Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review: HOPE’S FOLLY by Linnea Sinclair

Publisher: Bantam
ISBN-10: 0553592181
ISBN-13: 978-0553592184
Science Fiction Romance
February 24, 2009

Hold on to your hats. Fasten your seatbelts. If you love Science Fiction Romance or action-adventure Space Opera, Linnea Sinclair’s newest addition to the Dock 5 Universe has been released! Hurry to your local bookstore, Amazon, Barn & Noble, Borders, or your best friend’s house and grab it. You are in for a non-stop, roller coaster, fun ride. Click on the title links below for my reviews of the prior books in the series to get a feel for the Dock 5 Universe. HOPE’S FOLLY is a “stand alone” but a quick background update will enhance your reading experience.

The first book in the Dock 5 series was the 2006 RITA Award winning GABRIEL'S GHOST, in which we meet Captain Chasidah (Chaz) Bergren, Gabriel (Sully) Sullivan, and Imperial Fleet Admiral, Philip Guthrie. Philip is Chaz’s ex-husband and a real tight-a$$ed, by-the-book, kinda guy, except…

In SHADES OF DARK, the second in the Dock 5 series, the Empire has fallen to pieces, and Chaz and Sully rescue Philip immediately after he sees all of his senior officers murdered. He is forced to reassess everything that he has ever believed. He finally understands Chaz and Sully’s deep love, and can only wish them the best. In the last conflict of SHADES, Philip’s leg is shattered and he almost loses his life to “once more” save Chas, Sully and the rebel Alliance. Perhaps he isn’t quite the up-tight, by-the-book guy that I first thought…

When HOPE’S FOLLY begins, Philip has lost everything and is on the run from the imperial bad guys. He is now a rebel Admiral without a fleet. Only partially recovered, with a still healing leg, he is traveling to take command of Hope’s Folly, a decommissioned imperial cruiser/orange hauling freighter, named after the resident cat, Captain Folly! What can Philip say? The price was right, and rebels (i.e. beggars) can’t be choosy. He knows there is going to be trouble when assassins try to kill him before he ever leaves the Kirro Space Station. He knows there is going to be trouble when the gorgeous woman aiding him turns out to be the daughter of his best friend, mentor, and one of his murdered officers. He remembered Rya Bennton as the green-pea flinging brat, Rya the Rebel, whom he first taught to shoot a gun. Now she’s a statuesque beauty and security expert who gets really turned on by big guns. “Can I fondle it?” That had to be one of the funniest lines that I have read in years.

After trials, tribulations, and foiled assassination/kidnap attempts, Phil assumes command of his new flagship…err, well, sort of. Nothing is going according to plan. They are running against a deadline (the imperial bad guys are coming and killing people along the way), and everything keeps suspiciously breaking down…and smelling of oranges. Philip’s got a cat in his bed when what he really wants is his security officer. He can’t trust anyone; there’s a spy onboard; and he can’t afford distractions. He’s already screwed up one marriage, is too old for Rya, and he’s too busy to love or be loved. He has a job to do…but (sigh), she certainly is incredible. Her father would kill him if he knew what he was thinking!

Rya Bennton has had the best security training that the Empire has to offer…but they killed her father and she wants payback. She has come to Kirro Station to join the Alliance, and protects a distinguished “older/crippled” gentleman from an assassination attempt before she realizes that: 1) he isn’t “that” much older; 2) she knows him; and 3) he is the “always and forever dream hero” of her childhood.” He might not be interested in her, but she can keep him safe and be the best security officer he ever had. Besides, he has that really big gun.

Linnea does an especially good job of balancing the story from Philip’s and Rya’s Points of View. Philip and Rya are intelligent, principled, dedicated people, with terrific senses of humor. They are a perfect match for each other, and I thought their problems realistic. It’s wonderful to watch characters grow as individuals as their respect for each other develops. By the end of the book you know that what they have found will last. I particularly enjoyed Philip’s growth from being a “company man” to being a maverick doing whatever it takes, molding a totally dissimilar group of people into a team able outsmart the best that the Empire can throw at them. I liked seeing Rya learn to trust her instincts, and do what she knows to be right. I liked seeing her finally realize that she is attractive and loveable.

HOPE’S FOLLY is much lighter in tone than either GABRIEL’S GHOST, or SHADES OF DARK. Even though the majority of the book takes place in a shipyard, the layers of tension only escalate with each malfunction. There’s no doubt that they have a saboteur onboard. I couldn’t tell who it was and was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept asking myself, “Are there more than one?” Besides being a Science Fiction Romance, HOPE’S FOLLY is an excellent thriller. The stakes are raised on every page, so that I now have band-aids on my knuckles.

One additional thing that I would like to pass on to Romance fans: HOPE’S FOLLY is character driven with an excellent suspense plot. In addition to superb characterization, Linnea is a master of World Building. Many Romance readers are afraid of Science Fiction because they fear technology. Let me allay you fears. Her techno-babble is so expert and natural that you won’t even be aware of it. It’s rather like your cell phone or TV remote. So go with the flow, and enjoy.

Happy Reading,


Writing Science Fiction Romance

Real Love in a Real Future


Heather Massey said...

Nice review! I'm on my way to order this book right now!

Kimber Li said...

Great job, Frances!

Laura @ Caninedesign said...

I didn't realize Hope's Folly would feature Phillip. Do Chaz and Sully make guest appearances?

Frances said...

Hi Laura! Good to see you. To answer you question, Chaz and Sully are off stage in HOPE'S FOLLY. They are there working in the background for Philip, and we get an update on their situation, but they are not present on Philip's ship at any point. Philip is such a wonderful hero, that you will be totally absorbed with his and Rya's story. :-D

Kristie (J) said...

I didn't read your review in case of spoilers 'cause I'm behind in this series. I read and LOVED Gabriel's Ghost but somehow I've misplaced Shades of Dark. But that didn't stop me when I went into the bookstore on the weekend and looked for Hope's Folly and when I couldn't find it even though the computer said they had 4 in stock - I asked the clerk if she could help me and she ended up having to go to the store room to get it for me :)
Now all I have to do is find Shades of Dark!!

Frances said...

Hi Kristie! I'm glad that you stopped by. I tried very hard not to get into spoiler territory. Since you've read GABRIEL'S GHOST, read my review and tell me if I succeeded in staying out of spoiler land. I'd like your feedback after you read each of the books. I'm a spoiler ho myself, but I understand others not wanting to know. I do try to respect that. :-)

Jace said...

Great review, Frances. :D I agree with everything you said. Linnea is fantastic with her craft. :) I'd have loved if Sully, Chaz and Ren had appeared in this one. :)

Frances said...

Jace, I would have loved it if they had appeared too, however, just consider how much room that leaves for Linnea in future books if Bantam will only listen to the readers. Hope springs eternal, they say. I haven't figured out yet who they are though. BTW, I've been kicked off twice since the other reply. The connection is wonkey today! Go figure.