Customer Review

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed reaction..., October 14, 2009
This review is from: Close Encounters (Alien Affairs) (Mass Market Paperback)
I just finished reading Katherine Allred's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Book 1, and I had mixed feelings about this book, so I came to Amazon to see if, as sometimes happens, reviews by others might have pinpointed already the strengths and weaknesses of this book. Unfortunately, there were only short, glowing reviews and one strongly negative review, and neither really expressed my view.

I liked a lot about this book: The relationship between Kiera and Max, the ship, and Kiera and Crigo, the rock cat; the backstory of GEP's and the relationship between Naturals and GEP's and Kiera's uniqueness as a GEP; the overall story of the Buri and where they came from; and (while trying not to give a spoiler) the discovery and transformation Kiera has in the last third of the book.

Then why do I not rate this a 4-star or 5-star book? Two things come to mind. First, something in the way the author wrote the relationship between Kiera and Thor just didn't work for me. By the time they consummated their relationship, I was so uninvolved with (unconvinced by?) them as a couple, that I found myself skimming over those pages. Perhaps it was, as another reviewer I believe said, that it all just came so easily that it didn't seem real.

Another issue I had was that as I was reading (and enjoying) the book, I was repeatedly jolted out of the story by the thought, "Ick...a 'futuristic'!" And I don't mean that in a good way. If you've been a Sci-Fi romance reader for a while, you know that "futuristics" was the label given to a subgenre of rather poorly written, retro-mentality Sci-Fi romances that have mercifully mostly been replaced by better writing, plots and depth of character.

I'm not a writer; I wish I could pinpoint just why I had that reaction. Maybe it was the awkwardness of the way the author presented Kiera's reaction to/instant acceptance of Thor's primitive possessive behavior. I know, I know, it was supposed to be connected to Kiera's lack of a family and her upbringing as a GEP and her need to be loved, but still, for whatever reason, it was enough to affect my enjoyment of the story.

As I look over my earlier words, I'm struck by the fact that when I listed the strengths of this book, I listed Kiera's relationships with Max and Crigo as more interesting than her relationship with Thor!

I was surprised to see that Katherine Allred has published several previous books, so, clearly, the writing in this book cannot be attributed to her being a first-time author.

To sum up, I would probably give this book a 3.5 star rating. Interesting story idea, definitely some room for improvement in the writing, not fabulous, but not terrible either. I'll probably give the second in the series a chance next year so I can see where the story goes.
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