Kinsman's Oath, by Susan Krinard

>> Monday, February 14, 2005

Kinsman's Oath (excerpt), by Susan Krinard is set in the same world as the author's short story in the Out of This World anthology, which I bought for the J.D. Robb In Death story. For once, I never got around to reading the rest of the novellas, so I was new to this universe when I started Kinsman's Oath.

Ronan VelKalevi was a man torn between two worlds. Born into the human race, he was kidnapped at the age of six by the alien shaauri. More than twenty years later, he has found himself on the run from the aliens who raised him--and being saved by a ship of humans. Captain Cynara D'Accorso, commander of the Pegasus, has no reservations about rescuing the telepathic Kinsman from his damaged ship. But she isn't expecting the dangerous emotions this troubled man awakens in her--or that he isn't the innocent fugitive he claims to be. Now, as their hearts fall prey to passion, Ronan and Cynara must discover the paths to which they were born before their destinies destroy them both...
Kinsman's Oath stands head and shoulders above most futuristic romances in terms of the intrincacy and consistency of its world-building, but unfortunately, I was a bit less enthused by the romance. My grade would be a B-.

The universe Krinard created is fascinating and original, and I enjoyed spending time there. She doesn't make things simplistic and black and white; each world has its good and bad points. They are all different, so each new one was an interesting place to visit and discover. I was especially fascinated by the Shaauri-ja, with its distinctive form of organization.

The characters and their romance were a bit of a disappointment. I immensely liked Cynara, but the whole thing with her and Tyr, especially the revelations at the end, was just too weird for me. Ronan was even more problematic, because I felt distant to him most of the book. I think what got me there was the back and forth with the mind stuff: the false memories and hidden compulsions and programmed amnesia and all that. It made it hard to get to know a character, when I never could be sure of what he seemed to be thinking, if it was the real person's thoughts or something planted there by telepaths.

Still, for all that, I did enjoy the book. I hope there are more books like this coming, futuristics which go beyond the barbarian and psychic virgin healer mold!


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