In 2105 there was the great migration when billions of people left Earth to make their home among the stars. Since then, there has been little contact between the Terrans, those who remained on Earth, and the star dwellers, who formed the Galactic Core Coalition (GCC). In 2452, Sophia 'Sam' McLaren, was content to let it stay that way. She knew that she could never be happy in space, where people didn't like to have connections to the land and had strange rules and traditions. But there was her brother, Martin 'Mart' McLaren, to consider. He was 18, but, due to his having Beta-Siwinski Disease, he had episodes where he acted like a child or went into a coma-like state. When Fredd Desilva first showed up in Greater Missouri with his offer to travel to Xaspaar, the home planet of the GCC, Sam rejected his offer immediately - until she discovered that Mart could be cured there.
Before she knew it, Sam was in a spaceship, sicker than a dog, on her way to the far distant planet of Xaspaar. There she discovered that it was against the law to have long hair, daily refreshment breaks included food and sex, so-called primitive prejudices still existed among the different races of aliens, and citizens could not leave the city to view the countryside. Sam felt stifled and confused with all of the new city rules and JorVaal 5 Lanquist, the premier GCC leader, wasn't helping her any! When she requested a moment of JorVaal's time, he thought she wanted to share his bed! With one misunderstanding happening after another, Sam didn't think she would ever be able to get on JorVaal's good side. Trying to convince herself that she didn't care if JorVaal liked her or not, since long-term marriages didn't exist on Xaspaar anyway, Sam tried to focus on the problems at hand - keeping her brother under control and trying to figure out why the unsettling Uortzks, the previously dominant species in that sector of space, were sabotaging their own sun...
I was really excited to read this book at first, as I love space opera and think that it is great to have a romantic subplot to a fine science fiction plot, but this book went downhill when Sam arrived on Xaspaar. The author lost all sense of the science fiction story and pushed that plot far to the side as she focused entirely on the romance between Sam and JorVaal. This wouldn't have been so bad if it was a good romance, but it was one of those sappy romance stories where the two people are stubborn and stupid and refuse to talk or see anything outside of their own point of view. They keep having the same arguments over and over again, without ever making any progress and then, suddenly, at the end, all of these compromises and concessions are made and they live happily ever after. Right. Anyway, the author did get points for creating a new world and populating it with some interesting aliens, of which I would have enjoyed reading a lot more about, and there was a rather interesting sabotage story running underneath it all, but the author gave it away too early in the story for there to be any real mystery. Still, the book was well written and the author had some nice descriptions, I would like to see her write something that stretches her talents and calls for more than just a tepid sci-fi/romance.
This report prepared by Debbie