Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Title: Touched by an Alien
Series: Katherine “Kitty” Kat, Book 1
Author: Gini Koch
Publisher: Daw Books
Length: 400 Pages
Publication Date: April 6, 2010
Reviewed Format: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle Edition, eBook
Source: Bought
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
Get it @: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Book Description:

How can a sexy marketing manager join forces with an Alpha Centauri male in Armani to save the planet-using hairspray, a Mont Blanc pen, and rock n' roll?

She's Touched by an Alien

Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the "agency" to perform crowd control. He's Kitty's kind of guy, no matter what planet he's from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

Some background required

This book was a challenge pick thanks to the ladies at Gotta Have Paranormal with a Kick. The challenge (a sort of secret Santa) was to choose three books that you know you enjoyed and hide them under a spoiler tag. After submissions closed, every individual was assign a number, the numbers where scrambled (so that none of us had our own selections) and the number stealing began. After everyone had “stole” a different number the books where revealed. I ended up with these three selections:

Since I already plan on reading Gena Showalter’s books, and after reading all the descriptions of every first book of all three series, I went with the one that was a complete unknown to me but that it still hooked me. As per the rules, I grabbed book 1 on the series.

Back to the review

The book started with quite a bang in the short prologue and first chapter. That was all I needed to know that I was hooked to the story. That opening scene was incredible. But as the story progresses it becomes an information-dump-fest. More or less the first 65% of the book centers on delineating the world and its rules. It specifically centers on the creation of the alien world and lore. It’s needed; the author is building the world, setting the laws that will rule the story arc; this is book 1 after all, the foundation needs to be set. However, there is so much explanation compared to the action ratio that it drags at times.

I guess I should thank my penchant for finishing stories, as I’m glad I stuck around through the very end. Once the rules are set and the action starts to take over the story becomes engaging enough that I rarely put the kindle down. Now, the story has many, and I mean many, clichés. And enough pop culture references within its pages that I felt like I was going through an episode of the Gilmores Girls tailor made for Roswell lovers. Then again, I do love both shows ^.^

One thing that did bug me is that the main character is your typical almighty heroine; let me explain. Here we have Kitty (Katherine “Kitty” Katt, yup! that’s her name), who has live a normal, average life, she witnesses an argument turned deadly that triggers the ever present fight or flight instinct; she chooses to stay and fight. Now, I have no problems with that, I love my characters strong, kick ass and willing to stand up for what its right. This reaction throws her head first into the hands and world of aliens which is the reason for our story (and again, opening scene rocks).

Now my problem –and I will try to explain it as best as I can without giving away any major plot point– is that Kitty is a human civilian that ends up dealing with aliens and “superbeings.” She has no clue as to what is going on, nor she knows how to truly engage in the situation, yet she is somehow the only one with all the answers. This alien race is far more advanced than ours in many ways, including technologically and evolutionary. However, they have no way to stop the bad guys (bad guys which they have been fighting for years) regardless of the fact that they have the best of the best among them. Okay I can buy this, it can happen, just because they are more advanced doesn’t mean they are infallible. However, Kitty is the only one that can resolve every situation. Also, when she is not taking everything in strides, as if her world hasn’t been completely upended, without so much as blink; she is breaking down and crying like she is witnessing the Armageddon. She jumps back and forth between both extremes most of the book with a few instances where she is in “balance” of the emotional scale.

The rest of the characters are fun to watch, some of them bringing more than one WTF moment. There is a play for a love triangle. Now, I hate love triangles in general; I think they have been run to the ground extensively. That said, if I wore hats (which I never do) I’ll be tipping them to the author, the love triangle was so crafty, simple and kind of short, that I actually enjoyed the craziness that it ensued rather than being annoyed by it.

The bottom lines? I enjoyed the story, enough that will continue the series, but I will not jump right into book 2 at the moment. It’s good entertainment, the kind of book that one tucks into a bag or keeps on the kindle specifically for those times that you know you will be waiting for long periods of time. I mean, I did begin reading this book at the doctor’s office while waiting for my sister’s turn to get vaccinated. And if you add up my time reading it (ignoring the normal breaks one take), it took me about a day to finish it; so in all, a good read.

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