Bewildering Stories

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Catherine Asaro’s Catch The Lightning

reviewed by Jerry Wright

Catch The Lightning
by Catherine Asaro
Tor Books
ISBN #0812551028
309 pages

I wandered into a Fred Meyer store in Seattle looking for something to read. There on the bookshelf were a bunch of “series” books — David Eddings, Ann McCaffrey, and Catherine Asaro, as well as quite a few others. I’ve been reading Catherine Asaro books (and even reviewed one, Spherical Harmonic in Issue 13) and enjoying them, but I really didn’t get grabbed until “Roll Of The Dice” published in Analog a while ago. So, among my many choices, I saw Catch The Lightning and said, “Hmmm. Haven't read this one yet.” So I bought it and took it home.

Great fun! This book won the Sapphire award, which is given for best Science Fiction Romance, back in 1997. It is now in reprint, and I was in (as it were) hog heaven. Some of the books I’ve enjoyed the most seem to fit in the SFRomance catagory, like Lois McMaster Bujold’s A Civil Campaign also a Sapphire winner. Then of course, there’s Eric Flint, and David Drake, but never mind...

The book starts out with a first person narrative by a 17-year old girl named Tina who lives in a gang-wracked Los Angeles in 1987. But something is a bit askew in this LA. Tina is an orphan protected by her dead brother’s gang, and she can feel other people’s emotions, although she won’t tell them for fear of being thought crazy. Walking home (a dangerous no-no) from her job as a waitress, she meets a 6'4" guy with goldish looking skin and purple hair dressed in black leathers. Somehow, for some reason they click, and when she is accosted by a rival gang boss, the stranger — Althor — tosses the bad guys around like ten-pins.

Althor is a stranded spaceman, a Jagernaut. He was supposed to be in Washington D.C. at a Presidential celebration in honor of his mother. Way in the future. Then we find that Tina lives in “the Federated States of America” whups. For some reason she can’t determine, she gives her virginity to Althor (there are several steamy sex scenes in this book, which was a bit of a surprise).

I could go on and tell you more of the story, but I won’t. Just my recommendation that you read Catherine Asaro. Her Skolian Universe novels and stories are top rate, and this is one of them. She has created a detailed and interesting universe, and the more she writes, the more we learn, and the more fun it is.


Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wright