Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The System is a science fiction romance set in a future where the human race has relocated to a system of six Earth-like planets after exhausting the resources of the original Earth. The story follows the exploits of liberated prostitute Capri, brooding gunman Brody, and a crew of good-natured space pirates as their business-as-usual turns upside down and inside out.
Capri is an alluring young prostitute with a painful past; Brody is a ruthless mercenary for a crew of thieves from the spaceship Gypsy Lass. When he enters her brothel, the attraction between them is instant, electric, and too much for him to handle. After a robbery gone wrong, the crew takes Capri hostage, forcing her and Brody to remain in close quarters until they see fit to drop her on another planet.
But Capri’s plight and the intense feelings between her and Brody turn out to be the least of their problems. Together–whether they like it or not–they uncover a secret no one in the whole System could have expected.
Fun, Fast-Paced Ride Leaves the World a Blur
Overall, I really liked this book. I had thus far been a purely paperback girl, but I saw a review of this book, read the Amazon description and the first couple of pages, and decided that I really wanted to read it. So I downloaded Kindle for PC and read half of it in one sitting.
The System is incredibly engaging. The tension between Capri and Brody–sexual AND emotional–begins almost immediately, followed a page later by an explosive introduction to the rest of the major characters. After that, the action didn’t let up. Every time you thought things were going to go according to plan…they didn’t. This unpredictability was really effective. I was saying “Oh my god!” and “You’re kidding me!” with every turn. It excited rather than annoyed me.
And speaking of excited…let’s just say I shouldn’t have been reading this at work this afternoon, but I had to anyway.
Ahem. All that being said, now that I’m finished I almost feel that it went too fast. Part of this is my own speed-reading and my eagerness to find out what was next, but I would have really enjoyed a bit more downtime. I wanted a little bit more about the different technology, what was the same, what was different. I imagined the setting being somewhere between Firefly and Neuromancer, and while this was more than enough to get me through the story, I wanted a little bit more to really give it that sci-fi feel: descriptions of normal life on the spaceship, for example, or a trip to a modern city as well as the shady places. Something unique to this world concept.
I understand from Heather Lin’s blog that there may be a sequel in the works, so hopefully it expands on the world-building.
Characters That Act Like Real People?!
Capri and Brody are an interesting pair, to say the least. It took me a while to get over the fact that I hate the name Capri and that Brody rhymes with grody (although maybe that was intentional?). I liked that tough-guy Brody’s soft side wasn’t actually all that soft. I might not like him as much in real life, but too many male characters make these gargantuan leaps between Dirty Harry and a doe-eyed puppy who just wants to cuddle. It felt more authentic to see Brody’s gruff attempts at doin’ stuff that, you know, people in love do.
You all know how I like my strong lady characters, and I can’t find a whole lot to complain about with Capri. She went from a comfortable life in what appeared to be a fairly nice, clean, equitable brothel (only five customers a night!) to being a lookout for a pirate crew and getting dumped on a prison planet full of murderers, rapists, and corrupt government officials. A lot of times during this transition, female characters get a complete personality overhaul. They go from being soft, untried girls to total bad-asses who laugh in the face of danger. Uh-uh. Luckily, this doesn’t happen with Capri. She has both spark and weakness from the very beginning (go figure) and her personality carries through unchanged from beginning to end, except for gaining more confidence and dignity and all those other personal strengths you develop when you’re nineteen.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
The System is well-written and action-packed, and has endearing characters and a tumultuous love story that will certainly have you engrossed. Though it could use with a little more meat on its bones, this book is a very satisfying read. I recommend it for those who enjoy pirates, sex, and adventure.