fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Quantum Rose by Catherine Asaro science fiction book reviewsThe Quantum Rose by Catherine Asaro

I have really really tried to give Catherine Asaro’s SKOLIAN EMPIRE series a fair chance. As I keep saying in my reviews, this should have been just my thing — space opera written by a female physicist. I should be loving this! Instead, to get straight to the point, so far these books have been mostly insipid insta-love romances with some quantum theory thrown in. As a woman who enjoys hard science fiction, and especially quantum theory, I was disappointed to find that these books do not appeal to me. It’s hard to imagine that they appeal much to romance readers, either, because the romances are so dull. A couple of the books (those featuring Kelric) might better be labeled erotica rather than romance.

The Quantum Rose is the sixth SKOLIAN EMPIRE book (going in publication order), but it can definitely stand alone. This one takes place on a backwater planet where civilization is declining. Technology has been lost, infant mortality rates are high, and humanity is dying off. One of the provinces of this planet is ruled (if you can call it that) by Kamoj Quanta Argali, a gorgeous buxom young woman who is about to marry the tall, gorgeous and beautifully built Jax Ironbridge, the domineering sadistic ruler of a neighboring province. But then Havyrl Lionstar, one of the exiled Ruby Dynasty’s gorgeous princes shows up — a dark brooding man who wears a mask and drinks a lot — and instantly falls in love with Kamoj when he sees her from afar, bathing in the river. Without even meeting her, he proposes marriage.

Thus begins a love triangle that involves kidnappings, rapes, duels, and way too many instances of Kamoj cradling one of these gorgeous men’s heads on her lap as she massages his temples. (Yes, I am aware that I have used the word “gorgeous” too many times in this review. I’m trying to make a point.) Kamoj is passive and mostly gets pulled back and forth between Ironbridge and Lionstar. Her passivity comes from the genetic engineering that bred the people of her planet (another common device in this series). She’s been bred to be subservient to any man who claims her as his own. This makes her a dull heroine who seems to be at the mercy of the plot rather than the other way around. (Plus, I just hate those kinds of characters anyway.) (And, as a governor of a province, she’s afraid of thunder?? Gimme a break.)

This part of the story, which Asaro says is a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” deals with the tragedies of post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol addiction and sexual abuse, though not in any way that’s new or interesting. Because characters give the usual sort of transparent rhetoric (“I can stop anytime I want” and “I didn’t want to hurt you, but it’s your fault because you made me mad”) these situations felt like they were dealt with in a shallow stereotypical way and didn’t manage to provoke my sympathies at all.

About three-fourths of the way through, the story changes into a revolutionary tale as people work together to try to evict an occupying force from a planet. I was slightly interested in this aspect of the story because it relates to the larger political plot involving the Ruby Dynasty, the Traders, and the Allied colonies of Earth. However, this plotline was resolved too quickly and easily with a rushed and unbelievable ending.

I listened to the audio version of The Quantum Rose which is 13.5 hours long and narrated by Anna Fields. Once again, she uses an unappealing voice for the Ruby Dynasty prince, making him sound like a malfunctioning robot. It’s hard to think of him as sexy with that voice, though even if I had read this in print, I don’t think I would have liked him much better because he’s so shallowly portrayed. My audio version, which I downloaded from Audible, seems to be missing the Author’s Note which is in the print version. Apparently it explains how The Quantum Rose is an allegory for scattering theory. With the character names, chapter titles, and all the talk of resonance, I picked up on this while reading the text, but I’m sure I don’t know enough about scattering theory to detect all of the symbolism.

Perhaps the quantum theory allegory is the reason The Quantum Rose won the Nebula Award for best Science Fiction Novel in 2001 despite being up against some much better books, including George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords. I suppose the premise is clever, but that doesn’t mean it makes a great story.

Skolian Empire — (1995- ) Science Fiction. Publisher: A rivalry between the Skolian and Trader empires escalates into all-out war that threatens to bring every Skolian citizen into slavery or result in the destruction of both sides.

Catherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby DiceCatherine Asaro Skolian Empire science fiction book review 1. Primary Inversion 2. Catch the Lightning 3. The Radiant Seas 4. The Last Hawk 5. Ascendant Sun 6. The Quantum Rose 7. Spherical Harmonic 8. The Moon's Shadow 9. Skyfall 10. Schism 11. The Final Key 12. The Ruby Dicefantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsAurora in Four Voicesfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Bronze Skies (Skolian Empire Series Book 8) Kindle Edition by Catherine Asaro  (Author)

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  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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