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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Abducting Alice by Angela Castle



Abducting Alice by Angela Castle
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (111 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Buttercup

For someone who thinks rocks are more interesting than men, geologist Alice is proven how very wrong she is.

When a probe crashes to Earth near a dig site, Alice Clarkson thinks she has hit the jackpot of her gem collecting career finding a real life meteor to add to her collection. But this is no mere meteor. It’s an alien probe designed to capture life; specifically female life.

Abducted and placed on sale in an alien slave market. Alice soon discovers the pleasures of being a captive in the arms of the sexiest alien man she’s ever laid eyes on.

Kerr, high commander of Kelon warriors raids a slaver station only to find a small human treasure he want to keep as his own.

When you look up at the stars at night, do you ever wonder what might be looking back at you? Alice didn't; all she wanted was someone to share the view with. But as they say be careful what you wish for, you might just get everything you never knew you wanted. While a woman getting abducted by aliens for breeding purposes and falling in love with her rescuer is not an unfamiliar storyline, Ms. Castle deftly avoids most of the pitfalls that accompany using such a well known plot, leaving the reader with a book that is familiar but not cliched, and with enough twists to keep if from being predictable.

Alice is not your typical heroine, she is undoubtedly smart and independent but she almost seems a bit aloof, rather lacking in passion preferring her rocks to people. Nothing is directly said but the impression is given that she has been hurt in the past and to compensate she throws herself into her work rather than deal with people and their possible rejection of her. Of course it takes being abducted by aliens, put up for auction as a sexual slave, being simultaneously rescued and abducted by another, much better looking, alien for her to realize that there are worse things in life than rejection. And when she meets Kerr it becomes all to obvious that Alice isn't lacking in passion she simply needed to meet someone who was worth being passionate about. While my more cynical nature screamed Stockholm Syndrome when Alice professed love for Kerr after such a short time, there is no doubting the depth of Kerr's passion or feelings for Alice and later her feelings for Kerr.

When Alice first meets Kerr she mistakes his eyes for pure black, only finding out later that they have glints of light in them resembling a starry night. I love this detail probably as much as Alice seems to. It reminds me of the quote from Nietzsche "When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you." Kerr is a warrior and a pilot he has spent many nights out among the stars staring into the abyss of space and having it stare back at him. The romantic part of my brain would like to think that long ago there was a warrior not unlike Kerr, the first of the Kelon race, who would also stare into the abyss of space giving a little of himself and so space gave a little of itself to the Kelon people.

The Methrill, the race of aliens who abducted Alice, are really an interesting study. The fact that they abducted Alice and were planning on selling her to the highest bidder immediately paints them as the villains, but the more I thought about it the less convinced I became that they were. The Methrill, although far from good, are more pragmatic than villainous. They are traders by nature, and as such are always on the lookout for what is needed, and currently what is needed is females with breeding capabilities. The fact that Earth is a thus-far untapped source for breedable females, will make them a lot of money and that is what they care about. When their treatment of and behavior towards Alice is examined it is easy to see that she is only a commodity to them. They are not nice to her but they are also not abusive. They answer just enough of her questions to keep her relatively calm, and although they did perform a rather invasive bodily examination they did this while she was unconscious, and ensured that she woke without pain. From the Methrill's perspective having an exotic creature like Alice will bring in a small fortune, but it is still preferable to have one that is subdued rather than a hysterical one.

The only real problem with this story is the inclusion of an often used device that every female is familiar with and, if they are anything like me, really dislike: the moment when the heroine runs off into an obvious trap without telling anyone where she is going, under the pretence of saving the man she loves. I am sad to say that there is such a moment in this book, but like so many other moments in this story there is a delightful twist. Ms. Castle takes what could be a horribly cliched moment and uses it to not only let Alice learn the truth, but to let her stand on her own and fight for herself, for what she wants, for the life she has found.

Abducting Alice is a fun read full of unusual characters, and the unlikeliest of events, like a wife getting along with her mother-in-law. Ms. Castle has provided a great remedy to a rainy afternoon.

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