Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book Review: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Publication Date: 2010 in US
Format: Mass Market Paperback


How can a sexy marketing manager join forces with an Alpha Centauri male in Armani to save the planet-using hairspray, a Mont Blanc pen, and rock n' roll? Easy...

She's Touched by an Alien

Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the "agency" to perform crowd control. He's Kitty's kind of guy, no matter what planet he's from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

Joshua's Take: 2.0/5☆

Why I picked up the book: because I love sci-fi and urban fantasy mash-ups and frankly the cover looks fantastic. I've wanted to read this book for a long time purely for the cover so to DAW, yeah, touche, good marketing.

They say a sucker is born every minute. Well I was born many minutes ago and it appears that I'm still an overall general sucker. I mean really, I should have known from the title, but then again, I'm a sucker.

Touched by an Alien is a mix of Twilight meets MIB. I'm a big fan of the MIB movies and well, I'm a guy so I don't really get the whole Twilight craze. However if anything this book has brought me closer to an understanding. This is the Twilight series for adults. Since this is for older readers, there are somewhat explicit sexual situations, lots of action and a heroine who is actually quite interesting instead of a shell like how Bella is written. There are also numerous references to how good-looking the alien guys are, I mean really good-looking and I mean a lot of references. I get it, this book isn't for me, it's not for anyone with a Y chromosome. I get it. But that's no excuse for repetitive and overall poorly structured pacing.

I have no problem when a novel wears its influences on it's sleeves, as in this case with classic B-movies and sci-fi cold war hysteria, but that's no excuse to literally repeat lines nearly every page. There must have been over 300 references to how good looking the guys are, 250 references to how the heroine Kitty is fighting the temptation to jump their bones, 200 references to swooning and 150 references to how Kitty is a modern independent and strong woman who is embarrassed by how cute she thinks everyone is. Again, I get it. This book is really not for me. It should have been shelved in the romance section of the bookstore and frankly that's also my fault since I shouldn't have just picked it up based on how nice I thought the cover looked.

What's frustrating about Touched by an Alien is that there's a really interesting plot here. Virtuous aliens battling parastic beings who can take over and be anyone, who's sole purpose is to eat people and to turn Earth into a literal hell- demonic aliens from who we get our "evil from the pits of hell" myths from. A fascinating heroine who is smart, courageous and brave enough to stand up for her fellow man instead of turning and running, who because of her courage gets initiated into this alien MIB-type organization. Teleportation, sonic guns, epic demonic battles- there's just so much to like here, such an intriguing plot. And its just all wasted on a really cheesy and sub-par romantic sub-plot that derails any type of momentum the story has or tries to have. Just a shame.

Again, this has all brought me a little closer to understanding the whole Twilight craze, how woman around the world can enjoy something that's not particularly well written but hits all the right romantic wish-fulfillment buttons for them. Hell, I like crap too. I mean I love me some sword and sorcery, swords and sandals, big guys fighting bigger monsters, saving the day and getting the girls, so who am I to judge right? Still, there was an interesting plot here, one that I truly believed would have been better suited and far more interesting if the romance sub-plot took a back seat, but then that would be a wholly different novel and one that perhaps wouldn't have been as financially successful. So yeah, it's getting great reviews from the women who read it so if you too are a woman and like your books with more romance than substance then by all means, Touched by an Alien is the perfect one for you. Man, what a terrible title for a book.

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