Molly's Reviews

Crystal DreamsCrystal Dreams
Astrid Cooper
Zumaya Publications, 2001

Highly Recommended

An antagonist lies concealed far in the frigid deepness of space ready to destroy Caledonian Chieftain Connal MacArran. MacArran must protect his world. In doing so he is propelled into an alliance with Liandra Tavor a counselor with the League of Worlds. Connal is both fascinated and repulsed by the mythical libido the foreign enchantress is said to embody. The green haired Asarian dreamweaver has never experienced anything to match the feeling she realizes as she dreamshares with Connal on her crystal bed.

On the surface MacArran's task appears quite uncomplicated. He will avail himself of Liandra's extraordinary powers to find a missing clansman Garris then flee from her as soon as his mission is completed. As with most simple designs little goes according to plan. Liandra's life is threatened. Connal faces the fury of his clan when he takes her with him to his world. The planet, which refuses to join the League of Worlds has been kept concealed to forestall foreign adulteration. Liandra is no more pleased to be with Connal than he appears to enjoy as her captor. Once Liandra realizes where she has been brought Connal decides she must never leave. MacArran's absolute intractability toward contact with other cultures and his intolerance against aliens clouds his reason. He continues to oppose Liandra and when she attempts to escape punishes her then warns others of his clan against her as an alien. At times he is a difficult person to understand. Liandra is from a race that is very aware of their own sensuality. They do ultimately join completely with one man forever. Liandra has never felt any real attraction to a man until she finds herself head to toe with MacArran during their mind dream in their attempt to find Connal's kinsman. The pair is attacked during the dream by alien creatures leaving Liandra unconscious and MacArran facing the notion that it is either take her with him or leave her there to die. He needs her abilities; he takes her with him. Neither wants to admit the growing affinity they feel for the other.

In "Crystal Dreams" writer Cooper presents a futuristic science fiction type romance filled with a wealth of entertaining characters and situations. Nineteenth century Scot-English relationships are present in a well-designed universe. The two principal planets are well developed by writer Cooper. This is not the usual science fiction offering. The romance evolves against a convincing backdrop of dreadful evil and other world detail. As presented in "Crystal Dreams" Liandra is a plausible personality filled with enough angst to keep her attractive. MacArran and his hardheaded notions become a bit ennui after a time. Even with my Scottish ancestry there were moments that I found myself wanting to 'smack him up aside the head' as he continues to oppose Liandra despite awareness that she is not 'tainting' his world.

"Crystal Dreams" is a well written page turner which draws readers right into the narrative from the opening page and carries them on a roller coaster ride of excitement through the tale and on down to the final paragraph. A nice book for a lazy summer's reading in the hammock. Not for everyone. Those who enjoy romance and/or futuristic science fiction will enjoy the tale.

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2005 by Molly Martin