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Rough Rider

Author: Nina M. Osier
Genre: Science Fiction
Reviewed by JaToya Love

549Rough Rider is an awesome book. From beginning to end, I enjoyed this story.

Joy Grant is a Star Guard Captain. Think Star Fleet and you'll get the point. Nineteen years ago, Joy, then a Lieutenant, and her Captain, Kirk Rogers, along with the rest of their crew came in contact with a sentient race of beings called the Zortians. During the course of establishing first contact and good relations with the Zortians, Captain Gambol was lost to his crew and pronounced dead. Assuming command, Joy did her best to solve the mysterious death of her Captain and lover, but with no physical evidence to prove his death or his continued existence, Joy had no other recourse but to accept the death of her love.

Now nineteen years later, well established Terran settlements have suddenly stopped communicating with Central Command, as well as with routine freighter runs. Something's up and Joy, as the first person to communicate with the Zorti, is sent to find out what. But in doing so old memories are dredged up and secrets are revealed.

Nina Osier has done a great job blending true sci-fi with real drama. There's romance and adventure and chaos and mayhem, and that eternal question -- what impact would humans have on an alien civilization? That is really what this book is about.

When we get to the point where we're zipping off and extending our reach outside the milky way, what will happen to the cultures we encounter, if any? Should we even initiate contact in the first place?

The secondary story here is Joy the woman, her life, and her love. When she first set foot on Zorti she was in love with Captain Gambol, as he was with her. Within hours she found out she was pregnant, and hours after that she was told he was dead. Nineteen years later she has a wonderful son she doesn't know as well as she thinks she should and a new romantic interest in her life. She's sure she doesn't want to face the memories going to Zorti brings but she's equally sure that as a Captain in the Star Guard she will do what is needed of her.

What's cool about this book is that the author flashes back and forth between the past and the present. So, while Joy is living her life every so often the author would fill us in a little more on what happened almost twenty years prior. And we get it from all perspectives, not just Joy's, so we get a complete understanding of the way things happened and why.

What's a bit of a problem with Rough Rider is the occasionally awkward flow of Osier's writing. There are times when the dialogue comes off sounding strange, and inflection is lost unless the sentence is read a few times. And, while I'm no stranger to run on sentences, there are times when the narrative is poorly phrased and that too must be reread until its meaning is assimilated.

Other than those two things, Rough Rider is a pleasure to read. The characters are living, breathing human beings who are easy to connect to and commiserate with, and I'd definitely read another Nina M. Osier book.

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May 19, 2004 in Science Fiction | Permalink

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