Recombinant Love by K’Anne Meinel is about Ryley Graham and her poodle, D.O.G.. They are from the 21st century and disappear in a flash of light one day while out hiking. More than 500 years later a life pod is found floating in space and picked up by a space ship whose mission is to explore wormholes. At first Ryley thinks she’s part of an elaborate government hoax but eventually she accepts the inevitable. She is an Earth woman living 500 years in the future and halfway across the universe from home. With her own family and descendants considered ancient history, she must learn to make a new life and forge her own path with this intrepid group of explorers. And perhaps she can even find it within her to start a new family with an intriguing half-human and half-Android crewmember, Mercédès. Unfortunately, her journey toward this new future may have an obstacle in the form of a man that has chosen Ryley to be his mate, a man from the same race the put her in the pod to begin with.
I have to say Meinel did a good job writing the likeable and unlikeable characters exactly in their lanes. Some of them were a bit stereotyped but all together they fit well within the plot.
Ryley was a woman who was overwhelmed by such a shift in her life. She struggled at first to believe the reality of her situation and after she struggled to find her contribution in such a futuristic society.
Mercédès struggles with nearly the opposite. She knows her job and she is a capable member of the crew. Her body is highly augmented, so much so that her struggle is with connecting to the human side of herself and the rest of the people on the ship.
Both women help each other accept the parts of themselves they’d previously worried about.
The Writing Style
K’Anne Meinel has an easy writing style to read. I found myself caught up in the tale and while I didn’t devour it with the speed of some, I also didn’t flounder.
I enjoyed the progression of the tale from start to finish, and all the little obstacles that were thrown in.
There was a bit of romance, some action, intrigue, mystery, and the tiniest bit of angst. She put a lot into the story but it didn’t come across as overblown, or unnecessarily stuffed with detail and plot.
I liked the say Meinel tapped into the fears of Mercédès, and the struggle she would be faced with as an augmented human with hardware on her face. Her expressions are limited, her vocal inflections are also limited, both of which make it difficult to communicate with the various species that are a lot more used to showing emotion and empathy.
The author also taps into the fear and disbelief that Ryley displayed at the beginning. In my opinion it was a realistic approach to Ryley’s reaction. I mean, I would probably feel the same way if I woke up someplace that seemed like a set straight out of Star Trek.
I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the race of beefcake men looking to take Ryley with them to be their breeder. But it didn’t kick me out of the story.
I thought this was a good book, certainly better than an average read for me. It was engaging with likeable characters, in a future that I could believe was a real possibility.
It was a good solid read and definitely worth my time. If you enjoy a good sci-fi book with some romance and a hint of mystery thrown in, then definitely give Recombinant Love a try.
Excerpt from Recombinant Love by K’Anne Meinel
“I understand Mercédès is nearly at the end of your tour,” the captain answered, coming to the point of her visit.
“Is she? I didn’t know,” Ryley answered as she watched D.O.G. Here it was. Would they tell her the reason they were holding her now?
“Well, you’ve seen our ship and our technology. By now, I’m sure you realize we mean you no harm,” the captain turned to look at Ryley, gauging her reaction to what she was saying.
Ryley looked up at the much bigger woman. “Yes, but I still don’t understand why I am here. When can I go home?”
The captain looked at her in surprise. She had thought by now Ryley would believe them, would understand they weren’t holding her captive and they were together in their desire to go home. “I’m certain Mercédès explained to you that we are a long way from home, from Earth, and we are light years away from returning. We are, of course, looking for shortcuts, but at this rate it will be many years before we can get back to Earth. We are taking advantage of this predicament to explore parts of the galaxy that no human, at least none from Earth, has ever seen or documented before. If we find another black hole to map, we will, of course, take advantage of it.”
Ryley stared at her in consternation. Mercédès had never mentioned this timetable. She had explained that their ship had gone through some sort of wormhole and been stuck in this section of the galaxy, but she had never told her they wouldn’t return. She had thought perhaps this was all part of their ‘scenario’ to make her believe their little act. The feelings and emotions she was experiencing at the thought of this being real alarmed her. She was starting to buy into it and she couldn’t let herself. “I don’t understand what you people get by keeping me and my dog here. I’m just a programmer from Minnesota. I’m not important in the scheme of things—”
The captain cut her off with a raised hand. “But you are important. You are a human life that was ripped from everything she knew. I don’t know why and you don’t know why, but I hope to find out. Meanwhile, you are welcome here. We will teach you what you wish to learn. Mercédès mentioned in her report that you weren’t interested in learning to program our computers, that you felt it was beyond you. In time, I hope you will change your mind. Everyone needs to feel useful. I’m sure you will find you need this too. We aren’t keeping you here against your will, she held up her hand again as Ryley went to argue this point. “You and I are on a wormhole explorer ship, despite what you may want to believe. We are stuck out in space far, far from Earth. I don’t know why you were taken from everything you knew, but fate put you in our path, and we will go on from here. You say you aren’t important? I beg to differ. You are important! Every individual on this ship is important. We work together to survive and go on. We are all stuck together, and we are making the best for what could be a bad situation. I hope you will join us in our efforts,” she finished quietly, realizing she had put a lot on Ryley’s shoulders.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781979807203
- Publisher: Shadoe Publishing
K’Anne Meinel Online
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