“Rogue Marauder: The Adventures of Haunalyn, Korbot, and Sneighd Book 1″ by Cherie Waggie

Space Opera is a style of writing that stretches all the literary conventions in search of an entertaining read. Sometimes this results in great enjoyment. At other times, it descends into just plain poor writing.  “Rogue Marauder” has its share of both.

This is a sweeping, rambling collection of every cliché ever invented in the Space Opera genre. Plotwise, it pushes implausibility to the edge and shoves it over. The tale is full of improbable stock characters and situations: fiercely independent edge-of-the-law spaceship pilots, unsavoury criminal masterminds, figures in black cloaks hovering behind the scenes, old friends appearing out of nowhere, and unlikely reveals of past indiscretions. The ending is deus ex machina run wild, a necessity considering the number of loose ends that need to be tied up.

Having maligned the nature of the cast, I hasten to add that the main characters are all sorts of entertaining. True fans of the genre will find them living up to all the complexities and self-contradictions that we know and love.

The futuristic setting is a bit hazy, missing the attention usually given to the social and scientific milieu by this genre. Weapons, spaceships, and other technology seem only created for the convenience of furthering the plot, rather than through a systematic development of a visionary environment.

I find myself at odds with the author on interpersonal relationships. This novel is ruled by the ratty old meme that in order for two young people to fall in love they have to hate each other first. This is par for the course in this sort of book, but what is missing is any reasonable motivation for the negative emotions. As a reader, I have no interest in spending several hours of my life with people who do nothing but rag on each other for no reason. And least acceptable of all, an adult male giving a seventeen-year-old girl a disciplinary spanking is completely uncalled for in modern YA literature.

Despite the out-of-control nature of the writing, this book is a fun read, with plenty of action, sympathetic characters and, basically, everything you ever wanted in a Space Opera. And more.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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