Book Review: Lana's Comet by Lyn Brittan
The time and place
Saturn's moon Titan, several hundred years after our present
The suspension of disbelief
Humanity has advanced to space travel within the solar system, and we've been able to terraform several planets and moons. Also, we created a race of engineered emotionless clones which didn't work out so well.
The quick summary
Dr. Lana meets Cyprus, a surly but appealing OSA officer shortly before her training, and they agree to meet later for a date. Unfortunately, she's a new recruit under his supervision, and he is brutal to his trainees. There go those fun plans. He's mystified by Lana, as she's an older than average recruit who's an ex-Corp (Meash Corp) employee and a doctor with excellent credentials. She could be making a lot more money elsewhere. They get closer as he attempts to figure out her secrets and hijinks of several kinds ensue.
Lana and Cyprus make sparks fly. The opening scene establishes Cyprus as someone who needs an attitude adjustment. He's grumpy, prejudiced, conceited, and did I mention grumpy? He believes in tough love and says some hilariously terrible things to people because he cares about them. Lana picks up on this and calls him on his bullshit. As for Lana, she's always asking questions which get her in trouble. She covers up her fears with snark, and she doesn't lose her cool in a crisis. Lana challenges Cyprus, which is good for him, and he rewards her trust, believing in her veracity and conviction.
There's an interesting twist on racism in this book. Lana is dark-skinned, and mentions that it would have been a problem in Earth's past. Cyprus is blonde and blue-eyed, but of noticeable clone heritage. She's the person of color, but prejudices have shifted so that he is the one marginalized. He has a giant chip on his shoulder about his heritage and envies his brother, who he loves, for having it easier. His physical nature also comes with an invisible disability that he has not reconciled himself with. There's another disability issue that comes up later that's good food for thought. Props to Lyn for stirring up questions of diversity and how it relates to familial ties and dependency.
The secondary characters, Cyprus' twin brother Vin and Lana's roommate Michi, are vivid and I want to get to know them better. There are a few Interfering Brother scenes that I visualized and grinned at- Vin knows just how to troll Cyprus. Michi is loads of fun with new adult issues that relate to anyone whose family has pressured them with expectations.
The screwball ending circumstances. Extra secrets, space pirates, hacking, mistaken identities, and assumed sexualities boil over into everyone being nonplussed. I love scenes where everyone is frustrated and confused, but your mileage may vary. If you read carefully, the end won't take you by surprise.
There are some purple words in a sex scene that distracted me. The word 'manhood' seems at odds with the rest of the terminology used- I read it twice in one page and had fits of giggles, booting my consciousness out of the story. The description of Lana (or her hips) as 'fleshy' also sounded unappealing. Thankfully, that's not in the same scene.
I found the concept of engineered humans being without emotion quite farfetched.
The last quarter of the book unravels a bit and feels rushed, including the screwball ending. The pace picks up and left me a little punch-drunk- I had to reread it to get a better sense of it.
Read if you
- Like stern Teutonic men who could explode at any moment
- Believe big corporations are invariably up to no good
- Are interested in possible futures of prejudice and how humans always manage to find a group to treat badly
Skip if you
- Don't like even brief mentions of injections
- Have nightmares of your brother walking in on you while you're occupied with a partner
Final thoughts and disclosure
I got a free copy of another story by Lyn Brittan in a raffle. As a token of my appreciation for the author's generosity to the community, I bought and reviewed this book. I look forward to exploring othe OSA world. The prologue story, Solia's Moon, is available for free on Amazon.
Author site: lynbrittan.com