Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

The universe isn't what it used to be. With the new Alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha "Sass" Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, biocybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten -- and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary winds up in their ship's sick bay -- and in the hands of her best friend, Dr. Eden Fynn -- Sass's efforts may be wasted.

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass's secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart -- and end Sass's career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the biocybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings . . . for Sass. Soon it's clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for -- and everything they now have to live for.

I recently had my own fun little impromptu Linnea Sinclair marathon where I read five of her books over approximately a week's time. I started reading Gabriel's Ghost during the Super Bowl (the book was WAY more interesting), continued on with Shades of Dark, Hope's Folly, The Accidental Goddess, and finished with my favorite of the bunch, Games of Command.

I don't usually enjoy space fiction as much as the other genres. If I can't wrap my mind around what's going on, i.e. can't picture the scenery or what the people might look like, I can't get into it all that much, and I'm a Star Trek geek! (Star Trek beats Star Wars any day btw.) Sometimes I find that sci-fi novels are just way too out there for me. Fortunately for book lovers everywhere, Linnea Sinclair knows how to write sci-fi, she knows how to write a great romance, and she knows how to mix them together. Games of Command is really two romances in one but the focus is on Tasha and Branden, a pair who couldn't be more different: a woman who grew up outside of the law with people, and by extension her, that Branden, a stuffed shirt if there ever was one, considers to be contemptible. (He doesn't know who she really is.) He is her commanding officer who comes off as cold and unfeeling and while this might be true in many ways since he is a cybernetic man (think: Terminator), when it comes to Tasha he's as hot as a star going supernova.

Branden is an admiral and as competent as they come. He's a fascinating dichotomy; inside, he's a man with loving feelings toward a woman and an unshakable sense of duty but on the outside he's a machine who has data ports in his arms and eyes that glow machine-bright when he's jacked into his computer. He requests Tasha to be his ship's captain at his first opportunity in an officer swap program created by the Alliance between Branden's Triad and Tasha's United Coalition, a request that amuses and scares Tasha. She subsequently spends a lot of her time on their ship trying to get under his skin by wearing sarcastic t-shirts and being friendly with her crew. This type of antagonism is not out of character for the span of their relationship, from pages 6-7:
   She gives the techie the order to open the comm and-for what will be the first of many times to come-hears the voice of Captain Kel-Paten. The Kel-Paten. But only his voice. Visual's out. In order for short-range scan to function at all, it has to be.
   "Sarna Bogue, this Captain Kel-Paten of the Vaxxar. Cut your drives immediately or you will be fired upon. Prepare to be boarded."
   With a nod to the chief, she seats herself in the command sling, takes a deep breath, and activates the comm mike: " Vaxxar, this is the Sarna Bogue. F--k you and the equinnard you rode in on. Sebastian out."

The secondary romance between Eden and Jace was complimentary to Tasha and Branden but held less appeal for me. Eden is the Vaxxar's CMO and Tasha's best friend; Jace is a rogue smuggler who is being hunted by Kel-Paten. Eden and Jace communicate mostly by telepathy which is generally verboten by their governments. (Telepaths are generally eradicated or modified in this universe.)

Games of Command was touching and funny with an absorbing story. The plot got a little crazy involving alternate realities but hey, pretty much anything goes with science fiction. If you're like me and love sci-fi, give this romance novel (and writer) a try. You won't be disappointed.


VampFanGirl said...

A blogger friend recommended this book to me and I had it on my Wish List for like a year I think before I scrapped it. I'm just not a sci-fi fan for every reason you pointed out. Buuuuut from your intriguing review, this book sounds like its heavy on the romance. Maybe I'll have to add it back on to the WL. I'll tell you one thing, I'm not likin' the new cover.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Jen said...

The yellow cover? Me, neither. I was surprised how much I liked this one esp. since it's a little longer than most - just over 500 pages! It went by pretty fast though.

Thanks for stopping by :)