Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book Review: Night Vision by Karin Kallmaker

Night Visionby Karin Kallmaker
Karin Kallmaker is a name that pops up a lot on award lists - mostly in the Romance category. not being a huge fan of that genre I started with one of her most scifi titles, Night Vision (originally published under the pseudonym of Laura Adams).

Night Vision is a paranormal romance about lesbians, telepathy, dreams and aliens. It's pretty short, but packs a lot in. Initially it dragged a bit - I'm not really interested in reading about other people's dreams and that - and how terrible it all makes her feel - is about all Julia "Maddy" Maddison has to tell us about, at first.

But the pace starts picking up, as she discovers she isn't the only one suffering the dreams and insomnia in her dull US town, or hearing the same music in the back of her head. She's just the only one who gets it all, and she's the one who bonds with, gets her head rifled through by, and otherwise communicates and coordinates with the mysterious woman calling them.  All the dramatic medical problems at the start turn out to have valid causes, adding depth and little plot twists. And Julia starts to learn to live again, and love.

It also feels a bit too heavily feminist - most of the characters are women, and a fairly mixed bag, but all on the side of good (or irrelevant) in the end. The men... aren't. Admittedly, Maddy has some serious childhood abuse issues with guys, which taint her interactions and opinions (she's aware of this, objectively, but that doesn't help. And as she's our protagonist, everything we read comes through her). But the very few male characters are all Not Good People.

Because it is so short, there isn't a lot to talk about that isn't blatantly spoilerish. And it does feel a bit too short - the bones of a story, that could have been fleshed out. But it's neatly done, and it works, overall. There's sex, conspiracy, psychology, telepathy, and suffering. And there's friendship, a joyous/hopeless quest to free their siren and finally, there's love.

So yeah, I enjoyed it. Enough to go look for the books that featured Kallmaker's main genre, romance. Definitely enough to recommend it.

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