2 out of 4 stars
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It's rare that a book that leaves me with as many mixed feelings as did Milky Way Tango by Roger Alan Bonner. There were moments of brilliance - futuristic scenes and technology that left me breathless. But, then there were the times when I wondered what exactly was going through the author's head. It was fascinating... and frustrating.
Jimmy and Sarah are deeply, unequivocally, madly in love. Their time together, however, is quickly coming to an end as they are both about to attend separate colleges planets apart. As is the case often in life, things don't go exactly according to plan. One night, while at a popular hangout, Jimmy kills two men. Justifiable homicide it may be, as the men were about to plunder, pilfer and rape, but the legal system in Ambrosa is not exactly above board. Jimmy is sentenced to 10 long years at the edge of the belt with no human companionship allowed. Will Jimmy and Sarah's relationship survive this time? To what lengths will they go to keep their love alive?
Let's start with what I enjoyed. I enjoyed the futuristic setting to the story. Sarah goes to college, but it's changed a bit in the future. Gone are the traditional classrooms with professors. Oh no. Now, you learn by virtual reality at your own pace. In addition, there is something called a snooper which can guide you around campus, tells you when you have a meeting and much more. It's almost like your own personal PDA but much more advanced. The human race is now spread out across many planets and solar systems. There are manned navigational arrays to help star ships which, by the way, are complete with jump engines. If you're a sci fi geek, like me, you're on the edge of your seat already.
Furthermore, I appreciated the realism of the characters. As you can tell from the summary, Jimmy is not your average young adult angel that you see in most stories. He has flaws, weaknesses as does Sarah. At one point, Sarah is very bitter about what happened to Jimmy, and why shouldn't she be? But, you find yourself asking if she'll even recover from this fatal blow. There is also an artificial intelligence that Jimmy interacts with that adds another dimension to the character list.
Unfortunately, the book is not all sunshine and roses. There were random sex scenes littered throughout the pages. Even if you enjoy eroticism, these were not at all sensual or sexy. It was more of a random encounter between two consenting adults rather than being romantic or loving. The partners were never the same twice, and there was quite a variety regarding the hook-ups. Rather than furthering the plot, they served only to make it more disjointed.
Additionally, you haven't met a cliffhanger until you've read this book. There is a sequel, so it is somewhat justified. Even so, this was not a few minor issues left unspoken. This was an on-the-edge-of-your-seat, did that really happen, what is going on, major plot arc left unresolved. Nothing was wrapped up, and the author absolutely left me hanging. It just didn't seem like a good suspense to me. It was more of a "I can't believe he just went there" feeling.
There were also some major formatting errors that left me with no doubt that there was no professional editing. The first thing I ran across was the lack of contents in the table of contents. There was also no delineation when the characters were thinking. What's more, any time the font was in italics, there were huge spaces between words and punctuation. Luckily, the actual misspelled or missing words were kept to a minimum. I conclude, therefore, that at least it did undergo proofreading.
All in all, Milk Way Tango earns a 2 out of 4 stars from me. I removed 1 star for the editing issues and another for the major cliffhanger and disjointed nature of the story. I would recommend this for those that enjoy futuristic fiction that are willing to overlook indiscriminate, unprovocative erotic scenes and an ending that is unsatisfying. For my part, I don't think I'll be seeking out the sequel for this one.
Milky Way Tango
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