Sacrifice by Kate Pearce

Sometimes, it can be fun to read a spicier Sci Fi – something more about interactions than space battles, people rather than spaceships. Sacrifice, however, was so poorly written that not only was I not having fun, I was completely bored and trying really hard not to snicker in derision with each page turn. Characters, plotting, pacing, world building, even the supposedly kinky scenes were flatter than the bugs on my car’s windshield – and just as messy.


Story (such as it is): There’s a planet. A girl from Earth is trapped there and falsely imprisoned but so full of righteousness, that even though she’s sentenced to death, she merrily beats up everyone who comes near her (and kills them, too). Then a big hulky alpha male arrives one day, offers her a pardon from her sentence if she will ‘do whatever he says without question’. She of course says yes, he treats her inexplicably bad all for a ‘tough love’ for some tribute she will have to undertake with an alien and survive. All to save his world. Cue anime tentacle rape monster (that is implied but never described).

The first half of the book was the ‘training’ – preparing her to survive being a tribute to the aliens (which our alpha male is not allowed to tell her anything about, of course). This includes being caged, treated like a dog, forced sex, and swordfighting.  When the tribute happens mid-book, it’s skipped over nearly completely though she’s supposedly there for a week and it’s very traumatic. The next half of the book is moping, maudlin, and vanilla sex but only if she wants it.

The first problem with the book is that what little we were given about the tribute makes absolutely NO SENSE to her training. It was so pointless and anticlimatic – especially since the second half of the book is so boring. Because there is no worldbuilding, we have no idea why no one believes in a place called Earth or why she’s claiming to be from there. No idea why the tribute is done other than because the aliens say so. Why no one seems interested in doing anything about it. How ANY of the training helped her ‘survive’ and what exactly she survived. It was all just so random.

Because the writing is so flat, it feels like the author banged this out on her computer one afternoon as an outline and then never flushed out worldbuilding, story, or characters . The sentence structures are short and sloppy, almost staccatto. It’s hard to get into a rhythm for the plot or characters as a result. All told, I think this book took a total of 30 minutes to read – it was that loosely written.

As with all the scenes, the ‘kinky’ parts in the beginning were so egregiously underwritten as to be completely unerotic and certainly not titillating. It was far too, “I like them big, come get me handsome and make me howl.’ type of action that was demeaning in a way not intended. We had as much depth in the sex scenes as a backyard porno movie. It wasn’t even written well enough to be distasteful.

So, yes, sometimes sci fi can be something fun when in the hands of a good writer. And other times, it’s just bad – really, really, bad. I want those 30 minutes back. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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