Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll
Catherine Asaro's latest Skolian novel is Diamond Star, about the quiet brother Del-Kurj who hasn't been mentioned much. The prurient (like me) will have noticed that he shows up in the genealogies as married to his twin sister -- ew! We know learn that as a rebellious young man he took some drugs that reacted very badly with his unique brain chemistry and was slapped in a cyrogenic vat for decades until the government could figure out how to fix him. His sister was so upset she went in one for a while as well, but then the government got all panicky about losing some of their star telepaths and secretly impregnated her with his baby. Twice. Asaro's characters aren't into abortion, so she loved and raised the children. Whew.
Anyway, after Del gets out of the vat, he has a lot of re-hab to do, and a lot of changes to face. The rest of his family has grown up around him -- instead of the third oldest, he is now the youngest. His other siblings have gone on to super-achieving lives; several siblings have died in the war, his baby brother is now the head of the military and one of the most powerful men in the universe. Del is the illiterate brother (severe dyslexia) who majored in screwing up his life. But he can sing. And he discovers that he loves the current Earth's version of rock n' roll, and starts climbing the charts. No one on Earth knows where he is from, with the exception of the military who had basically kidnapped him and his family in an earlier book. Del struggles to handle his new fame when he's never even had to carry his own money before, and has never had a real relationship with a woman. His family has never taken his music seriously -- they are used to "real" music that the bards sing, not the loud crazy stuff. Brother Kelric thinks Del doesn't have the sense to come in out of the rain, and tries to protect him as if he were a child. Del continues to make mistakes, picking up a new addiction in an attempt to handle the pressure of performing (not easy for an empath, especially live and in concert) but also learns to stand on his own.
I was interested in seeing the family and society from a very different angle, and although Del's immaturity and inferiority complex got a little wearying I liked watching him slowly develop. I never believed in the love story between him and his producer, but I liked that he was trying to have a relationship. And the battle with the Aristo at the end gave the book a nice plot boost, and allows me to use my favorite tag. Not a good introduction to the series, but a nice read for people who are alrady fans. B-
ETA: And, it works for the A-Z Wednesday from Reading at the Beach -- the letter D!