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I Will Love You Forever (Protector Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
My first read of this short sci-fi novel, indeed, read like a script of the next Hollywood near-disaster movie. However, as sci-fi, this book required a second read. So, a year a later, I scoured my calendar for a good 4-5 hours to read it again.
It did not disappoint. What appears at first glance as a plot-line for a 1950s sci-fi B-movie, in fact was only the framework for deeper explorations. What this book is really about is … sex!
Sex as desire ... sex as intimacy ... sex as soul-mates … sex as violence … sex as anger … sex as alienation … and ultimately, sex as love.
Our Darwinian interest in sex, of course, endures to this day. However, exploring alternative sexual identities is the special contribution of our day. Books such as Eugenides’s “Middlesex” and Ebershoff’s “The Danish Girl”, televisions shows such as “Transparent” and “Becoming Us”, and, of course, the non-stop interest in Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner all testify to society’s openness and interest in alternative sexual identities.
“I Will Love You Forever” is a very creative and daring contribution to this genre, however, with a very special twist. The book is not about a normal human transgender, but about the transition to a human-alien transgender (and back) and what that means to a human partner.
Our protagonist in the book, Ken, has the serious hots for his new bride, the caring, sensuous, loving and nubile Lu. Events replace Lu’s sensuality with a cold, distant, emotionless, damaged alien Lu. Lu was, in a word, alienated. Ken longed for the old Lu. Even as alien magic healed the body, the soul remained distant. The human form alien gave Ken hope, but not intimacy, even as her healed curves sparked a purely physical response.
In a climactic scene halfway through the book, we experience rape from the alien’s point of view. In a very clever reversal of the ever popular alien abduction sci-fi movies, the aggressor is not the alien and the victim is not human. It is the other way around: the aggressor is a human. Using the classic sci-fi technique of telling a very painful human truth from a supernatural point of view, the author provides the reader with a deeper understanding of the violation that is rape.
This review scores four out of five stars. Many points are given for the creative story line and the daring exploration of this unique human-alien sexuality. To this reviewer, the subtext … alien transgenderism … could have tracked more tightly to the framework storyline. For me (who rarely reads sci-fi), I also found some of the gee-whiz techy talk a little distracting.
However, ultimately, the question must be asked, is it true that the protagonist Ken will love Lu forever? If the title of the book were a question … “Will I love you forever?” … what would the answer be?
Sadly, I believe the answer must be no. Ken, of course, loved the human, sensual, emotional, compassionate and sexy Lu with all his heart and body. But, did Ken love the damaged, alienated Lu just as much? Was he able to love a cold, distant and scarred Lu when that love would not be reciprocated? Were his feelings those of love and compassion for the damaged and alienated Lu or were his feelings those of grief and self-pity when his sexy soul-mate was gone?
Like all human love, Ken’s love was conditional. With reciprocity, human loves flourishes, nourishes and endures. Without reciprocity, it withers, disappoints and dies. Like the rest of us, Ken was also human. So despite his frequent proclamations, this reviewer was not convinced that Ken would love Lu forever.
While the title may at first evoke the image of a sappy, badly written romance, Groover's novel is far from it. The sci-fi tale follows the impact of an alien probe, its subsequent cohabitation of Lu Winston's body, and the struggles of Lu and her husband Ken as they try to stay alive and free. The main perspective is Ken's, although the book is in third person limited and you are given glimpses into the perspective of other characters.
The plot is quite original--refreshing in the age of the same 3 tired and overduplicated supernatural/dystopian/crime novels. It also contains plenty of carefully done research in regards to the biological processes described and the fictional technology that appears. At its very root, IWLYF is equal parts love story and sympathetic alien encounter, but these are woven together in refreshing ways. The love is also not the heady and trite 'new love' so often depicted in fiction, but rather a steadfast tale of a husband's committed love for his wife.
The closest parallel that I can draw is Stephanie Meyer's The Host if it were written for an adult audience.
Overall, IWLYF made me laugh a few times, tear up a few times, and kept me in a state of excited suspense the rest of the time. You can't ask for much more in a book. Its only downfall is a perhaps overoptimistic determination to achieve a happy ending, which leads to a few slightly implausible stretches--but I like happy endings, and I'm willing to forgo a little believability so I don't walk away depressed. Definitely recommended.