I was intrigued by Catherine Cerveny’s attempt to combine sci-fi with romance as I began THE RULE OF LUCK. The protag is smart and sassy and the opening pages are good. Bujold did scifi/romance well in MILES IN LOVE, after all. How awful could this be? I was blissfully unaware that, these days, “romance” almost always means “porn.” At least semi-porn, except for the most-excellent offerings from Carol Berg and Mary Robinette Kowal and a few others. The sci-fi element in this case was just a pretense for creating the most ridiculous perfect-man trope I can remember. This guy’s only flaw is not realizing just how awesome he is. Yeah, I know.
I came away with the conviction that these two genres should never mix, at least not like this. I mean, think about it: Do most romance novel aficionados regularly watch Star Trek? Does anyone who drools over the latest James S.A. Corey installment also hunger for the downright drivel that (insert almost any modern bestselling romance author here) puts out? No, these are mutually exclusive readers and would not normally enjoy each others’ company. Not for long, anyway.
In THE RULE OF LUCK, we meet Felicia, an attractive, plucky, twenty-something tarot card reader in futuristic Nairobi. The world has experienced monumental changes as a result of devastation from global warming, so this may be as much as a century in our Earth’s future. Felicia is not any ordinary commercial psychic, no sir, she is gifted. Before we can sneeze, into her Psychic Reader Shop walks the most beautiful man she has ever seen. He’s filthy rich, of course. Their mutual attraction is palpable and immediate–and kind of delicious, to be honest, at first. Ms. Cerveny’s dialogue is smart and there is good ease and flow throughout. Pacing good, world building good . . . but in their very next encounter, the talking ends and, well, you know. I have no objection to a well-written erotic scene in its place, so do not label me “Church Lady.” I prefer the bedroom doors closing much sooner, I admit, but that’s partly because I prefer mystery to gross anatomy. Especially when it gets a bit rough.
The rest is one drawn-out romp after another surrounded by a thin and predictable storyline. Since I have no more (polite) words . . .
I was raised in a very musical household with Rogers/Hammerstein blaring on the enormous speakers that cost more than the family car at the time, so I will do what Maria Von Trapp and Mary Poppins and Guinevere did when overwhelmed . . . and simply break into song. This is my own little protest tune against horrible, no good, very bad literature. Enjoy:
Recommended Age: 35+
Language: Not much, a mere smattering of F-bombs
Violence: The bedroom variety
Sex: Way too much and embarrassingly idealized
Find this book here:
THE RULE OF LUCK – Amazon