Guilty pleasures. We all have them. That secret passion that we know may seem silly. But it gives us pleasure anyway. One of mine is…alien romance. I am most definitely a conspiracy theorist and believer that we are not alone in this universe. While The X-Files was a bit too spooky for my taste (horror is among my least favorite genres), I adore Star Trek, Independence Day, ET, and especially Men in Black. So, it is no surprise that I combine two passions.
The Quasar Lineage series by Pearl Tate is the latest to join a long line of favorites in this genre. This one follows the trope of alien abduction rather than the bartering women as breeders option. It capitalizes on many of the common stereotypes associated with aliens such as bright lights that draw you up and little grey men with big heads that talk into your brain. As well as hunky seven-foot humanoid men who recognize their mates immediately and are utterly devoted to them even to the point of dying for them.
If that sounds cheesy or disparaging, it is not meant to. I love this genre for escapism. When my mind and life are overflowing, I scour Amazon (usually Kindle Unlimited since like most genres this one can be hit or miss). As much as I believe in the power of the pen, or the laptop these days, to change this world, I also recognize its capacity to entertain and destress us. What is truly special is when those functions combine. As they do in Pearl Tate’s The Quasar Lineage series.
There are eight books in this series which for my personal preference is about the point I lose interest in a series. I am not one of those types that hang on baited breathe for book 30. I like closure. But that is a personal preference.
What for me sets these books apart and makes them review worthy is the maturity and diversity of human struggles among the heroines. While this is another of that New Adult genre I got roped into before realizing it, for the much greater part I did not find myself frustrated with the lack of maturity of the female characters.
These are young women who have faced traumas such as rape, grief, and Cystic Fibrosis. These life events have instilled in them common sense, pragmatism, and open minds and hearts. With the exception of Shelly in book five, Callim’s Challenge, these heroines face their fate with logic and resolve, coming to terms quickly and with finality to this new reality. They do not whine, regret, or fight their destinies.
Oh, and the heroes too are facing a new reality in this situation. Theirs is a dying race, another old trope revitalized here. In this case, the mating bonds which once bound them died a thousand ‘years’ ago. The classic testosterone-driven urges to procreate and protect have been replaced with a society ruled by women and the alien equivalent of little blue pills. In other words, in this world men are as devalued as women have been in this one.
Suddenly, with the emergence of human females past the protective layer of our atmosphere, those mating urges as indicated by elaborate, living markings (think Maui’s tattoos from Mauna but more vibrant). Along with this comes real-live erections. Look Ma no drugs. And they grow too, not just their penis, but their whole body. Like puberty.
So, this whole thing is as new to them as hurling through space at the speed of light and seven-foot, hot, tattooed men you can’t seem to resist is for the girls. The beauty comes in the equality that both sexes negotiate together. Finding common ground and creating new systems that work for them. That whole concept is summed up magnificently by the hero in Book One Bren’s Blessing:
Why question what is? Why wonder why what is to be, will be? … questioning is counter productive to the entire process. Instead of calming our thoughts and bodies, questioning the visions will only bring stress to your system. Accept and adapt to what you see. Feel, relax, and accept.
Not bad advice, even in mere human relationships.
1) Characters – Obviously, this is a great strength to this series. Eight books prove to be ideal for developing the diversity of experience, both human and alien, without reconstituting old ones. Like I said, these girls are strong, smart, and sassy. They are no damsels in distress waiting to be saved. Neither are they whining little &%$#es that drive me crazzy. The guys too are damaged, as much in need of the warmth and nurture their mates proved, and not ashamed to admit it. Do I have a favorite? Susan from Matthias’s Miracle, as for heroes Callim’s Challenge holds some real shockers. The only problem with the characters comes from…
2) Pacing – These books are rapid-paced. I am not a particularly fast reader but I can finish them in about a day each. On one hand that is great as the story draws you into the next one. But on the other hand, it at times leaves you wanting more. Some of the characters and situations could have perhaps used a bit more development in order to draw out the full depth of the experience. I think this is especially true of Devlin’s Darling with Jenny’s complex medical condition and Devlin’s damaging past. Nonetheless, this is not enough to detract from the series.
3) Point of View – These stories are told from the alternating first-person viewpoint. Again this is a key strength, in my opinion, allowing the reader deep into the mind and struggles of both major characters.
4) Theme – You and me against the world or in this case, history, culture, and the whole frickin’ universe. The determined and romantic hero plus the equally strong and devoted heroine battling an outside force together is my favorite trope. Not just in romance novels but in real life too. There are enough challenges out there in the world or this case universe. We do not need more strife with the people we love. These stories depict that scenario beautifully. Matthias sums it up perfectly:
They want what so many of us crave, a special someone to belong to and be with. Love in its purest form…
Isn’t that what we all want? Human or alien… That is what this genre is best at delivering. As long as we realize that we don’t have to be skinny, perfect, twenty-somethings and he does not need to be a seven-foot hunky alien that can feel our emotions and is called to us across the whole universe. That special someone is out there. Perhaps right here on Earth.