I am crazy jealous of all those people who attended BEA and/or the RT convention (or both!) and came away with massive book hauls. Sort of silly really, because I have waaaay too many books that I have not yet read, and the last thing I need is yet more books. Oh well, who said jealousy was rational.
Anyway, in an attempt to focus my mind on how many books I have not read, I decided to spend this
lovely chilly damp Bank Holiday afternoon updating my list of books read in 2010 – grand total of 55 to date – and realised I never blogged about Sarah A Hoyt’s “Darkship Thieves”, which I picked up at random during one of my library visits and enjoyed tremendously.
Ignore the cover depicting a half-naked woman (why, oh why, Baen) because there is a wonderful SF romance lurking inside. Actually, the cover art works both ways – it caught my eye as an obviously Baen cover on the library display, hence me taking a closer look. So I picked it up, began reading the first few pages, and knew I wanted to take it home…
Blurb from the publisher’s website:
Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space. Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. Never had any interest in finding out the truth about the DarkShips. You always get what you don’t ask for. Which must have been why she woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in her father’s space cruiser, knowing that there was a stranger in her room. In a short time, after taking out the stranger—who turned out to be one of her father’s bodyguards up to no good, she was hurtling away from the ship in a lifeboat to get help. But what she got instead would be the adventure of a lifetime—if she managed to survive…
I was in the mood for a SF romance and this fitted the bill perfectly. Athena – the only remaining heir of her Patrician family – escapes from her father’s ship after what appeared to be a mutiny by her father’s bodyguards, and lands in the hands of Kit, one of the infamous darkship thieves. Chaos and confusion ensues (is her father really in trouble, who can she trust?), and Athena has no choice but to flee to Kit’s homeworld, and begins to slowly unravel her family history and its secrets in an attempt to return home.
It’s an entertaining adventure-packed romp, Athena grows into a pretty impressive heroine, and Kit is a wonderfully charismatic hero right from the start. The plot, while not incredibly original, was twisty enough to keep me engrossed, and if I say I went looking for a sequel as soon as I finished the book, that should give you an idea of how much I enjoyed “Darkship Thieves”.
A passage from Chapter Four, when Athena comes face-to-face with Kit for the first time after fleeing her father’s ship:
I’d be damned if I was going to meet it while cramped and bent in here. I pushed down the door opening release very fast, then pushed the lifepod open, in one move, while holding my slip—what remained of it—closed with my other hand.
And found myself facing someone who looked utterly alien. Oh, not alien like with tentacles and stuff like the bad mid twenty-first-century senses. I mean, those were not really scary. What’s so scary about a squid or an octopus? Even if it’s walking on land?
No. This . . . creature was scary because he was human, undeniably and certainly of the same human stock I was—bipedal, general body shape of human male. Truth be told, wonderful body shape of human male. He was tall, with broad, straight shoulders, a narrow waist, the muscular legs of a dancer or runner. All of which were clearly visible because he was wearing what could have been a dancer’s costume—bright red and made of some material that molded every inch and possibly every pore.
I noticed that first, but then I looked up. And above the neck . . . Oh, don’t misunderstand me. He didn’t look deformed. Just familiar and different in an unbearable combination. His face was that of a human male, in bone and skin—a broad face, with a hint of the Nordic and a square chin, that would not have looked out of place on a redhead.
Only the hair above the face was not red. It was . . . calico, like a cat’s. A mixture of blond and brown and red, bright enough to be visible in this dim light. And his eyes, broad and bright, had no sclera at all. They were green like a cat’s and, like a cat’s, slanted and shining in the dark.
"Cat got your tongue?" he asked, and seemed to see this as the epitome of humor.
I have another of Ms Hoyt’s books in my TBR pile, and am aiming to get around to it soon.