Review of Abiogenesis by Kaitlyn O'Connor

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 2 comments
Title of Book: Abiogenesis (Cyberevolution #1)
Author: Kaitlyn O’Connor
Publisher: New Concepts @ Smashwords
Length: Novel, 192 pages.
Rating: Mature - explicit scenes, consent issues.
Primary Relationship(s): M/F(/M)
Other Relationship(s): M/F, M/F
Category or Genre: Science Fiction
Does this Review contain spoilers?: Mild spoilers.
How was the copy provided? Purchased with intent to review.
Has this review been posted before? No.


Abiogenesis, by Kaitlyn O’Connor is presented as an “erotic futuristic romance story” and I thought, yeah, I’m punching a ticket on this starlight express.

Sometime in the far future, Dalia is a bio-engineered enhanced assassin. She’s employed to hunt down renegade cyborgs, but during a routine medical check-up she discovers she’s meant for termination and has to flee. On the run, she has to turn to the very beings she used to hunt and falls in love with the Cyborg Reuel and her old acquaintance Pierce.

I have a soft spot for cyborgs, sci fi and fantastic tales set in the future, especially if they contain flying cars. And, there are plenty of flying cars, cyborgs, renegades and the like in this story. There’s Dalia herself, bioengineered, enhanced human, Reuel, a Cyborg and a renegade, Pierce, a man from Dalia’s past, as well as Reuel’s gang of rebels.

To begin with the world building seemed good, the premise of the story was interesting, there is plenty of erotica for those interested, and Abiogenesis is definitely an easy read.

However.

This book was definitely not without some problems. For one, Abiogenesis feels as if it was written the way one might describe an action scene to a friend. The dialogue is awkward. There are spelling mistakes such as “med lad” instead of “med lab”, and “sited” instead of “sighted”. Settings lack initial introductions and I felt rather lost at times, wondering where inside a building the action was taking place, or where the main character was headed. Details that could have been hinted at earlier were left as almost an afterthought. After four chapters I still wasn’t sure what Dalia looked like or what she wore, or, going by the cover, if she wore much at all. I’m still not sure what Reuel or Pierce look like.

There is also an overabundance of words like “female” and “male”, instead of woman and man, and “craft” to describe all sorts of vehicles - most of which fly. Car, ambulance, helicopter, jet plane, hot air balloon, are all perfectly good words to use even when it comes to futuristic vehicles. Think about it. We still call a telephone a telephone, even though the “voice-relaying tabs” we use today bear little or no resemblance other than basic function to Alexander Graham Bell’s invention.

Back to our plot: On the run, and having to ask for help from the beings she once killed, Dalia offers the leader of the rebels, Reuel, the use of her body in exchange for safe passage. Dalia then spends quite a bit (or rather, the rest of the novel, it seems) in some form of bondage and struggling with her attraction to Reuel. While there are many novels with this sort of set-up, and while this could have been interesting, Abiogenesis takes a sharp turn away from the intial set-up of “cyborgs on the run”, and begins to read too much like a ravishment novel, and that was not what I was expecting. (Either that, or I should have taken a closer look at the blurb on Goodreads.com.)

Following this, Dalia begins to act contrary to her initial introduction. An enhanced and bioengineered woman, she fought off a slew of guards, stole a craft (actually, a flying ambulance), and made a daring escape from the building where she was meant to die. She suffers pain, fought off sleep and refused to stop until she was safe. And then.. The moment she meets Reuel, it is as if we have left behind the old Dalia and two different women begin to inhabit her body. There is also the added complication of an unplanned (and unconsented to) pregnancy. Dalia herself questions if her logic is “faulty at present”, and blames this on the “hormonal and chemical changes that she’d never before experienced. It stood to reason those changes would affect her logical brain functions”.

Indeed.

Pregnant, Dalia is delegated to the sidelines and is accused of having no “conception of how fragile the life is that you carry”. Indeed, the novel is full of these little slights against Dalia’s motherhood and her femininity. This, as well as Dalia’s attempts to discover “what is this stirring in my nether regions”... was thoroughly disappointing, since virginal and pregnant, in this story, appears to equal weak and incapable.

I feel this was a missed opportunity to build a truly multifaceted character, and both Reuel and Pierce feel lacking in personality, but not in physical prowess.

The menage relationship, probably due to this being a series, doesn’t take form until almost at the end and this was also a mild disappointment. When it does take form, their relationship never quite gels for me. It is all very much happenstance. It's possible their relationship earns more focus in the rest of the series, but...

I felt that Abiogenesis didn’t live up to its promise and it could have benefited from another round of heavy editing. In spite of positive reviews on sites such as GoodReads (where the first few chapters are also up for a sneak peek), I won’t be buying the other books in this series.


Reviewed by Madison Reese, M/M writer and reader, non-fiction nut. (Blog | Twitter | Goodreads)

2 comments:

  • ruthdiazwrites said...

    Youch. Thanks for the warning. We get enough of that "you don't understand your own body" crap from conservatives in the US right now--I don't need to deal with it when I'm reading about the future.

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