Ravyn's Flight, by Patti O'Shea

>> Friday, February 06, 2004

The comments I'd read about Patti O'Shea's Ravyn's Flight (excerpt) weren't very encouraging, so while I was attracted to the book's subject matter, I was a bit doubful about trying it. Luckily, a friend offered me a copy, so I did read it.

Alone on a strange planet. Their teammates murdered by an unknown enemy. Help weeks away. Could there be a worse time to fall in love?

Ravyn Verdier was the communications specialist on a mission to test the habitability of Jarved Nine. Damon Brody was the commander who rescued her when the rest of her team is mysteriously killed. Trapped on a planet that harbored an unimaginable evil, they must depend on one another, trust each other implicitly.

An abandoned city held the key to their survival, but what they found behind its ancient walls defied all their preconceived notions, tested the very limits of the bond that had formed between them. To succeed, they would have to cast aside their doubts and listen to their hearts. For only when they were linked body and soul--when they realized love was their greatest weapon--would they be able to defeat the monstrous force bent on destroying all life.
Ravyn's Flight is a very imperfect book, so I definitely can understand the criticism, but I still found myself loving it. A B+.

This book reads as a meld of two different things, and things I never imagined could work together, at that. The beginning, when Ravyn and Damon meet at the scene of a mysterious and gruesome massacre, reminded me of the movie Alien. Then, as they started moving, and even more when they got to their destination, the enigmatic Old City, the book read like the St. Helen books Jayne Ann Krentz wrote as Jayne Castle. It had all the psychic angle, all the mumbo-jumbo about energy from the planet, and the protagonists using it as a matter of course.

I enjoyed the love story very much. This was very much a road romance, with the protagonists trekking to the Old City, and once they got there I guess it could qualify as a cabin romance. This meant they were together pretty much all the time, alone in a deserted planet, depending on each other for everything. I liked how the author handled their falling in love, because it wouldn't have been particularly believable for them to immediately start a relationship after the massacre they'd survived. As it was, they felt drawn to each other from the beginning, but the relationship itself developed more slowly. An wow, was it hot!

I enjoyed both characters very much. Ravyn considering herself a coward was a bit strange. Didn't she see what she was doing, the way she was someone Damon could trust to watch his back? But oh, well, I guess sometimes one's image of oneself isn't easily shaken, even by objective facts. Damon was a bit less complicated, and I thought him a wonderful guy, protective, but not dominating, and genuinely appreciative of Ravyn. My only problem with him was that TSTL moment there at the end when he decided to go hunting for the villain on his own.

And, speaking of the villain, that was where I thougth the book faltered. O'Shea had created what felt like a truly scary villain, but from the moment Ravyn and Damon find out what he is, and see an image, I just couldn't take it seriously. I'm sorry, but for some reason the author's description made me think of Barney the Purple Dinosaur, and even the description of human eyeballs hanging from his shirt as a fringe did nothing to dispel this image from my mind.

And that final confrontation, oh, man!! I was laughing histerically all the way through, what with Ravyn and Damon throwing the monster rays of love, because you know, the monster was a creature of hate, and love is stronger than hate, duh! I kept picturing these two as gigantic Carebears, sending out rays of love from their bellies.

No matter, I enjoyed the rest of the book enough that this gets an excellent grade.

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