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Saving Grace (Grace’s Moon Book 1) #BookReview

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3-Stars

3-Stars

 

I was given this book for free as a Read-for-Review offer. I haven’t been given any money or other form of compensation to write this review.

Let me start by saying that while I gave this book only 3-Stars, it’s not horrible or unreadable. I would only recommend it to a fairly narrow field of readers, but it’s not bad. And in case you don’t get through this whole review, I’ll tell you now that I will be reading the next book because this one was good enough to make me want to find out what happens next.

Here’s what’s good about it. Merry Farmer is good writer and she has thought of a good overall plot for her story. Her scenes, for the most part, have a good flow to them and are easy to follow. And there you have the good parts.

When I write my reviews, I tend to be short on the good and long on the bad. Even when I really enjoy a book, I tend to not go into detail about what I liked. I find it difficult to discuss what I really enjoyed, I just want you to go read it so we can talk about it together later and compare notes. But when I don’t like something, it’s easier for me to voice those issues. That being said…

I don’t think Merry does a good job of writing her male characters. I recently wrote a review about Fluency and felt the same way about that author. If the men are being neutral or feminine in their actions, the scene is written well. But any scene in which the men are being manly men and acting with testosterone, the scene is lost and the men are written horribly. And the problem is, there are a lot of scenes in which the men are being gruff, and the scenes were difficult to get through. I noticed at the back of the book the author is described as writing female science fiction, I think that is part of the problem. First off, what is female science fiction? Maybe to say Romantic Science Fiction would be better off. But this book is definitely in a category that is for women who generally read steamy romance novels and maybe want to branch out into space for their next story line.

The next major hurdle is the way the story is parsed out. You start with the action scene of the ship crashing and then you get to know a few of the characters. Then, as you read, certain things pop up that you have no idea why they are there. Then there are flashbacks and you slowly start to understand why those other elements were in place. But that doesn’t help me at all to understand what is going on as I’m reading.

For instance, one of the main characters is a geneticist and several of the characters hate him because of that. Why? You don’t find out until two-thirds of the way through and by then, you don’t care anymore. Oh Grace, stay away from him, he’s a geneticist. Why?! Then at one point, a character pops up and every one is like, oh my God, it’s Kutroski! And then you’re like, so what?! And they keep talking about it and you have no idea why until very late in the book. It was so frustrating to not know what everyone else knew and what made them form their opinions of everyone else. It should have been chapter one, then all of the flashbacks together, then the story. At least then I could have cared about what they cared about. That one main change would have elevated this book to 4-Stars for me.

Those are where my two stars went, poor writing for the male characters and poor arrangement of the story elements.

Now, let me get nitpicky. First off, there is an explosion in space and the emergency escape craft is rocked in the shock wave. This is sci-fi 101, space is a vacuum and cannot create shock waves. Atmospheres or other mediums are needed for overpressure to flow through and create shockwaves. Okay, even JJ Abrams screwed this up in his first Star Trek movie, but I hate small stuff like that.

Secondly, they land on a moon that is comparable to Earth in most ways. atmosphere, water, ground composition, etcetera. Okay, I can buy that. With all of the discoveries we’ve made so far about the types of planetary bodies there are in our galaxy alone, it’s plausible. However, and this is a big however, the moon also has birds, insects, fish, wool-like producing animals. There is even a large predatory cat that looks like something from Earth and the thing even purrs. Really?! Because while Earth-like planets and even moons are plausible, to say that one of these formations also followed the nearly exact same evolutionary pattern that we did – well that’s insane.

With the change of even one minor variable, our planet could eventually have been populated with intelligent dinosaurs or fish. The birds could have evolved into the dominant species. So to think that this other rock in the galaxy has life forms that are all analogous to an Earth creature is just too much.

My last nitpick is the sub-plot. I really did like the main plot. A group of colonists crash somewhere other than their destination. Due to the circumstances, there will be no rescue and they will need to live out their lives on the moon and try to create a civilization. There are three factions on the moon, each with their own internal issues and issues with each other. Cool. I like the basic idea.

But then the sub-plot that explains why people hate the geneticist and what the real mission was, is ludicrous. I won’t tell you what it is because it’s a spoiler, though to be honest, the spoiler would make you enjoy the first part of the book much more because then at least you’d know what the big deal was about the geneticist. But, the sub-plot is economically, scientifically and logistically ridiculous given the explanation of why it’s there. There would be so many better ways to accomplish their goal than to do what they did.

So in the end, even with the negative things I noted, I thought the overall story was enjoyable. If the author could rearrange the flashbacks to give the reader more information up front, I think it would be even more enjoyable. If she can work on her manly side and write male characters that aren’t all chest-thumping grunting stereotypes who ALL look at Grace with “predatory” eyes, then it would be even better. In fact, with those two things fixed, I wouldn’t have felt the need to even bring up the nitpicky stuff. I will read the second book because the plot is good enough that I want to find out what happens next and the bad parts aren’t bad enough to keep me from finding out.

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P.S.

My books are professionally edited but my reviews and other posts aren’t :)

@TheGuyWriting

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