miércoles, 6 de enero de 2016

OTW Challenge: KNIGHT OF A TRILLION STARS, by Dara Joy



This year I decided I wanted a second challenge in English. I saw this one about romantic science-fiction and I said OK, this could be a good one.
I read this on my Kindle

Published: 1995
Genre: Sci-Fi/Space opera
My Rating: 2 stars

Part of a series: Matrix of Destiny #1

For my first book in this new challenge, I’ve chosen a classic. Knight of a Trillion stars is –I think- one of the most beloved novels in this subgenre.

The main character of the story is Deana, a young woman who is having an awful day. She’s been fired from her job, and then everything goes from bad to worse until she arrives home and finds a very sexy stranger there. It’s an alien, from other planet. Among other things, he attacks her microwave oven with a kind of lightsaber and dresses with a cape as if he were Flash Gordon or something.

This gives you an idea about the kind of sci-fi book this is. It’s not very brainy or metaphysical one, as a Stanislaw Lem book, but a space-opera with a lot of fun. More pulp than Campbellian, so to speak.

Deana had bought a necklace in a junk shop which you discover afterwards that is a Shimalee, a magic necklace that has ‘called’ Lorgin to Earth. You suspect this from the beginning but you’re told around one third of the book, so there’s no mystery here about why this man came to Earth. Deana takes Lorgin, her alien, to a sci-fi convention in San Francisco, where everybody thinks he is an actor performing a character with a great fancy dress. But then, Lorgin takes Deana out of this world, to another place far far away, and they go through tunnels and sleep in rocky chambers. And the rest of the plot is... first they go in search of somebody and later on, of someone else.

The most attractive thing in this book was Deana. She’s got a great sense of humour, and the things she thinks and feels and says are the best part of the novel. If you’re one of those people who can LOL, you will be laughing once and again all through the story.

The ‘hero’ is more your old-skool type. He is a hunk, very attractive from a purely physical POV. But he just - ignores what Deanne wants or says.

And this was my main problem with the book –consent issues. Deana is taken out of the Earth without her consent, she’s married to Lorgin in a ceremony she’s not conscious of performing, she even goes through minor surgery to get a translation implant in her brain although she clearly says ‘no’ to the operation. So when it comes to sex, obviously, her opinion is not taken into account. Deana tells Lorgin to leave her room; he says no and starts undressing himself. She says don’t touch me and, of course, he goes and embraces her. Very old-skoolish, isn’t it? There’s even one of those moments when ‘She couldn’t deny herself another minute’ just because she suddenly discovers that ‘He was made for her, a fantasy in the flesh’. Yes it’s the same old song of ‘your mouth says no but your body says yes’. I could ignore that twenty years ago but not today.

Of course she is quite virginal; she’s only had one experience before, and not a very exciting one. Something that Lorgin is very happy about, ‘He was grateful for her lack of sophistication. He could always lead them where he wanted them to go, but strangely, the thought of another man touching her made his blood boil’.

You find interesting second characters –Yaniff a kind of old and sage Yoda-type wizard, and Rejar a very sensuous changeling, but somehow you don’t see them doing anything impressive. I couldn’t find the spirit of intergalactic adventures I expected.

And then there’s this thing about magic. Like ‘you’ve got science on Earth, we’ve got magic’. Not my cup of tea, I’m afraid. OK, I like sci-fi, I dislike paranormals. I prefer a more scientific approach to this genre, and not paranormal in disguise.

So in the end, it was quite a boring experience to me. I loved Deana and I’d like her to have a real space adventure with a hero that I could love & respect.
Jul-1995
Leisure

In my opinion, it’s a book that has not aged very well. I guess they loved this book twenty years ago because of the sexy scenes, which are very steamy and perhaps not so usual in the 1990s. But such a level of fantasy and explicitness is so common now that I can’t see anything special in them and nobody nowadays would consider it ‘scorching’.

But that’s just my opinion, because a lot of people keep on loving it, and it’s certainly considered among the best romance novels ever! In 1995 won the RRA Award for Best Alternative Realities Romance. When the now defunct The Romance Reader webpage made its list about the best romance novels of the 20th century, this book was ranked # 24! All About Romance gave it a DIK review. AAR makes polls each three or four years among its readers in order to create their Top 100 Romance novels; well, in the 1998 poll it was number 83, in 2000 nr. 44, but it has disappeared in later polls. In the 1999 Mini-Poll in the ‘Favorite Funny’ category, it was considered nr 09. In the year 2007, All About Romance made another Mini-Poll in which this book appeared #5 among the SF/Fantasy & Futuristic Romances. Finally, when RomanceNovels.Me made its list of the best 1,000 romances, it was ranked #60.

In the end, I felt – disappointed. I thought I was going to love this book, but I didn’t. I was bored, sometimes angry and the great moments of the heroine with her great sense of humour were not enough for me. But I have to recognise that as a first novel is surprisingly good.

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