jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
This is the eighth book in the "Alien" series by Gini Koch. I've been trying to catch up with the series, but it looks like I'll still be two books behind with the release of UNIVERSAL ALIEN in another month or so.





The premise of this book: Kitty Martini discovers that the three mega-corporations behind many of her and the other AC's recent woes are slowly being revived. Titan Security is stumbling back into existence along with YatesCorp. But the recent arrival of a new drug on the streets seems to point toward Gaultier Enterprises, which appears to be trying to hide some of its research from Kitty's friend Amy, the heir of the corporation. While Amy fights the corporation in the courts, they decide they need find out what's going on in its inner layers, before this new and more deadly drug hits the streets and cause them even more pain. But what they find inside Gaultier may be even worse than a new drug on the streets. Because Gaultier, Titan, and YatesCorp have even more up their sleeves than the drug market . . . and all of the nefarious plots still seem to point to a single mastermind behind it all.

Another action-packed installment of the "Alien" series, with plenty of twists and turns, as everyone has come to expect from Gini Koch. This book again focuses more on the SF action and plotting than the romance elements. Those elements are still there of course, but they take a back seat. There are a few shocking moments in this book, turns that I don't think any readers of the previous books would expect, and a few of the mysterious elements from previous books are also explained here. I can't say anything about them without spoiling them. However, one of them deals with ACE and addresses something that I had concerns about in previous books. I felt that what happened here with ACE needed to have happened. Another deals with the AC "elves" and I have some rather strong reservations about how this will play out.

So again, if you're looking for some action-packed space opera that feels like the 50s in terms of science fiction, with a pinch of romance thrown in, then definitely pick up this series.
jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
Alien vs. Aliens is the sixth book in Gini Koch's Alien series. The series is an action-packed mix of science fiction and romance with a warp factor pace. There's usually little to no time to breathe when you read.





This book begins with, of course, hints that the bad guys are up to something. It starts with the appearance of some faked but potentially still scandalous pictures of Kitty herself, followed by an assassination attempt on Kitty when she's trying to pass a test that will let her in on some governmental secrets that everyone else seems to already know about. And it rockets right along from there, with strange presents arriving from Alpha Centauri in the form of alien Peregrines, with ambiguous warning notes attached, ACE acting strange but with dire warnings to get everyone to safety, all while Martini, Chuck, and crew are attempting to provide security for the World One festival. Mayhem ensues.

As usual, the action and plot move along at a fast clip, with convoluted plots mixed within plots. Overall, the plotlines here were easy to follow (unlike a few of the previous books in the series), although in this book Kitty is kept in the dark for a good chunk of the book and I have to say it was done with (what I felt) was no good solid reason. I reached a point where I just wanted someone to spill the beans and let her in on all, or at least some, of the secrets being kept from her. Because of this, it felt like it took forever to get to the main plot's big reveal.

I did like that this book went back to some mysteries and loose ends introduced in past books (which I can't reveal because it would be spoilery). But there are at least two major elements from past books that finally get addressed here, and one of those is tied up quite nicely. All while introducing new material as well to keep the series fresh. I also liked (and there are fans of this series out there that will hate me for saying this) that the romance elements that can be far too strong for my taste were almost completely absent here. This was much more an action-packed science fiction book (although not hard SF) than it was a romance book. This may be because part of the plot revolved around the sudden disappearance of Martini and Chuck. Also great was the general abandonment of the rivalry between Martini and Chuck, which (I felt) had been carried on far, far too long in the previous books. They aren't bosom buddies here, but the jealousy thing on Martini's part was absent.

So, lots of good things in this novel. I wouldn't say it was strongest book in the series so far, but it's certainly not the weakest. Probably in my top three for this series. Mostly it's because the plot of this book felt a little looser and not quite as cohesive as in a few of the past books. Looking forward to the next book though.
jpskewedthrone: (Vacant)
This is the fourth book in Gini Koch's Alien series. I've enjoyed all of them, mostly because they are so action-packed and because the characters are fun to follow. The plots are convoluted and over-the-edge in the believability factor, but the whole point is just to have fun. The books aren't intended to be taken too seriously.





The premise of this book is to introduce everyone to Kitty Katt and Martini's child. The birth pretty much happens right off the bat in the book, although the plot starts moving forward before that, because of course the evil doers are interested in Kitty and her child. In particular, in what kinds of powers the hybrid child might possess. And if there was any doubt that the child would have powers, that's answered pretty much right away as well, with things happening before their baby is even born. Once it becomes obvious that someone is after Kitty, the newborn, and pretty much any of the hybrids and ACs of any influence, along with Richard and Kitty's mother, the entire AC community goes into lockdown, with most of the action following from that decision and the race to get any and all of Kitty's friends--and potential victims of the evil doers--into safety. But of course, harming Kitty's friends and loved ones to get to her is only the beginning, as the plot begins twisting and turning into all new directions, which I'd spoil by mentioning.

