Unearthed, by C.J. Barry

>> Thursday, December 08, 2005

Unearthed was my first C.J. Barry. It hadn't got very good reviews, but it sounded promising.

Life on Earth was just getting interesting for Tess MacKenzie. She’d postponed her singing career to support the family business and after eight long years, she finally earned her chance to shine. Her band was hot, her songs were rocking and Tess was on her way to becoming a star.

Things were definitely looking up.

That is until Cohl Travers, alien extraordinaire, swoops out of the night sky and snatches her off her planet. When he says he desperately needs her voice for a dangerous cosmic mission and the fate of two planets hangs on her song, she figures one of them is in for some serious therapy. Tess soon finds herself up to her neck in smelly bad guys, a robot with a superiority complex, an ancient Amulet that could end her singing career permanently and a man who can burn her from the inside out.

Cohl Travers thought he was free and clear of his destiny to become the next ruler of his planet. But when the warring Trakas abduct his father and hold him hostage for the Amulet, Cohl is dragged back to a fate he does not want with a woman he cannot ignore.

Together, they might defeat the Trakas – but what is Cohl supposed to do about the feelings that Tess has unearthed in him.
It was a promising book, but that promise wasn't really fulfilled. A C.

At the beginning, I thought Unearthed reminded me a bit of some of JAK's futuristics, a very good thing for this big fan of that author. A couple of scenes definitely put me in mind of such favourites as Sweet Starfire. However, the cheese factor ended up being a bit too high (and for me to say that it was too high after admitting to loving JAK's futuristics gives you some idea of exactly how overpowering it was!) and I never completely warmed up to the hero or, to a lesser extent, the heroine.

Cohl really drove me crazy with his unwillingness to share anything with Tess. I mean, Tess owes him and his family absolutely nothing, and he's asking her to risk her life for them. Surely he owes her at least a clear understanding of exactly what she will be risking before she decides? As for Tess, she had a slight tendency to classic TSTL behaviour, but really, it was at least partly Cohl's fault for not telling her anything!

After a very readable beginning (or maybe it's just that I'm a sucker for books set in spaceships), the middle section of the book sagged quite a bit. They really spent much too long in Cohl's home planet, and he didn't behave very well in those sections. Also, his motivations for leaving home and becoming an adventurer weren't very well done. I'd be the first to understand someone fighting for what he wants against expectations put on him just because of his birth, but Cohl just came across as a whiny child in those sections.

After they left on their final mission, things improved, with a very fun adventure sequence, only for the ending to be ruined by a very clichéd misunderstanding-ridden ending. I could just have punched Cohl for being an idiot!


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