Thursday, 30 August 2012

Book Review: The System by Heather Lin

Title: The System
Author: Heather Lin
Release Date: 11 August 2012
Number of pages: 177 pages
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Source: ebook provided by author
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: Capri is an alluring young prostitute with a painful past; Brody is a ruthless mercenary running with a crew of thieves who live on a spaceship called Gypsy Lass. When he enters her brothel, the attraction between them is instant, electric, and too much for him to handle. He leaves unsatisfied, never wanting to see the girl again for fear she might soften his hard heart.

But Brody's captain has other ideas. The crew attempts to rob the brothel, and when things don’t go quite as planned, they take Capri hostage, forcing her and Brody to remain in close quarters until they see fit to drop her on another planet.

But Capri's plight and the intense feelings between her and Brody turn out to be the least of their problems. Together--whether they like it or not--they uncover realizations not only about themselves but also about the world they live in.

My Thoughts: Though I'm still quite the sci-fi newbie when I read the above blurb of The System my interest was piqued, but I never would have thought The System would remind me so much of the setting of Joss Whedon's Firefly, so if you are a fan of the series you absolutely have to pick up The System and experience the journey Heather Lin will take you on.

The System is an action packed, thrilling story, where neither the characters nor the reader get one minute break, there is always something happening, danger lurking, some accident befalling the characters, so be prepared that your pulse will race and your nails won't survive the adventure intact. But wellbeing of nails aside this was a terrific and exciting story.

Through Heather Lin's writing the scenes and settings took shape and I had absolutely no problem picturing them. Although Heather Lin gave us a short summary of how the world and society came to be the way it is in the universe of The System, there were only mentions of some of the technological achievements (how cars are floating, people read books via their thin screen-like "readers", etc.) and I would have gladly seen more of those differences which made this future world more modern.

Besides the constant action taking place, The System is also a love story. Though not your usual kind of romance: here the hero is kind of rough, at times even rude, there is no gentle wooing and no romantic lovemaking but don't mistakenly think that due to the lack of these normal ingredients of romance The System falls short, because it does not. The intensity, the gritty setting emphasizes those moments when two people's eyes meet and you feel through that heartbeat that there is more to that look, that there is a connection, something deeper than can be seen on the surface.

Capri is not your usual heroine: she is working as a prostitute in a brothel and until the brothel is raided she even seems to be enjoying her life there: the comfort, the riches, the easy life. But once she experiences life on the Gypsy Lass, how it feels to have friends, to be part of a team and have people count on her she starts to feel what it's like to belong.

There, she'd felt more like a useful doll, made to look pretty and provide pleasure, even taking pride in it. But she'd never felt exactly human, exactly herself. Here, even though she was trapped on this hard, metal ship, she somehow felt freer.

I think the way she adopted to this riskier, adventurous new life was quite admirable of her. She never whined, she truly wanted to prove herself to the team that she could be a full fledged member of their crew. I found Capri a great heroine, while being soft and feminine she had strength and backbone, dignity.

Brody is a complex and (both physically and emotionally) scarred man. Though he tries to scare Capri away because as he constantly tells her he isn't a good man (and also because the emerging emotions he feels for her scare him too much), he just can't fight his protectiveness when it comes to her:

He wanted to protect her. Always. He needed to feel her, smell her, know she was safe. He didn't allow himself to feel afraid, to have that weakness. So instead of admitting how scared he was of losing her, he remained angry at the thought, angry at all the bastards on the planet who had ever looked at her wrong, angry at everything. But he needed to keep himself in check. It would be much easier to keep her safe if she wanted to be around him.
Then he held her, listened to her shaky breathing, and felt her speedy heartbeat. And somewhere along the way, he finally gave in. He wasn't strong enough to push her away. He just hoped he'd be strong enough to keep her alive and whole.

Their romance is not an easy one. Neither of them had an easy life, both had lost loved ones, lived through rough times. Brody is a man's man: not the touchy-feely, talking about his emotions kind of man. He has a hard time facing and accepting his feelings for Capri, and through his realization he is at times rude, hurtful and even at times a jerk. But he is a complex character and I think the way Heather Lin drew his personality the reader gets why he is acting the way he does and we can even overlook some of his transgressions.

Verdict: The System is a thrilling, action packed sci-fi romance fans of Firefly will adore. It will keep you at the edge of your seat and make you chew off your nails while reading through the characters' exciting adventures. I really hope this is part of a series and we'll see the crew of the Gypsy Lass again!

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
Cover: 9/10 - suits the story perfectly

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