Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Proximity: M. A. George

Title: Proximity 
Author: M. A. Geogre 
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Stand Alone or Series: Series, the next book is called Relativity.

Publisher: Createspace
Publish date: October 3rd, 2012

Pages: 313 (pdf)
ISBN: 1480016934

Obtained: Review copy obtained for free from Library Thing.

Synopsis obtained from Dr. Palta Capal would be a typical American career woman…if only she were human.

She has found her calling in this world as a physician. It’s an ideal outlet for her compassionate spirit...and unearthly healing powers.

Palta may spend her nights rereading Jane Austen novels, but she deliberately avoids pursuing her own love story. Human men — attractive as they may be — inevitably grow old and wither, leaving her to grieve in solitude. Frankly, no one has seemed worth the torment.

Enter Eric Moran, the intensely attractive and enigmatic new coworker on the scene. With his quiet confidence and warm smile, he manages to draw Palta’s attention. Little does she know that he, too, holds a secret…one that will propel them both into an escalating collision of two worlds.

This review contains spoilers.

I want to start out by saying that I love the idea of being an alien by blood but an American by birth. It’s a unique premise and it’s what initially drew me to the book. It starts off a little strange because the narrator, Palta, spends the first few chapters talking as if she’s in an interview. She talks directly to the reader as if she’s answering questions to an unseen and unheard interviewer with each chapter being a different question.

This would’ve been an interesting tactic if perhaps it actually was an interview and a few paragraphs at the beginning of the chapter that were written in that style before moving to a  differently styled prose. As it stands now the beginning of the book is interesting, but very slow as Palta narrates the story of her long life living among humans. So once again my pet peeve of writing pops up again there is lots of telling but no showing. It was pure information dump for the first four chapters.

The action picks up after Palta discovers that the man she’d been crushing on has a major secret of his own. Unfortunately however in spite of the slight change in narrative style the author maintains tell > show, which is this story’s primary weakness. A lot of this book could’ve been a lot more interesting had information been slowly revealed via action and intrigue.

However the plot was still pretty interesting as the political problems of the home planet started coming to Earth but I found myself disappointed in the cliche “evil aliens want to destroy/take over the earth” reveal. I also found it disappointing that the plot had so much promise for action but it primarily took place off stage (ex: the rebellion, and even the majority of the work to find an anti-viral cure to prevent humanity from being wiped out). That and when a problem did arise I found that the characters solved it either magically or just too plain quickly/easily.

Now, remember how I said the beginning of the book was slow? Well, after Palta and her love interest get into a relationship. A relationship that started mere hours after having their first real conversation (palta had admired him from afar til this point). The story picked up dramatically, don’t get me wrong past-paced plots are good -- but this one was too fast. Helped along by the aforementioned fact that solutions just came too easily to the group, or the action took place off stage. However what really took the cake for “too-fast” that it made the story unbelievable was the romance between Palta and Eric.

Now I’ll preface this by saying that I dislike books where the characters fall in love instantly. Especially when the reader is given very little indication about why these two characters are so attracted to each other if they showed no signs of prior chemistry. Now, this romance started so suddenly it was jarring. Mere minutes after meeting her again after the incident where she discovered his secret (prior to which it’s implied she had no interaction with him) he starts kissing her as soon as they are alone. That said I appreciated the kiss because it was the only time in the novel that the author showed rather than explicitly told you that there was a strange connection between them that confused both of them. At the very least I appreciated that the characters were just as confused as I was. Eric then ran away from her after said kiss and I thought for a moment that this might be the first time insta-love could be interesting -- with some paranormal, unseen force pushing them together -- and them trying to resist it.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. The next time they are together (the next morning) Eric and Palta enter a committed relationship with this line, “I have come to realize that your presence in my life is a source of strength.” …. She’d only been present in his life for less than a day at this point. Not only that but Palta also decides that she is going to leave behind everything she knows and loves at this point to leave her family behind on earth. Again, for a guy she only started talking to a day ago. The book very quickly became a Romeo and Juliet on steroids (without the resistance from  their families or bloodshed), Palta even said that she feared Eric losing his life over the sister she’s known (and said was her ‘better self’) for a over a century. Needless to say the romance was eye-roll inducing.

That said, there were parts of the book that I really enjoyed. The idea driving the story was really interesting. I enjoyed Palta as a character (sans Eric) I found her endearing and it’s her character traits (again, sans Eric) that kept me going through the story. I also enjoyed the members of their respective families a lot -- although I wish we could’ve gotten to know the cast better. When it’s all said and done the main this that brought this book down was the fact that for the most part -- felt like an info dump -- and the pacing was just too fast to be believable.  

Rating: 4/10 stars.

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