Keep up with the addict

bookmarked: Away Team

Be forewarned! This book borders on erotica; so, naturally, I touch on the subject in my review. There’s nothing vulgar in the review. I promise. If you think you might be offended by this, though, don’t read it!

Away Team Cover

Title: Away Team
Series: Starship Cadet Missions::#1
Author: Mark Alders
Format: Kindle eBook
Overall rating: 3 (out of 5)

My first thought regarding how to sum up this novel was to describe it as a “scifi lite, erotica heavy” space opera. Away Team is most definitely a melodramatic romance (as in the literary genre of heroic adventure tales, although there is plenty of the other stuff too) set in space; hence, I think that the term space opera is a fitting label.

Upon reflection, though, I think that “scifi lite” is not really a fair description. The scifi concepts (like photosensitive, self-repairing [possibly living?!] ship building materials and virus-inspired attack strategies) put forth by Alders are interesting; but ultimately they’re not explored as in depth as I would like. The presentation of these ideas felt a bit shallow; the inspiration was there but the explanation wasn’t. In-depth world building may be a bit much to ask for in such a short novel, though. Perhaps the series will flesh out some of these concepts as it progresses, brining the scifi aspects on par with the erotic ones.

Which brings us to the “erotica heavy” monicker. I still think this is a pretty apt description. Although, I’m also led to believe by other reviewers and descriptions of Alders’s other works that this novel might be a little on the “erotica lite” side for Alders… I thought the sex scenes were written well, dancing the line between sensually romantic and all-out pornographic, although there were a few inexplicable anomalies (such as going numb from the waist down during sex being somehow construed as a pleasurable thing…) and some personally annoying vague anatomy references (“his warmth” topping my list). All said, sex took up about half of the text, not that I’m saying this is a negative thing; however, this is pretty “erotica heavy” to me.

There were a few other minor annoyances:

  1. The military aspects of Away Team were a bit on the generic side. For instance, the cadets filled out stereotypical military roles such as the geeky science officer, the cocky pilot and the physically-oriented commander. Also, I’m not sure that kissing in a high pressure situation as a bonding experience is a typical military activity…
  2. Awkward time transitions were also a problem. There were plenty of times that hours or even days passed from one paragraph to the next, without so much as a transitional word or sentence. On the other extreme, some chapter breaks took place in the middle of a single continuous scene.
  3. Unbelievable love-at-first-sight – I’m not a big fan.
  4. The name Sonny rubs be the wrong way… Every time I came across it, Sonny and Cher popped into my head. It was unfortunate.
  5. I’d bet my left nut that I don’t need to elaborate on this point. [Hint: read the book!]

Then there was the biggest annoyance of all:

Good god, where was the editor?! Away Team was riddled with grammatical errors and typos, ones that cannot be explained away by Alders’s Australian origins. They are not Aussie-isms; they’re just plain wrong. There’s nothing like grammatical errors and typos to take you right out of what would otherwise be fast-paced action, sexual or otherwise. Mark, if you’re reading this, have that conversation with your editor; he/she really fell down on this one. I’d be more than happy to make edits if you want to send me the text. For each red mark, you can deduct a percentage from your editor’s fees for your next book… It could save you a lot of money.

So, wow, it seems like I went a bit overboard on the negatives there for awarding a three star review. The truth is though, I did like this book and will most definitely be checking out future installments in the series as well as Alders’s other works. Most of the negative aspects were born out of personal pet peeves and not horrendous writing. Ultimately, Alders has created endearing main characters who are involved in a realistic feeling relationship (albeit with a somewhat unrealistic but enjoyable sex life) and space adventures. I’ve fallen in love with Ely and Emerson and, really, what reader could ask for more than that?

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