Even after all my blathering on about not wanting to make love on Tuesday from last week, I find myself doing it this week. Funny how things turn out. I think it is probably like that thing where you fight tooth and nail not to turn out like your mother and then you are thirty and you wake up one day and you are like, “Crap in a bucket! Most of the things I do I do the way my mom taught me to do.” My mom is a complete hoarder and I visit her twice a year and I flip so far to the other side when I come home that I frantically search my home for things I can cull from my home. So I have learned to be just like my mother, in the opposite direction.
My Makin’ the Love Mon-Tuesday this week is Susan Kearney’s The Ultimatum–the third Rystani book in her futuristic sci-fi/romance space series. I have downed the first three books in this series in the last month and only have Kirek’s book left. The series was recommended to me through Goodreads based on my read shelf for August when I started reading the Brides of the Kindred books by Evangeline Anderson. The two book series share a similar science fiction feel but I like Susan Kearney’s characters more than the Kindred characters. So Goodreads gave me a really good recommendation and I got a further boon because this book became available on NetGalley and I got the ARC sent to me for free.
The third Rystani book reintroduces Xander, who readers met in The Challenge when he was tortured by the Endekians, a very aggressive race of people from another planet who had been attacking the Rystani’s home planet in hopes of claiming the planets main natural resources, the glow rocks which in the hands of the war prone Endekians would be a powerful weapon. In that book he was freed by Kahn’s mate, Tessa in that book and in The Ultimatum, he is grown and now a Star Pilot on the Verazen. Sent on a mission to acquire a pure strand of DNA from one of the Perceptive Ones (One of the first beings in the Galaxy) to save all the living species in space before the Federation collapses and Xander, personally, loses the chance to save the life of the woman who saved his. Since Terrans have been the first to have been effected by the illness that is spreading through the Galaxy, Tessa’s been in decline and he has been watching the mate of his ruler grow weaker each time he checks in with Kahn. The one who can help him happens to be an Endeki, one of the species who attacked his planet and killed his family, and now he has to ask her to come with him to find this pure strand of DNA. Unfortunately Alara has her own problems and Endeki women are cursed by a genetic and biological abnormality called boktai, which leaves them physically crippled once every other year. During this time she needs to have a man’s essence to regenerate her cells or she will die. It just so happens that when Xander steals her from her home her boktai has begun. And not only is she the face of the species that invaded and killed his family, but he happens to be the species who killed hers.
The Rystani books have had some really great characters. I think that Susan Kearney has made some truly fun to read leading females. Of the three heroines so far, there has not been one instance where I wanted to throw any of them in traffic and for the most part this author has managed to give them a great sense of humor which only lends to the enjoyment of the book.
The alpha males though, meh. I sort of felt that they were in essence all very much the same. From Kahn to Zical to Xander I never really felt that there was a difference that made me feel I was looking at a different person. The Rystani books talk a great deal about how Rystani males act certain ways and at times it feels too much like the cultural way that these men are handicapped the individuality of each character. I wonder a great deal if it isn’t the fact that the women are really vivacious and they have this distinctiveness that Rystani men all seem to find appealing because it is different from Rystani women who are major snores. When you make dominating men, great leaders and understanding soldiers you also have to give them specific things that make them them outside of what might be there talents. Kahn being a great warrior and Zical being able to put the good of all before himself and Xander being able to look within is all unique but I’d also like it if one of them did something special while during the down and dirty. I’d like it if one of them acted less predictably when they were in a stressful position. It would be fabulous if a Rystani male made some clearly un-Rystani actions. That is not a spoiler by the way… the thing about the talents of the heroes.
I have really enjoyed the fact that in all three books Susan Kearney has allowed readers to explore the galaxy. She has given readers a chance to meet new alien people and life forms and introduced different kinds of technology and societies. It’s refreshing to be able to read something that is story based more so than romance based. The love story is very much present but the author keeps on track to use the vehicle of the plot to guide the emotions of the hero and heroine and doesn’t allow the reader or the characters to get so lost in the emotions of the pair that the pacing ever pauses or comes off track.
If I have any complaint it is the short duration of the romance that takes place. In all the books the two characters have an abbreviated relationship before developing a bond to which they become completely moronic for one another. Well maybe not in the case of Zical and Dora, but that is a kinda, sorta, maybe issue. I have always had a real problem with what I like to call peer pressure passion. Any relation that develops as quickly as acid reflux and leaves you feeling as uncomfortable is bad for you.
Maybe it’s because I’m bipolar and really old and have had a million and one intense love affairs that I professed would be forever and that I opined each time how I never would love another but if you think that the guy you just met and shared bodily fluids with seems perfect for you and is everything you have ever wanted, you need to get your clothes on go home and get a good night sleep. In the morning if you still feel like that call the last guy you thought that about and get a good reminder of all the reasons why that way of thinking just doesn’t work. The only place magic men with all the right parts, words, ingredients, social skills, intentions and promises really exist in whole is between the pages of a book like this. Wow that was a rant. I must be mad at my husband for something he did in a dream again. Apparently I am feeling fussy again about that crazy Greyhound trip I took from Pennsylvania to California to meet him when we were in college based on a romance carried on via AIM. There is a one in a very high number of that stuff actually working kids. Don’t be stupid.
Back to this book. The Ultimatum is good. I think that The Dare was probably my favorite because Dora is my favorite character of the entire series. I really have liked Kirek and I was really happy to see how well he’s grown from The Dare to this book and even though I want to beat myself over the head with bendar for having read some unfavorable reviews of The Quest, I can’t wait to read the last book of this series. At least I believe it is the last book since it’s the big war with the Zin which is the Big Bad of the galaxy.
Sorry for the life lesson rant again. I would take it out but I have a promise with myself about self-censoring. It’s a thing about accepting all of me and my round and rough edges. =)