So, as already mentioned, this book follows the usual fun and high-octane action of all of the previous books. There's plenty of action, and plenty of twists in the rollercoaster ride of the plot as it unravels. Readers have come to expect this from Gini Koch and the Alien books. One of the best features of the series (missing from most of the urban fantasy series I've read) is that as events unfold, Kitty's life also morphs and changes. This is only the fourth book in the series and Kitty's gone from being an advertising drone to leader of Team Alpha for the ACs, through a few relationships, although settling on Martini, getting married, and now having a kid. Things change, at a rapid pace, in this series. Most series seem content to just let the main character and friends move from case to case, with most of the relationships and such remaining static. In this book, Kitty has the child, and through the course of the book learns some good lessons about raising kids, how her relationship with Martini will have to adjust, and her role as part of the AC organization shifts as well. I like the sense that what happens to Kitty and her friends and loved ones changes the world around them and they have to adjust for it.

Also, although most readers will lament this, there wasn't the same level of romance elements in this book as in the previous ones. I was fine with not having the continual sex scenes. But that's just me. (I commented on not being interested in the romance elements in the previous books, if you haven't read those reviews.)

My biggest complaint about this book in particular is that the first half of the book isn't as active as the last half or the previous books. This is partly because Kitty has had the kid, and so needs to remain in one place to care for her. So for the first half of this book, she's trapped at the AC complex as it goes into lockdown. Since she's the POV character, that means the reader is stuck with her, and so all of the real action is happening off screen and we (with Kitty) are learning of it all second-hand. This removes us from the plot in a way that lasted too long for me. I wanted Kitty to be more involved earlier on. Once she is directly involved, the pace and fun of the book picks up tenfold.

This book shifts Kitty's role into the next phase and sets up the fifth book rather well. Even with that slower portion in the first half, I'll certainly be reading Alien Diplomacy as soon as I get the chance. I need to catch up before Alien vs Alien hits the shelves later this year. For those who love high-paced, sci-fi action, with some pretty heavy romance elements thrown in, I'd definitely recommend this series.
jpskewedthrone: (Default)
I finished this a little while ago but haven't had time to review it until now. Just busy life stuff. But here I am! And the Alien series continues to rocket forward full jet-propulsion ahead.





This book focused on the ramifications of Martini and Kitty's coming wedding, both for the ACs living on Earth and for their home system. Because, for some reason, the home system appears to be taking a much more active interest in it than they should be. In fact, it seems that some of them are headed to Earth, but are they coming to witness the event . . . or to stop it at all costs? Or perhaps both?

There are, of course, multiple plot threads and motivations woven together there . . . or perhaps clashing together is a better description. As Kitty and Martini begin to unravel the mess, we're introduced to new characters and new aliens from the home system, along with vicious attacks and, since this is mostly set in Las Vegas, gambling. One of the best things about this series is that it does keep expanding. Some series fall into a sort of stability, with the same characters, just different bad guys. This one has new characters introduced in each book, while still keeping the old ones around. The world keeps expanding as well. Here we learn more about the home world and how it operates. And it all keeps coming at the same breakneck pace, the reader--along with Kitty--barely getting a chance to catch their breath.

I thought the weaving of the political intrigue and Kitty and Martini's wedding was done well here, as well as the action, comedy, science fiction, and romance elements that are key to Gini Koch's style. As a reader, I'm not that into the romance aspects, and that was the biggest drawback in this novel for me. This is just a personal preference. In the previous ones, the romance elements were there, but they didn't detract from the overall plot much at all for me. In this one, once the main political plot thread is resolved, there's a LONG section that has to do with the wedding arrangements. This lasts about 100 pages, and there's a little bit of additional action plot woven in here, but it's still mostly wedding plans and getting Kitty and Martini to the altar. For me, this was a major lull in the overall action. However, I'm certain that those readers who love the romance elements will love this section. It certainly wasn't badly written at all; just not what draws me to reading Gini Koch's novels. And, that said, it didn't turn me off of the novel.

But that was my only little, niggling complaint about the novel. If you enjoyed the previous novels, you'll love this one. And I'm certainly waiting impatiently for the next novel, Alien Proliferation, due out in December.
jpskewedthrone: (Default)
I've posted an interview with Gini Koch up at the [livejournal.com profile] dawbooks community. This is an informal interview between her and me. She has a new book in the Alien series out this month called Alien in the Family. Check it out!



jpskewedthrone: (Default)
A day or so ago, I posted an interview with Gini Koch, author of the Alien series (including Touched by an Alien and Alien Tango) up at the DAW Books blog ([livejournal.com profile] dawbooks). Check it out here. You can find out how she and I met, how we sold our first novels to DAW, and other assorted fun facts. *grin*



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Joshua Palmatier

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