15 July 2010

Review: Stardoc, by S.L. Viehl

I've been on a SFR reading jag lately and just "discovered" S.L. Viehl, who has a pretty extensive backlist focused on the character of Cherijo Grey Veil, an interstellar physician. Stardoc is the first book in the series. I picked up Stardoc because I'm a fan of romance, SF, and fiction that involves medicine or medical mysteries (Ariana Franklin's series about medieval forensic investigator is on my auto-buy list).

The heroine, due to a conflict with her incredibly overbearing father, leaves home for the frontier colony planet of K-2, where she encounters medical challenges in the form of over 200 different species. I really enjoyed the parts of the book that took place at the clinic as Cherijo tries to get a handle on alien physiology.

But I found Cherijo herself a less-than-sympathetic heroine. She seems pretty darn tempermental and reminded me of why I don't care for the Anita Blake books--like Anita, she's always on the verge of shooting/hitting/beating someone or stomping off in a huff. Although Stardoc has been classified as SFR by some readers, I consider it SF with romantic elements. There's a love interest, but this potentially fascinating character is incompletely developed. And I was mystified by his attraction to the heroine, who seems to forget he exists with alarming regularity.

While not a keeper for me, I enjoyed the premise of Stardoc and found the book to be a fast-paced read with a ton of interesting characters, many of whom I'd like to spend more time with, such as the compelling Duncan Reever.

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