Perigee by Elizabeth Bent
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Perigee by Elizabeth Bent
This is one of those books that defies a few conventions and creates an entertaining read that keeps the reader glued to their seat until the end.
The story starts with Madame Avesta Brunner-Tsu doing a (network) search on Dr. Meridian Woodbury.
It then jumps to Meridian having memories of better times with her husband David who has now passed away. She is in Mescon colony of the planet Ception maintaining the colony's water supply and monitoring for contaminants; basically doing work that any number of other people could do. She's almost doing janitorial work and it's her own hands on approach that almost gets her into trouble.
Meridian is still in mourning for David and despite the efforts of her co-worker Armillaria she is not ready to check out her newest neighbor, Dagan. But when her other co-worker Cern decides to drag his feet with a 'plug' in the system Meridian goes to the source of the problem to remove an unusual pink foam-like ball. This ball happens to be laced with an aphrodisiac which eventually leads to Meridian having her first encounter with Dagan just before he rushes her to the hospital.
Someone is trying to spice up life for the colony by inserting the aphrodisiac into the water supply and Meridian appoints herself to find out who. This person is going to become annoyed with her interference and set out to have her eliminated. Those two parts of the story are going to continually intersect within the whole plot that revolves around Meridian and Dugan as they form a tenuous relationship with each other.
This story seems to be written in some form of 3rd person point of view possibly going for omnipotent. At the begining it annoyed me because it has the reader bouncing in and out of the heads of Meridian and Dugan. It's handy for the love scene and the underlying pins of the entire relationship and it's easy to tell whose head you are in. It's just that the switch back and forth is so often with hardly a warning that it becomes tiring.
The story itself reaches a point of maximum interest about half way through that finally distracts the reader from the back and forth emotional breakdown.
As has been mentioned by others, Avesta is a rather unique character in this story. She's not the central character but she has some qualities that make her a strong and independent female protagonist within the story.
One other problem with the Point of View is that no matter how close it brings us to the character's it still has the effect of keeping us distant. I'd love to be able to better relate to Meridian, but there just isn't the proper type of opportunity.
Also the circumstance and the twists in the plot and Meridians own knowledge of the worst of it made it difficult to sympathize with her predicament. It might be that was what Elizabeth Bent was going for in way she portrayed things.
This is a great mystery suspense thriller with some bits of humor. It's located in a universe that makes it great for SFF fans although maybe more for those less interested in pure science content. It also has some content that is mature adult.
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