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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hero by Cheryl Brooks


Hero by Cheryl Brooks
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (366 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: Best Book
Review by: Xeranthemum

Raised on earth, Micayla is the last living Zetithian female. Typical of her species, she's aloof and uninterested in men—until she meets Trag, the Zetithian pilot for an intergalactic arms dealer and the sexiest, most irksome man she's ever met. Trag has sworn he'll never marry, unless he can find a Zetithian woman. Considering the odds, it's a safe bet, until he encounters Micayla. Fighting the enemies who are determined to wipe out the Zetithian race may be easier than convincing these hardheaded lovers that they were made for each other...

How do you know that you are falling in love when you don’t even understand what you are? Take two aliens from a destroyed planet with unknown mating rituals and watch what happens when they get together. It’s a comical challenge because they have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

This is the story of Trag. Even if a reader has never read any of the other stories in the Cat Star Chronicles or the one about his brother, Tychar, in Rogue, this book stands alone just fine. The only reason I’d recommend reading Tychar’s story is to understand the depths of loneliness that Trag endures. For this reason especially, Hero already has a certain warm spot in my heart.

Micayla is away from Earth for the first time. She doesn’t understand why her libido is dormant. She is just not interested in guys the way her friends are. She is awfully good at her job, however, and she takes pride in her efficiency. Sure, she’s often wondered why she looks a little different than her step-mom, but she had a great time growing up and she knows she’s loved. But something never felt quite right. Until one day the sighting of the back of a mysterious man sets her pulse pounding. How odd is that? For Micayla, very odd, and it's the beginning of her journey to finding out about herself and what makes a man interesting to her. Too bad when she finally meets him, she reacts to him with a vengeance. And not in a nice way. Personally, I found it very funny. His reaction is just as interesting because he’s perplexed, affronted and not a little bit hurt.

I liked Micayla. She’s clever, thinks well on her feet and when she calls someone friend, she stands by them.

Trag is a man who, by the choice of his friends, is termed an outlaw. He’s not really, but to certain planets he’s classified as one. So he has to be careful. He seeks solace from paid women, who never charge him because of his ‘talents’. Believe it or not, it’s a good thing he does, because it plays a key role later in the book. He’s a lonely man who has pretty much insured he’ll never get his own happily ever after because he wants what he can’t have – a Zetithian woman. The planet was destroyed with all souls lost and that’s pretty much how Trag feels – lost. There is a lot of heartfelt emotion in this story because of it. I wanted Trag to be happy especially when he’s surrounded by all his brethren, the last remaining Zetithians. Of them, he is the only one unmated, left out. The author did a wonderful job in reaching that part of me that wants to reach out and hug him.

Ms. Brooks was brilliant in her choice of conflict. Micayla and Trag both want one another but the mixed signals, the confusion, the hurt feelings stemming from so many unknowns about their innate instincts have them running around in circles. Compound the situation with mistakes and making erroneous assumptions and I wondered how in the world they’d come to realize they were falling in love. Some of their reactions and dialogue were hysterically funny, some were annoying and some just broke my heart.

If that conflict isn’t enough, readers finally find out who blew up the Zetithian home world in the first place. This is a major revelation with lots of intrigue, power plays and dastardly doings. The reason for it all only makes sense if the villain is crazy – which I think to be the truth. But the villain is crazy genius which makes it all the worse.

Secondary characters abound throughout the book. Many are ones that I’ve met previously in the series and a few are new. Honestly, this book was like a major homecoming with all the threads of their lives coming together to make a perfect romance tapestry. Hidar makes me giggle, Jack is still like Han Solo on estrogen, Lerotan looks like he might be serious about a single female, which was a shock, I got to visit Darconia again and those frisky guards which made me laugh, and I loved the part when Micayla threatened to tear off someone’s hairy donkey… well, I’ll let fellow readers laugh over that part. All in all, I’m simply amazed at the variety of people and the well-developed community they populate.

The dialogue is truly inspired at times throughout Hero. It was brisk, energetic, thought-provoking, true to character and had perfect comedic timing. I really got a feel for their personalities, their feelings and the ambience of the moment.

Hero is the best feel good story of the series, highlighted with sexual kick and a romance reminiscent of Tracy and Hepburn. The sparks flew and the pages flipped as I read at a furious clip. Hero joins a special club of keepers; books I will read again and again because the story is that well-written and the characters so well-loved. Cheryl Brooks is a consistent writer of quality romance with humor, heat and of characters that live on even after a reader has turned the last page. And that last page delivers a doozy of a final revelation. What fun!

1 comment:

diva donna said...

Xeranthemum!!! Woohoo!!! You're so right. I so loved this book. For all the reasons you mentioned above. Trag has had such a special place in my heart too since Rogue. I wanted to cry and scream at the same time. And he's so dang sexy to boot. I fell like a ton of bricks for Cheryl's writing and her Cat Star Chronicles. They're so entertaining. You do want to read them over and over. It is a great read.