in her absence on the
basis of being one, thus setting up the whole plot.
But it's not really about any of that. It's, well, a romance novel.
I know, I know, I should be ashamed for even touching such a thing.
And there were definitely times I felt that way. Like about one page
after the two main characters meet (you know, the ultra-powerful space
mage woman and the hot-shot youngest admiral in the fleet, just a
couple of everyday folks) and there's a paragraph so embarassing I
need to reproduce it in full.
"The exam room's utilitarian overheads were harsh, bright, but their
light played through her short, pale hair in a mixture of silver and
gold like moonlight and starlight. There was an almost etherial
beauty about her. Mack felt as if he knew her, but from a dream."
The context? He's interrogating her on suspicion of smuggling. Raise
your hand if you think these two aren't going to end up having
passionate sex, the like of which neither has ever encountered before,
that will change their formerly meaningless lives forever? Raise your
hand if you think there's not going to be any sort of deux ex machina
at the climax of the plot? I thought so.
Yeah, it's trash. But it's good trash. It's got a sense of humor,
it's got a shifting perspective. It's got predictability, but,
frankly, if you make it past the first twenty pages, you aren't going
to mind it much. It reminds me in many way, actually, of Anne
McCaffrey. Who I loved when I was a teenager, but who just feels
bland to me now. Of course, there was a little more zest in this
one---Ms. McCaffrey prefers to have somewhat adolescent characters
with a more wistful and romantic approach to sex, where Ms. Sinclair
isn't ashamed to have them just plain like to screw.
In the end, it's a romance novel. It's got starships and magic, but
they're just a backdrop for the romance. It's got an almost
Shakespearean level of mistaken beliefs and deceit, all in the service
of increasing the sexual tension in the air, but you know everything's
going to work out. And in the end, even the parrots get to have their