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Morgan's Choice (Morgan Selwood) (Volume 2) Paperback – September 22, 2011
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About the Author
Greta van der Rol loves writing action-packed adventures with a side salad of romance. Most of her work is space opera, but she has written paranormal and historical fiction. She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn't bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavors.
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Top customer reviews
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As she always does, van der Rol creates a full-featured society rather than a painted backdrop against which her characters act out their lives. There is depth here that underscores the author’s grasp of the interweaving of history, sociology, the arts, religion, commerce, and politics. She does this with amazing skill, avoiding the slippery slope into relying upon flat one-dimensional archetypes, as well as the dive into point-making instead of storytelling. The story is foremost; the points are sketched lightly. We are left with a beautiful science fiction adventure with more than a dollop of romance. The balance between adventure and romance is nicely maintained throughout, and readers of multiple genres will find lots to to enjoy in this outstanding book.
Cyborg meets alien admiral; space opera meets romance. This results in an awesome premise with twice the pulp, as if the half-naked guy in front of a spaceship didn't already spell that out for you. There are space battles, insurgent separatist movements to throw off the yoke of a caste system, and sexual tensions of the you're-hot-but-you're-kinda-the-enemy! variety. Morgan's Choice has the makings of an action-packed space opera adventure (with all kinds of action).
The prose is slick and easy to get into, and the story wastes no time in piling up the conflict. Morgan finds herself being used for the military and political factions of an alien world, because her Supertech abilities make her a powerful weapon. She can compromise security systems, fly enemy spaceships, and pretty much hack everything. But it's difficult for her to figure out which side she should be on, especially when things heat up with the Admiral.
The repulsion-attraction dynamics between the two are well-done and manages to avoid major unfortunate implications, which is important given that Morgan's a prisoner and the Admiral comes from a super patriarchal society. Van der Rol writes Morgan well as a resourceful heroine doing her best in an unpredictable environment. I really enjoyed the first half of this book and would give it a solid 4 stars.
Unfortunately, I don't think that the final portion is as strong. The antagonists are underdeveloped, the chase sequences feel lacklustre, and the world-building around the Supertechs could be clearer. Why could Supertechs only reproduce with other Supertechs? What are the limitations on a Supertech? Morgan's special abilities are treated like magic without a cohesive rule system. I didn't have a problem with it early in the book, but as the story went on without these abilities being explained and the Rule of Cool lost its effect, my suspension of disbelief drifted away.
My final criticism is that the romance becomes dreary in the absence of richer character development. One of the most interesting tensions is Morgan's romantic feelings for the Admiral versus her dislike of his arrogance and being a product of a very repressive and patriarchal culture. This gets resolved, but not in a way I found impressive, because it relies on a formula romance resolution which trivializes the conflict. I think romance readers who want a tidy ending would be satisfied, but I was looking for something more.
If you're looking for a space opera/romance adventure, Morgan's Choice serves up some fast-paced pulp, but don't expect much else.
Note: a free review copy was provided by the author.