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Accidental Goddess
Linnea Sinclair
Bantam Spectra, 435 pages

Accidental Goddess
Linnea Sinclair
Linnea Sinclair is a former news reporter and retired private detective who originally wrote under the name Megan Sybil Baker. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband.

Linnea Sinclair Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steve Lazarowitz

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I have a love/hate relationship with science fiction romance. I start reading each book rolling my eyes, and editing out the mushy, clichéd, silly bits. This usually lasts for the first hundred pages or so, before I start to care about the characters, then the plot catches up with me, after which I tend to laugh and cheer a lot until the end, which comes much too soon. Accidental Goddess was no exception.

The thing I tend to not like about romance is how out of character the hero and heroine act in relationship to each other. For example, Admiral Rynan Mackarian, youngest admiral in the fleet, fell immediately and irrevocably in lust with a young woman in his sick bay, a captain of what was most likely a smuggling vessel, found damaged, drifting near his space station. It's not characteristic behavior for him to dwell on green and lavender eyes, or hair, or what have you, but he does it anyway. He acts like a love struck twit pretty much from the moment he lays eyes on her. Is it me, or does this make him shallow?

I'd much rather see two characters drawn together by mutual need and circumstance. I don't really care how beautiful she is, or how handsome he is. I'd love to see the romance realistically motivated. Very few romance novels accomplish this, but then, that's not necessarily a genre requirement for romance.

That's the bad news. For the good news, this is an entertaining and funny book with characters I found endearing, even if they fell in love just because it was a romance novel.

At the center of the plot is Gillie, also known as Captain Gillian Devre. Gillie has several problems, not the least of which is that she has lost 342 years of her life. One minute she's fighting in a war, enters riftspace on the tail of an enemy vessel, and then she's thrown through a freak hole in time/space, ending up more than three centuries hence. The battle she fought in, and the ship she'd pursued, happened to be the last battle of a great war, during which the Raheirans, her technologically superior race, had helped humanity against their technologically superior foes. Without that help, humanity would have been easily conquered. This lays all the groundwork for the second big surprise Gillie to which awakens. During the lapsed years, she has become a goddess, the patron saint of the Star Fleet, an object of worship that disturbs her. Goddesses don't swill beer and play billiards in seedy space bars, and she wasn't the saint the religious texts claimed she was.

Naturally, she doesn't want anyone to know she's Raheiran, even Admiral Mackarian, with whom she's fallen in love. She has plenty of reason to desire anonymity, which brings me to the second thing I tend to dislike about science fiction romances. Aliens are often just humans with powers and abilities, rather than a different race. It's easy to forget she's Raheiran at all and just think of her as a human with superpowers. In this case, there is common ancestry, so it's a forgivable faux pas, but for me it's one of the things that separates fun/action/adventure SF from the more serious variety.

Of course, there is a race of baddies closing in, with all the malign characteristics you'd expect from an evil alien empire. To reveal more about them would be to spoil the fun.

The verdict? Even though the book is filled with science fiction clichés, it's a fun read for those who like space opera, romance or some combination of the two. I enjoyed it, and no doubt, if a sequel comes out, I'll enjoy that too, even if I do roll my eyes and edit out the silly bits for the first hundred pages.

Copyright © 2006 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz is a speculative fiction writer, an editor, a father, a husband, an animal lover and a heck of a nice guy (not necessarily in that order). Steve lives in Moonah, Tasmania with his family and four giant spiny leaf insects. You can check out his work at http://www.dream-sequence.net.


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