Saturday, August 18, 2012

Switched, Too by Diane Burton

Be careful what you wish for… You might get it.

Down-sized astronaut candidate Scott Cherella leaps at the chance to go into space. He just has to pretend to be the captain of an Alliance of Planets starship. His lifelong dream quickly becomes a nightmare when sabotage erupts. To save the ship and crew he has to depend on an uptight, disapproving colleague.

The only time Veronese Qilana broke the rules, tragedy resulted. She vowed never again. Now, to protect the real starship captain, she'll have to deceive the crew by helping the imposter. They must work together to uncover a saboteur and get the crew safely home. In doing so, they discover opposites really do attract.

I really enjoyed this book and I want to recommend it.  I agonized over how many roses to give it, because it is basically Star Trek fan fiction.  Ms. Burton tried to separate it from fan fiction by calling her collection of planets the Alliance and throwing in a lot of references to Star Trek, like comparing Serenians to Vulcans and such, but the even though the Freedom hails from the Andromeda galaxy, the crew attended Space Fleet Academy, they have a non-interference rule (the Prime Directive), are all humanoid in appearance, and they have a universal translator—although this one is implanted behind their ears and looks like a mole.  Even their computers have a sexy female voice a la Majel Barret Roddenberry.  The ship has been orbiting Earth monitoring Terran broadcasts and the chief engineer is a Star Trek fan who emulates Commander Scott’s accent.  (How is it that Serenians from Andromeda have given people from Earth a name that comes from ancient Rome?)

Fortunately, I’m a Star Trek fan and I don’t mind reading fan fiction if it’s well written.  My only objection to Ms. Burton’s book is that she didn’t file off the serial numbers well enough to separate this story from Gene Roddenberry’s universe.  I would suggest that Ms. Burton either write straight-up fan fic or remove these similarities.

In terms of characterization and plot, the characters were well-rounded and the plot was fast-paced and pulled me in right from the beginning.  This book is part of a trilogy and stood well enough on its own until the cliff-hanger ending.  Oh, yes—it has the kind of ending that means you have to buy the next book to see how it turns out, and no warning at the beginning that it’s part of a serial.  I do want to go back and buy the first book and of course I have to get the third.  So, if you’re a Star Trek fan and you don’t mind waiting for the next book to see how the story ends, then I recommend this book.

Length:  499 Pages
Price:  $3.99

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