Blade Dancer by S. L. Viehl

I'm feeling lazy but I'll write a review anyway. I want to go read another book actually.

This is the first S. L. Viehl book I've read, though I've been meaning to since the beginning of this year. I regularly read her blog which she updates almost every day (she's so organized, I don't know how she does that and writes sooo many books). Its an informatative blog about writing, books and other useful things to know, plus she often has contests on there.

Blade Dancer is set in the Stardoc universe but is not part of that series. The story is about a half alien (Jorenian), half human ("Terran") woman named Jory who is a champion shockball player. When her mother dies suddenly, Jory's secret – that shes not fully human, is discovered and she's kicked off the planet. The only reason Jory was sticking around anyway is for her mother, so now she's free to go back to her mother's homeplanet and carry out her mom's last wish – by seeking out the small group of half-breed Jorenians like herself to tell them something important about themselves. After that, she is planning to find and kill her father. Seeking revenge requires skill so Jory decides to train in blade dancing at a school for assassins in Tana.

Viehl is really good at making the reader feel annoyed at prejudices and injustices that the main character goes through – Jory is spit upon by so many people when it is discovered she's half alien – even after she was previously adored by many for her Shockball career – that her face drips with it. First: gross. Second: extreme no? I am still not quite sure WHY Terrans hate aliens so much, but Viehl mentions that they want to keep their race pure and that they have huge problems with uprooting the alien underground (was a whole planet is this prejudiced though? I'm not sure if it felt that way to Jory or if it actually was that way). Anyway, this stuff keeps happening. When she leaves Terra, she is disliked because she looks Terran, who are considered bigotted scum by many alien species. When she arrives in Joren, she is asked to leave by the head of her own Clan, and other Clans aren't friendly either. AND then after that, when she gets to Tana, she and her group are targeted by a bully at the school. All this makes Jory this very toughskinned character, who makes a lot of wry quips and does a lot of butt-kicking but also secretly cries into her pillow once or twice.

I started this book at 8pm last night and stay up till 1am to finish it. I don't know - it hit the spot! Its easy to read, and though sometimes gory with the fight scenes; rather satisfying. There was something a little predictable in it – a twist or two that I expected, a romance I expected, but I wanted to keep reading to make SURE it ended the way I expected, if that makes sense.  I loved the world-building: especially the training and how they moved from one level to the next. I also liked all the different kinds of aliens and their abilities and customs. The book was fast-paced – Jorry goes from one situation to another and has to keep herself and her friends safe and you want them all to come out ok, but there is death and grizzly things and cruelty to keep you a little worried. I have a soft heart. I can't take some characters I like dying.

My general feeling - 8.5 or 9 (Really liked it, made me stay up) / Plot - 7.5 (also really liked it, slightly predictable) / Writing style – 6.5 (liked it)

As you can see, I keep switching genres so I don't get bored.

Oh I am so going to start Stardoc soon.

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