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REVIEW: Children of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy

Dear Ms. Creasy

This is the sequel to Song of Scarabaeus and I definitely think that readers should read Song first. Children starts where the cliffhanger ending of Song stopped: our bio tech heroine, Edie Sha'nim, in desperate need of neuroxin, a toxic drug that her half Talasese heritage needs to stay alive. If Edie dies, so does her companion, Finn, who is attached to her via an invisible biological leach implanted by some enemies in book 1.

Children of Scarabaeus by Sara CreasyCat, a pilot, and Finn have hired a bounty hunter to obtain the drug and when he returns it is with a lifetime supply which sets off warning bells in Edie’s mind. There should not be such a supply of neuroxin outside of Talas, her home planet. But these concerns are shoved aside when the CRIB, the intergalactic power, descends on Cat, Finn and Edie.   Edie is even more necessary than ever when it is discovered that the galaxy is suffering a spreading famine.   CRIB military forces and the science forces are fighting over who is going to gain control over Edie and using Finn’s weakness toward Edie against her.

The moral message that humans shouldn’t interfere with the ecology   continues in a strong way in Children.   The extent of which this message is taken is one of the flaws of this book because I would have liked to have seen a more even handed treatment of the issue. A more even handed treatment would have provided more moral agnst for Edie, at least.

Like Song, Children is a book of adventure as Finn and Edie search for a way out of their leashed predicament and find peace. This book is more focused on idea of home, a microcosm, if you will. I’m not a big science fiction / fantasy reader and so maybe all those books juxtapose the “save the world adventure for the love of one” concept but I loved the idea of the underlying longing for Finn, Edie, and the others was the pursuit of a house by a stream with a dog and a field to tend. Finn relates the story of having a dog; another child grasps onto a handmade game; Edie is struck emotionally when she thinks of what it would feel like to call someone mother. These were not extravagant, grandiose visions, but simple dreams, the basis upon which universes are built.

Finn and Edie’s motivations have never been about saving the world, although Edie’s feelings evolves over time. Finn, for example, joined freedom fighters because of a woman. At a very young age, Finn got caught up in the rhetoric of those who were to fight against the Crib. Edie really just wanted to belong to something and someone.

I found Children to be much more romantic than Song. Finn’s emotions were more accessible and more of the conflict was about their impediments to truly being together, one of which was the leash between them. Edie’s high emotions would provide painful biofeedback to Finn thus even arousal became a barrier to true togetherness.

I did think that Children was more predictable than Song. I guessed right a number of times as to what would happen next or what the secrets were in this one whereas Song was much more a mystery. I’m not sure if I had caught on to the rhythm of the writing by that time or the outcomes were simply more pat.

The ending was satisfyingly romantic for this romance reader and it’s a series I feel confident in recommending to die hard HEA fans. I understand that there are no future books planned in this series so I appreciate that you tied up a number of loose ends while still leaving it open for Finn and Edie to have further adventures. I don’t know what you will be writing in the future, but I am definitely not ready to leave Finn and Edie behind. B

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. Kati
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 14:43:03

    *SIGH* You’ve said such good things about these books, Jane. But I’m just not a UF/Sci-Fi girl usually. I’m so torn about whether to read them or not. This review is not helping my confusion. :)

  2. helen
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 15:20:14

    Kati,
    Try them try them!!!!! My friends all tell me I am such a pusher…I love to share my love of good books and these two are very good. If you are new to sci-fi romance or have tried it in the past and have not liked it you might want to try lighter fare first and build up to it a bit. I always recommend The Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair because the romance is by far the stand out part of that book. Her other books are excellent as well with a much stronger focus on the romance than the science fiction aspects. I agree with Jane on Sara Creasy’s books. The first book does a lot of the concept and world building and the 2nd book was much more character and relationship driven. Really liked them both. I’d probably rate them more towards A than B though.

  3. Liz M
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 16:35:05

    “These were not extravagant, grandiose visions, but simple dreams, the basis upon which universes are built.”

    This is such a lovely idea, Jane; your review has made me look forward to the book even more.

  4. sarah mayberry
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 18:31:54

    I haven’t read an enormous amount of sci-fi, but the mind link thing reminds me a little of Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Sang. There’s a really poignant love relationship in those books because the ship (spaceship) is literally the heroine’s body, since she was born with congenital problems and wired into the electronics of the special spaceship, effectively becoming one with the machine. The man who acts as her arms and legs (her “brawn”) becomes very connected to her – but it’s an emotional connection that can never be physically consummated. As I said, poignant. I will be reading these two Sarah Creasy books when I am off deadline.

  5. Abigail Strom
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 19:37:54

    @Sarah Mayberry – I haven’t read The Ship Who Sang for years…it’s nice to be reminded of it. I was a teenager when I read that book, so of course it made a big impression. I have a visceral memory of Helva’s longing for intimacy and Niall’s longing for her. Is it safe to say that Anne McCaffrey was the first sci fi romance writer, or did someone else get there first?

    This review has made me excited to read Sara Creasy’s books. Thank you, Jane!

  6. Andrea K Host
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 20:07:42

    She’s certainly one of the earliest. Another really early one is Jacqueline Lichtenberg, who wrote the Sime-Gen novels. It’s been years since I read them, but they’re very intense romances, and I noticed that they’d recently been re-released in Kindle format. I think House of Zeor is the first in the series…

    http://www.goodreads.com/series/52388

  7. sarah mayberry
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 21:34:39

    Thanks for the link to the Sime-Gen books, Andrea. They look good. I’m feeling a little Sci-Fi pig out coming on…

    And yes, Abigail, Anne McCaffrey was always big on romance. I read Dragonflight again recently – still love it – and was thinking about delving into Restoree again, too. For some reason, I can never get Restoree out of my head.

  8. helen
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 21:34:44

    @Abigail Strom:
    No it was Cynthia Felice (Water Witch-awesome SFR for it’s time) and Ann Maxwell!!!(1986 ish with Timeshadow Rider and a host of other wonderful SFR) There was some SFR/Bondage/Barbarian thing going on with the Sharon Green as well during this time period. Ah those were good times.
    Edited-
    You know what you are right! I had thought the Ship who Sang was an 80′s book but I just checked and it was written in 69. Holy smokes!

  9. SonomaLass
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 01:12:53

    Good review, Jane; thanks. I’m very much looking forward to this book.

    Ah, the Sime-Gen books! Early wonderful speculative romance. I read them from the library as a teen, and then spent serious time and money collecting my own set, used, in my 30s. Anne McCaffrey was another huge author for me, along with MZB’s Darkover books. Serious nostalgia.

  10. AMG
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 09:40:17

    If you want to know more about the history of Sci-fi romance, check out the blog http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net

    There’s a facinating list of author’s through the decades who fit the bill.

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  12. MaryK
    Apr 14, 2011 @ 00:33:53

    @sarah mayberry:

    For some reason, I can never get Restoree out of my head.

    Because it’s a great book. :) Have you read The Coelura? Also a great book but much too short.

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