[REVIEW] Close Encounters – Katherine Allred

Katherine Allred
Close Encounters (Alien Affairs, Book 1)
HarperCollins Eos (CA: 16th March 2009; US: 31st March 2009; AU: 1st June 2010 [eBook only])
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Aliens? They may not be on “Old Earth”, but the Buri are more like another tribe than another species. They speak a different language and are more spiritual, but they’re still human in my opinion. The flora and fauna on Orpheus Two are different, though.

The summary sounds a lot like Avatar (which in turn sounds a lot like other stuff): a big corporation wants to plunder a planet, mining all its resources and colonising it, but the natives stand in their way. Enter an agent who earns the trust of the natives, mate-bonds with their leader, becomes their closest thing to the Goddess, and together with the community defeats the corporation.

For the first half, I alternated between reading this (I own it) and a library book (which I loved). But once I switched full-time to Close Encounters, I enjoyed it more than the earlier part. I’m easily distracted by shiny, colourful things, so the geodes attracted me. They get a bit weird, though, the more we learn about them. Really weird. I don’t like paranormal in my science fiction, damn it!

But keep an eye out for the massiveness the mountain is hiding – oddly appealing weird shiz, more SF than para.

The human/alien characters don’t work for me, but I like AI Max and love Crigo the rock cat. The romance and spirituality elements don’t work for me at all, and the too-familiar storyline seems cliché. There is good stuff here, but it’s buried amongst some faff – you’ll have to mine deep for it, but stick around.

2 responses to “[REVIEW] Close Encounters – Katherine Allred

  1. I tried reading this a few years ago, and could never bring myself to finish. I think it was way too much like a romance novel for me…and I just lost interest. I wanted SciFi. I don’t mind paranormal with my SciFi, but I want my SciFi to be…more Sci with small amounts, if any of the romance. Now, I kind of liked the beginning…but I was easily bored. Have you read any other books by Allred?

    • The romance totally didn’t work for me – romances rarely do. The only times they do is when the romance is such a minor part of the story that you wouldn’t even call it a romance – those are the best for me 🙂 Karin Slaughter’s MARTIN MISUNDERSTOOD and Eric Garcia’s REPO MEN come to mind…

      Allred published another Alien Affairs novel with HarperCollins, but the rest of her novels have been ePubbed – with Changeling Press (aka Ellora’s Cave), I think. They’re romances, though, so I have no intention of trying them.

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