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Blade Dancer
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Viehl's (StarDoc) latest far-future space opera boasts un-put-downable action, more potentially lethal twists than an electric eel, a spunky yet vulnerable seven-foot heroine with retractable claws and a blue-skinned supernally endowed warrior hunk who's determined to remain a virgin. Young Jory Rask, veteran of the Terran big league shockball circuit, assembles her six ClanChildren of Honor siblings, half-breed offspring of Jorenian mothers raped by an assortment of alien hooligans and spurned by the warrior culture of paradisical planet Joren. Bent on avenging their mothers' honor, Jory and her spooky sibs join a mysterious assassins' training school of "blade dancers" on the planet Reytalon, where they inevitably distinguish themselves gruesomely in a Ninja-like kill-or-be-dismembered sequence of training levels. Viehl briskly incorporates Jory's adolescent anger and grief for her dead mother into the young woman's hunt for her father, Kieran, who just happens to have become a blade dancer himself. Despite the predictable, breathlessly paced plot, Jory's flip manner and wry one-liners cover a convincingly breaking heart. Viehl's strengths lie less in depth of characterization and motivation than in cinematic fast cuts, splices and tech effects. She also can yank herself back from the brink of the black hole of political polemic with another slashingly good sword fight or a juicily feline love tryst: plenty of fun, plenty of gore, probably plenty of sequels in the offing. (Aug. 5) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Exiled from the planet Terra because she is half-alien, professional athlete Jory Rask seeks a home among the stars. Instead, she finds herself tapped as a recruit for one of the most dangerous professions of all and undergoes intensive training as an assassin, or "blade dancer." The author of Star Doc and Eternity Row tells a tale of vengeance and self-discovery set in the far future. Combining fast action, subtle humor, and an enterprising heroine, this is a good choice for most sf and YA collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

If you like the "Stardoc" series, you'll love "Blade Dancer". Do yourself a monster-sized favor and buy it. ("Alley Writer")

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