Too Much Plot!

From Suzanne Brockmann's website
Yes, there is such a thing as too much plot. Also, misleading jacket copy. You'd think this book would be about Shane and Mac right? You would be wrong.

Many things came together in a perfect storm to ruin my enjoyment of what should have been a really good book. The three books I've shredded in the last two weeks are all ones I found during the SFR Brigade's "If you like this, try this" event a couple months ago. All are from mainstream publishers, and all were authors coming from another genre and dipping their toes into SFR.

This was my first Brockmann book. And while it was okay, there are significant problems.

First one: The entire plot could have happened without Mac and Shane and nothing would have changed. They're billed as the primary romance, but there was really nothing there other than some hot and heavy lust. They felt more like filler and I never really connected with either one of them. Which is sad, because I have a thing for SEAL's.

They're supposed to be the main characters, and they're hardly together. How the heck is Shane "falling in love" with a woman he's spent a grand total of three hours with? This is a 500 page book.

Second: The timeline was too compressed for a believable romance arc. The entire book happens in two and a half days. I couldn't buy that Mac and Shane could actually fall in love in that amount of time when they spent more time apart than together. See above. Maybe three hours together, total. In 500 pages.

Third: The constant ramping up of mental powers. Not to mention some that are scientifically impossible due to the laws of physics, like a human being able to breathe fire. This is not a paranormal, though it plays on familiar paranormal concepts. It's a science fiction romance, and the science parts needed more work. The Greater-Thans had a scientific explanation for their abilities, and some of those abilities are impossible within a scientific world. Like flying and shooting fireballs from your mouth.

Fourth: Inconsistent worldbuilding relying WAY too much on political bias and not enough on extrapolation of actual events. Ms. Brockmann screams loud and proud about her gay son and how supportive she is of gay rights. Fine, whatever floats her boat. But I have a problem with being hit upside the head with it in a novel. The gay romance was handled fairly well and didn't cross any of my lines. But it did NOTHING to advance the overall plot. It revealed some nuances to the Greater-Thans, but that's not enough of a reason to do it. It read heavy-handed and agenda-driven. Everything Elliot discovered about how to deal with what was going on would have happened without acknowledging his feelings for Stephen.

Fifth: Mac, the supposed heroine, was a bitch. I hated her and couldn't wait to get out of her POV. Every. Single. Time. She used the people around her, acted with no thought about people she considered her friends, and I really don't understand what Shane saw in her. She's described in the jacket copy as having a kick-ass attitude. No. She has a serious case of bitch-itis and there was *zero* evidence of actual character development, and no character growth.

Sixth: Shane seemed like an afterthought, and then at the end it was OMG I HAVE TO USE HIM IN THE FINAL BATTLE OR HE'S POINTLESS. The final battle left me scratching my head more than anything else. It was weird. And Shane's skills as a former SEAL were not used.

Seventh: What the heck. Psychic dream connections. It can be cool when used sparingly, but Ms. Brockmann didn't use it sparingly. It was the main way of revealing the plot and advancing the romantic relationships. Sorry, but dream interactions don't carry the same weight as physical.

All of this makes me sad. No wonder SFR has such problems being taken seriously, since this is what represents the genre. There are serious issues where the authors are tacking on SF elements because it sounds cool. They're not doing the work needed to pull it off and make it believable. It does not surprise me that this book came out almost two years ago and there's no sign of a sequel. I don't think I would read it.

I have a thing for SEAL's. Have for years. But after this book I'm not sure I have the patience to try her Troubleshooters series. My writer brain can't deal with it. This book has a lot of not-so-good reviews on Goodreads too, with more than one reviewer sharing my thoughts on the gay characters aspect. It's not that I mind them being there, I truly didn't because I liked them as individuals. It was the way they were thrown in to be "inclusive", as opposed to advancing the plot.


Post a Comment