A very short book.
This book reminded me in many ways of many kids/YA books Ive read about young people making first contact with an alien species. (Andre Nortons, for example). A young teenager on a colony world, fleeing a bully, stumbles into a cave and finds an alien city. Issues with the bully get resolved, the adults get called in, and positive aspects should come out of this for all.
The radical elements here are that the colony world in question is really a criminal world, bootlegging illegal drugs (an issue that is brought up but never really discussed), and that there are a couple of sexually explicit scenes (which have caused other reviewers to go so far as to call the book soft-core porn.) Its not. The scenes arent even that explicit, and arent inappropriate, age-wise, for young teens, either. Its just that theres a definite disconnect between the content, and the style of the language in which the book is written. Theres a very juvenile feel to the writing especially when alien words are stuff like bink bink boo bootah. So more mature content, when it arrives, feels very jarring.
Interesting, but not Nina Kirikis Hoffmans best (or most original) work.
oh Nina, what did you do wrong?? you're one of my favorite authors, and have never ever let me down in such a way. Maybe you should lay off the Science Fiction. It's not that it's a bad book, as such, but it doesn't feel very enriching, nor complete. it just sort of ends, without much in the way of anything interesting happening. the characters are okay, but i found myself frustrated with most of their naivete. hopefully the next book is better.
Ow, ow, ow! My eyes are burning. This is probable not the worst book I've ever read; it's the fact that it was written by Nina Kiriki Hoffman that makes it so painful. NKH, you are totally grounded and no desserts ever again! There's an interesting concept of alien-human contact buried somewhere in the repulsive characters and repulsive relationships in this story, but who could care when I've gone blind in disappointment.
I normally am a huge fan of Nina Kiriki Hoffman's books. Not this one. Very disappointing. I kept waiting for that lush warmth that her books seem to radiate, even while writing about difficult subject matter. Nope. Uncomfortable. Sexual in a strange cringing way.