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Goat Heads and Sand Burrs, P. Kirby's Reading Blog

The good, bad, and fugly books I've read.
Primary Inversion - Catherine Asaro For a novel that gets mentioned a lot on SF romance lists, Primary Inversion is rather light on Teh Lurve. And I say that as someone who isn't necessarily a fan of romance.

The protagonist, Sauscony Valdoria, is a Jagernaut, an empath with cybernetic implants that give her enhanced fighting abilities and the ability to pilot ships by bending space and time. She's also a potential heir to the Skolian empire. She commands a small team of Jagernauts in battles against the Trader Empire.

The Trader Empire being...drumroll, you guessed it...an evil empire. Honestly? I found the Traders more interesting than Sauscony's Skolian empire. Maybe because they have a kind of vampire thing going on, what with the dark hair, exquisite good looks, and need to feed off of the pain of others.

The story ...

One day, while visiting a planet on leave, Sauscony and her team encounter a group of Traders. At which point, Sauscony (Soz) gets sort of obsessed with the Traders. Because they are evil and must be up to no good. (No, it really doesn't make much sense, especially since this is a neutral planet where people go for vacation. There's no indication that the Traders are up to anything particularly evil.) She sneaks out of her hotel that night and breaks into the Traders' house, where she meets Jaibriol Qox. It turns out Jaibriol is an empath, which is akin to a lion being a vegetarian. (Traders don't do empathy.) Jaibriol is also the heir to the Trader Empire and...Soz's telepathic soulmate. (Soz is engaged to another man, which is another way of saying, Mr. Fiance is doomed.)

The point being that Soz and Jaibriol are perfect for each other...blah, blah, blah, destiny-cakes.

But very little of the story involves Soz and Jaibriol. Instead a huge chunk is devoted to Soz's PTSD and time with her psychiatrist. (Seriously. We get to sit in on her sessions with a shrink. ZZZZZzzz.) The rest of the narrative is devoted to exposition. Because I'm a science-loving geek, the lengthy treatises on inversion engines and other elements of quantum mechanics are fascinating. The politics of Skolian/Trader interactions and genealogies? Not so much.

And yet I read Primary Inversion in about a week, which is fast for me since I don't get much time to read. (Granted, there was skimming.) Maybe, I was driven by hope, that soon, on the next page maybe, something would happen.

On the up side, it was waaaaay better than the dog-awful The Charmed Sphere.