Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: Queenie's Brigade by Heather Massey

Title: Queenie's Brigade
Author: Heather Massey
Series: Stand-alone
Genre: Science Fiction (Romance)
Release Date: 2 July 2011

Captain Michael Drake desperately needs an army to save Earth after a crushing defeat by alien invaders. When his damaged starship docks at a remote prison colony, he discovers Earth’s last best hope—an army to replace the one he lost.

But, Queenie, the feral goddess ruling the prison, has other plans for the rugged star ship captain. After imprisoning Drake and seizing his ship, she prepares to lead her blood-thirsty band to freedom before the invaders track them down.

Despite her intentions, Queenie secretly falls for the sexy, hotshot captain. Drake makes it plain he wants to win back Earth with her by his side. But is following her heart worth betraying her people?

DNF at 38%

I was going to say that I feel badly for giving this such a low rating, because the writing and the premise is pretty intriguing. Plus there's an interesting dichotomy within Queenie herself. I think if I were reading about her alone, instead of adding in some manufactured love interest, I would be enjoying this more. As it is I find it hard to care what happens to either character.

Captain Michael Drake: Last surviving military captain in a war against the Calinthians - who have invaded Earth. He jumps his battered ship to a prison outpost, proceeds to be captured by the prisoners (who've taken over the prison), and then doesn't act anything like a decorated military captain.

The leader of the prison gang (and I'll get to her in a minute) is, of course, statuesque, beautiful, and has her breasts falling out of her jumpsuit (literally). So, naturally, he's distracted and attracted. He gives himself some grief about this, but in the end he needs her and her army to try and take back Earth. Then she brings out a member of his crew (a doctor), and proceeds to have her fingers broken, threatens to break other things, and this after the crew-member already looks pretty beat to hell. All so she can get the codes to his ship.

Which he then gives up. Seriously? This is the kind of military Earth has? One that caves without a qualm? He gives up his codes, and then he expects her to work with him, team up with him. If I were her, I'd scoff too. What kind of partner would he be? Not a good one, that's for sure.

Queenie: leader of the prison gang. She was brought up, by her mother and others, to unite the prison gangs under one leadership so they could take over, free themselves, and stop being used as cannon-fodder in a losing war. I understand that, and even empathize with it.

So, she rules with an iron fist (sometimes - I'll get to that later), and that's explains the torture of the captured crew (I guess). I have no patience for torture. Like sexual assault, and abuse, it's pretty much a final straw for me. I don't care the circumstances, I'm not really going to be able to root for you once you do something like that.

The problem with Queenie is that she's alternately portrayed as ruthless and smart - which would be awesome - and vulnerable and silly. She rules the gangs, but they're all just waiting for a chance to stab her in the back. She protects and wants to help her people. She demands obedience and that they not do anything to interfere with her mission, but she doesn't concern herself with them doing drugs. Lack of discipline, lack of order, is as much a problem to any real mission as any lack of obedience. And if a leader doesn't realize that, then they don't deserve to be leader any longer.

Every other character is a non-issue. They may as well be placeholders to give the two main characters something to react against.

Manufactured Love Story: Michael can't seem to keep his eyes off Queenie's gorgeous body - even when his crew's being tortured. Nor can he keep his libido under control. Queenie is, of course, drawn to the captain - who is like no other military person she's seen before.

She punches him in the face, several times. During her exertions her (ample) breast falls out of her shirt and all he can think about is taking it in his mouth. She flushes (Ugh. Why the need to be embarrassed. If she's the hardass that she's being portrayed as, why does she have to be virginal too - and I bet she ends up being a virgin). And then what's he do - strokes her thigh. She responds. He thinks that for her to respond like that she must still have a heart.

They're both idiots. And if they're humanity's last hope...well, we're doomed.

Grade: DNF

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