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Liar's Game

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  • Posted July 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Disappointing Sci-Fi Romance Grade: D or 2 stars The Story A

    A Disappointing Sci-Fi Romance

    Grade: D or 2 stars

    The Story
    Aurelia Popkiss, assumed dead in a prison explosion, acts as the Euchronia’s captain. Accompanied by her crew of fugitives, they survive through interplanetary acts of piracy and scavenging for goods. Some of them – a scientist turned cook, a rake of unknown loyalties, a formerlynouveau riche second in command - have unrevealed secrets. The Euchronia’s latest space raid rewards them with a stowaway, with secrets of her own. Auri and crew try to determine the mysterious woman’s hidden agenda, as they evade recapture. It’s a cat and mouse game between Auri and the stowaway. Loyalties are questioned, lies are told, and dangerous situations slowly reveal a secret love.

    My Thoughts
    I love a good science-fiction romance. The intergalactic travels, diverse beings, suspense, action, speculative storytelling, the relation between culture and technology are conducive to producing dynamic plots. I expect total escapism into elaborate and/or lush worlds. This isn’t the case with Liar’s Gamble. For the most part, the romance is subdued until the story’s end. Space is a simple backdrop. We see Auri and her crew in a spaceship, in space. The world-building was really disappointing.

    Kait Gamble’s debut book is not a bad, per se. It felt lacking, especially when you compare Liar’s Gamble to the writings of Linnea Sinclair, Lois McMaster Bujold, Sara Creasy, Marcella Burnard (a fairly new sci-fi romance author), and a few sci-fi erotic writers. The narrative and dialogue lack force and enthusiasm. Auri’s world includes a few steampunk elements. A ‘halftic’ is a person with mechanical parts. The parts bear a similarity to modern day prosthetics, but the parts are made of metal. This world is also under the another Queen Victoria’s rule, and colonization has occurred on terrestrial bodies, such as Mercury and Io, Jupiter’s moon. These story elements are communicated in a few basic sentences.

    What is good? The character, Aurelia Popkiss, proved to be very cunning. When the romance hit its strong point, Keys makes a convincing love interest. There’s also a couple of cagey little twists in the plot. The story is open-ended, leaving future stories for this crew possible, especially Aurelia. Will I read the next book? Maybe. Perhaps it will significantly surpass the debut. Overall, Liar’s Gamble is a readable, but below average sci-fi romance.

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