Gabriel's Ghost—Linnea Sinclair
I closed my eyes, felt as if my heart had been ripped in half. Then I opened them, quickly. Because I knew where that other half of my heart was: at the end of the corridor behind me, in the Meritorious's crew's quarters. (138)Part of Vaginal Fantasy Rewind
Fleet Captain Chasidah "Chaz" Bergren has been accused of murdering fourteen members of her crew and dropped on the prison world Moabar. She's picked up by Gabriel Ross "Sully" Sullivan, an allegedly dead space mercenary with whom she has a long history. Together with a few friends, they attempt to secretly uncover corruption within the Fleet, corruption that is producing monsters that have been essentially extinct for years and are being manufactured again to basically start a religious war. There's no small amount of "romance" along the way.
This was one of the most exemplary instances of telling not showing that I've ever encountered. When we first meet Chaz and Sully, they already have all of this backstory that we don't know anything about. Coming into the relationship so far into it with all of the assumptions and understandings already in place was a frustrating entry point for me. I would've even preferred a bit of time in their backstory and then a flash forward to the timing of this story, even though I'm not a super fan of time skips. Here's an example of the telling not showing that I'm talking about: "We didn't know what might be waiting out there when we came through. We still squawked an Imperial ID. There wasn't time to alter the Meritorious's codes now. 'Thirty seconds to hard edge.' 'Got it. Preparing to disengage hypers.'" (143) What does that even mean? We have absolutely no context for understanding this space speak. Instead of doing actual worldbuilding, we get told a bunch of stuff but never how it works. Or this: "Sublights disengaged at forty-eight percent, hypers were on full." (165) WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!
And another example of this specifically re: Chaz and Sully's relationship: "Could I risk that again? He was a man I'd known for years, yet didn't know. Our interactions had often been colored with flirtatious innuendoes. But they'd just as often hinted at something deeper. It was something I'd always felt, even when he was my constant adversary. And I was his beautiful, interfering bitch." (120)
On that subject, if Chaz was referred to as an "interfering bitch" one more time, even by herself, I was going to vomit.
As the ladies talked about during the Hangout, the mention of rainbows...ugh. Just ugh. "I sent him my oh, shut up rainbow." Ugh. Just kill me now. The quote that Veronica read made me laugh out loud too.
I hated that Chaz continued to make excuses for Sully's lies, and the fact that Sully contined to invade her thoughts, even when he wasn't invited, just because they had a "connection." Messed up. He even changes one of her memories, and she's like, "No, you're right. It was obviously your only option. All is forgiven." He even bonds her to him for life, a bond that if broken will cause his death, and does it without even telling her about it afterward because he says it's the only option. Get it together, dude. You don't get to just decide everything. OR APPARENTLY YOU DO! The sappiness and all of the rolling over for his continued mental abuse coming from her seemed diametrically opposed to the tough guy exterior we were supposed to believe she had. (See above pullquote.) This made it even more crucial to have seen some of her being the badass she's alleged to be, but because there was so much telling, I didn't believe any of it. Also, she calls him Gabriel Ross Sullivan 34 times (thank you, Kindle, for that search feature) which rivals Paper Towns for use of main characters full name, although there was actually a purpose for it in Paper Towns (idealizing Margo).
Sully was the typical possessive alpha male, making decisions for both of them without even telling Chaz after the fact until his deception is discovered. And we get the added bonus that he could completely violate her by entering her brain without her permission.
I really found the whole concept interesting, Ren was my favourite, I like the space surroundings, Chaz's snap bracelet dagger was the coolest, but the writing and worldbuilding were so subpar I couldn't get into it.
Finally, I like tea as much as the next girl, more probably, but do we really need to know EVERY SINGLE TIME SOMEBODY GETS A CUP OF TEA?! Maybe if there had been more character and world development instead of tea, I would have enjoyed this more...maybe...
Five down. That happened fast!
I love the feeling of finishing a book for VF Rewind and then going to watch the Vaginal Fantasy episode and being justified in my thoughts on the book. Also, always a bonus when the conversation moves to Labyrinth and prompts some "Dance Magic Dance" recitation.
In other news, I kind of miss the days when the ladies discussed both the main and the alt during the Hangout...
How much do you like tea? Enough to write a book and include 17,000 instances of your characters drinking it?