Review: Rebecca Cohen – Under Glass

under glassAuthor
: Rebecca Cohen
Reviewer: Vivian
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Genre: M/M Sci Fi
ISBN: 9781634760416

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Creating planets and guarding the stars leaves novice planet builder Kai Faewiva lonely. For members of Kai’s species who are born with an organ called a caerellon, their true love, their Sun or Moon, is identified at birth. But the novices are people who have lost their perfect love, and Kai’s Sun is long dead, killed in an accident when he was five years old. Or so everyone thought.

After recovering from another bout of the unidentified illness he has battled for years, Kai returns to work. But his quiet day at the planetarium is thrown into chaos when scans of Goka Prime, one of the planets in the Sol-Alpha2 system, picks up a life-form that shouldn’t be there. Kai’s Sun, Oliver Gyin, is alive and well, but how he got to be on Goka Prime, no one knows. Now he needs to be brought home.

Ollie has lived most of his life in the City of Harrea, never guessing he is from another planet. Surprised to find a stranger means the world to him, Ollie wrestles with his loyalties and the drive to return with Kai. To leave Goka Prime, he must give up everything and everyone he knows. But twenty years apart means Kai and Ollie face a fight to secure their destined future.
Destined love, soulmate or trapped? Depends on your perspective.

Wanted to love this more than I did. I admit it, I’m a scifi junkie. So I can be both generous and hard-nosed when it comes to them. It’s really not as oxymoronic as it sounds. But, there’s one thing I want from a scifi story and that is to be entertained. I’m looking for escapism here or I wouldn’t be seeking out aliens and other worlds.

This book, entertaining. The premise of a race of planet creators and a soul bond–Win. You got me, let’s go. And to be fair, the story itself is good. There’s a couple places where I disagreed with characters’ choices and gave a squinty eye, but that wasn’t my main disconnect. My beef: the world-building.

Numerous similes and analogies to contemporary Earth breaks the scifi illusion. These are planet creators, near deities, and while I conceptually understand the “humanized” superior being, it kind of detracts from the otherworldliness. They were too primitive. Then, I was tripped up at the beginning by the science, just don’t try to explain where the mass goes when they transform. It was quasi-resolved later in the story. Came across as deus ex machina, but they’re god-like creators so I suppose they’re entitled to it.

Okay, so maybe I’m a bit uptight in the setting. My personal preference in science fiction is action, so this was a bit slow in spots. This is a character/relationship development story rather than an action driven one. And I had a few quibbles with characters’ actions and plot.

Ollie’s insistence on a deep relationship with Rica without a stronger basis doesn’t make sense. I guess we’re suppose to believe that it is his inherent nature as a sun that makes him try to seek the pair bond, but it just doesn’t come across.

Even when they commit, there’s a seesawing back and forth, and Ollie’s careless tongue cuts deep. Not even going to speculate why a society that has bonded pairs doesn’t think mandatory pair counseling is a good idea in addition to individual therapy.

Finally, there are some lovely nods towards sun/moon mythologies and creation tales, which I really enjoyed.

Overall, a hurt/comfort tale of how to repair a torn soul bond.

Favorite quote:

I believe you love me, Ollie, but that’s not the same as me being what you most desire.



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