Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Starheart by Greta van der Rol

Title: Starheart (Ptorix Empire #4)
Author: Greta van der Rol
Genre: Scifi Romance/Space Opera
Publisher: Self (latest edition April 2013)
Available: $3.99 at Amazon
Rating: 4 stars
Rater: Pippa

From the publisher:

Freighter Captain Jess Sondijk thought she had her life under control until Admiral Hudson's Confederacy battle cruiser stops her ship to search for contraband. His questions reopen matters she had thought resolved. What if her husband's death during an official boarding wasn't accidental?

Hudson has his own questions. Who in the Confederacy is trading with the Ptorix? And what price is high enough to pay for starhearts, the prized jewels the aliens call the windows of the soul?

Jess and Hudson's interests collide in more ways than one as they follow a shadowy trail of deceit and corruption in search of the truth. But while Jess is more than willing to put her life on the line to protect what's hers, Hudson must balance the risk of inter-species war at worst and the end of his career at best, in a deadly game of political intrigue, murder and greed.

What I liked:
This was a fun book, in the true spirit of classic space opera akin to Star Trek and it's ilk, with good tension and interesting plot twists. A spunky heroine does it for me every time, and we get that in Jess. She's had it tough and skirted the grey area between legal transport and smuggling. She's smart, confident, and yet caring - no coming over as a hard-nosed bitch determined to be the match of any man, and yet being totally up to the challenge. Personally I enjoyed the secondary story line with her first officer Santh, and would have liked more on him. In that respect, the story felt slightly unbalanced.

What I didn't like:

So why didn't this rate a five? In a word, Hudson. I cannot stand smug men. In spite of his charms, his attitude just made me want to slap, and despite the situation they were in, I begrudged Jess surrendering. Also, one major stunning revelation at the end gave me a very 'huh?' moment. Not because I object to the content. I just couldn't see the overall point to the story, except to cause some additional conflict. But forgiveness came far too quickly to make it a significant conflict, so I felt a little 'why do it?', unless it has more relevance in another book in the series.

In conclusion:
This is classic space opera that Star Trek fans would probably enjoy. It had my heart going and had me rooting for the good guys and gals, and I would definitely read more by this author. It also stands alone well despite being labelled book four, so even someone totally new to the series would be able to enjoy this without reading the others (as I did).

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