Book Reviews (Fiction)

When Cait O’Keefe arrives at Sanctuary Station, a space base circling Earth, she stirs up a lot of interest. First, she is a lovely sight to behold, with her naturally multicolored hair and her graceful, sinuous dancing. Second, her birth certificate says she has two fathers. Her human mother was married to two Sidhe men, such marriages being a tradition of Sidhe culture. The Sidhe are the fairy people of legend, but the Sidhe are real, not myth. Cait believes that on other worlds of our solar system she will be able to learn about the origins of her people. She accepts a position with a mining expedition, headed for an asteroid named Pot of Gold.

What Cait’s birth certificate does not say, keeping it a useful secret, is that the Sidhe are empathic. Cait knows from the mental projections of Kyle and Deshawn, fellow members of the Pot of Gold expedition, that their interest in her is predatory. Her Sidhe physical strength soon takes care of that little situation. Matters are again complicated when a Lesbian pair begins courting her. By this time Cait has found her own love interests, but her men don’t believe in sharing. Indio and Tiny were best friends until Cait came between them. Throughout company sabotage, stowaways, and piracy, Indio and Tiny continue to scrimmage for Cait’s exclusive attention; until the empathic Cait can’t bear to be in the same room with their grating emotions. They all have serious matters to deal with; they need to find a way so they can work together.

The plot of DOWN CAME A BLACKBIRD has several interesting elements; however, the main focus is on the interactions between people. The individual characters don’t have a lot of depth, but their relationships do. Cait the magnetic charmer, Indio the terribly scarred space veteran, and Tiny the ex-Marine computer whiz, are all presented as spacers with a few main characteristics and important lessons to learn. Author Barbara Karmazin also gives close attention to the interactions of her secondary characters. There are people we don’t really get to know as individuals, but we do learn about them from the way they relate to others. Even the stowaway kitten has its own little core of relationships. Give the characters time, keep reading, and they all become clear.

One thing I had difficulty with is the way Karmazin repeatedly makes the assumption that we know everything she knows. For example, she has a habit of jumping the action from place to place without warning. She might skip the walk from elevator to apartment, and forget to tell us that we have left the elevator. Several times it took me sentences, or paragraphs, to figure out that we weren’t where we used to be. Another example is that she sometimes waits until late in a scene to tell us what Cait is feeling. Because Cait is presented as a young superwoman, we are unlikely to know, unless we are told, when she is hurting so much that it interferes with her thinking.

The reader of DOWN CAME A BLACKBIRD needs to be broadminded about sex, to accept one particular scene in this triad romance. The book as a whole is a fast-paced, mildly titillating read, with two tough but sensitive men and a heroine of admirable strength.The concept of ancient fairy people assimilated into space age society is an intriguing one. It will be followed up in a sequel COVENANTS, to be released in September