I bought all three books in the Cassandra Kresnov series a couple years back in Amsterdam, but kind of lost track of the books until this summer, when hubby read Crossover and the two sequels in the series back-to-back and declared them to be “really good.” I think that for a great many of the “target market” males, nothing will seem off about the character Sandy Kresnov.
Except, she’s a dude. In every aspect of her personality, the main character struck me as a male, and turning them and the other main characters into women didn’t change the fact that they all thought like dudes. I got what the writer was trying to say about artificial people not being sexually selective, but then later “character development” reveals that Sandy’s hyper-sexuality is unique even among her people. And…her sexuality is male. Possibly gay male, but really, given how poorly the author writes a sex scene, I would argue that this story might have been improved without making the heroine a “nymphomaniac.”
There are sex scenes in this book that I wanted to end. Me, Miss “I love porn” was instead begging, “Please, make the bad sex scene stop.” But it gets worse. The author cannot write a decent chase scene without messing it up. The author spends many, many pages on political lectures, and the biggest “plot twists” in the book are political plays. This book is so, so boring. This writer could make a blow job during a gunfight boring. There’s really no help for someone who thinks they’re writing “cool” and they are in fact ice cold and killing their story with way, way too many tangential details.
Feeling something for the “heroine’s” starting predicament of being violently dismembered, I stuck with this in the hope that maybe there would be some fast-paced payoff for all this slow buildup, but there is nothing this writer touches here that they don’t blow badly. This is not to say there aren’t some neat ideas in the premise. There are. But when you start a book by ripping the heroine into little pieces, and then insist that she’ll get over that a few days later, you’ve confused a man from an 80s action movie for a woman. In fact, if the main character were a dude in an 80s sci-fi movie, I’d be more likely to believe this ridiculous and contrived plot.
I’m sorry to get harpy, but this is my main point of complaint. Sandy is an artificial person with a human personality imprinted on an artificial brain. The story claims that she has a human sexuality because her brain is a copy of an organic human brain. BUT, Sandy’s internal line of reasoning, her method of coping with stress, her hypersexuality and indiscreet need for physical contact; it’s all male. Adding breasts, blonde hair, and blue eyes doesn’t change this conflict of her character. I don’t see a butch woman. I see a character made female simple to satisfy the writer’s need for some lame sexual fantasy. After all, Sandy is the ultimate badass, AND she’s indiscriminate with who she sleeps with. Dudes in the target audience are sure to love this combination. But to me, Sandy comes across as hugely fake, and I’d be willing to give back a star in my rating if Sandy had been Andrew instead. Because then the character would have been more realistic.
The same is true of the head of SWAT, Vannessa Rice, a character who’s “short” “cute,” and “considered fluffy” among her troops. This is all strictly male fantasies, and the women don’t really behave like women except at very rare moments near the end of the book. The rest of the time, they act like men. So for me, the story just wasn’t very believable.
There really wasn’t much I liked about this story, and I find Sandy’s reaction to trauma to be the first of many bad character development choices. It’s strictly a by-the-numbers formula, and it never rises above a man’s fantasy of how awesome women would be, if they only acted more like men.
I give Crossover two stars, and I’m sorely tempted to drop that to one. I can’t say that I’d really recommend it to anyone, but as hubby liked it, I’ll guess fans of military sci-will think it’s “super.” Mostly, I was bored to tears, and it’s going to be a long time before I bother reading the other books in this series.