Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells

From Goodreads:
NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it.

The ship itself remained silent, drifting.

Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it’s an adventure she can’t refuse.

The ship isn’t vacant, as they presumed.

A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane’s head, "You are home."

Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien’s help to survive.

My Take:
***Review contains spoilers***

I loved the idea behind this story, but there were some things that kept throwing me out of the story. The F bomb. Sometimes the dialogue felt unrealistic or simply repetitive, and Jane Holloway was apparently Wonder Woman while being super humble about it. That sounds harsher than I mean it. I actually liked Jane because she didn't give up.

It took a bit to adjust to the back and forth in time of some of the scenes, but I understand why it was necessary. The switch in points of view as well as moving back and forth in time helped augment the feeling that you couldn't believe everything that was happening. Jane is being manipulated the whole time, tested, and maneuvered into making the choice the alien Ei'Brai wants her to make. He even goes so far as to give Jane the sexual encounter she'd been dreaming of having with Bergen as, wait for it, a very realistic dream. It boils down to mental rape in a way. In the end, things have worked themselves out. Sort of. Jane is now captain of the ship, several of her team look like they might stay with her for the next journey, and Bergen is just as determined to make a relationship work with her.

It was a good book. I think the things that bothered me were simply because this reminded me of another book where the captain has to "link" with the ship in order for it to work. That book however didn't use language or sex to move the plot along--and I loved that. (Anyone here know what that book might be?)

I give Fluency a 3.75 and an R rating for use of the F word and some the one scene.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
 R--swearing (F bomb), on “screen” sex, sometimes feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, but not always


  1. The linking part actually sounds like my last book. No F-bombs in mine though.

  2. It was your book! Proof good sci-fi doesn’t have to be laden with that word.

    1. Wow! I wasn't sure.
      I can handle it when reading if it's in the right context, but it's often not needed. And I'd never put it in my own work.

  3. Sounds like an interesting concept. I'm not bothered by language, though, unless there's a lot of it.


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