Strange Love: Light-hearted alien romance

Strange Love by Ann Aguirre science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsStrange Love by Ann Aguirre science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsStrange Love by Ann Aguirre

“This whole alien abduction thing isn’t the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”

Ann Aguirre’s Strange Love (2019) isn’t the type of book I normally read, so keep that in mind. I picked it up because the publisher of the audiobook, Tantor Media, offered me a review copy of their recently released edition (April 2020) and I thought it would be nice to try something different.

The story is about an alien named Zylar who wants to marry but has been unsuccessful in the marriage challenges and is about to be relegated to a life of bachelorhood doing a menial job for his tribe if he doesn’t succeed in the next annual Choosing.

Zylar thinks he’s found a suitable mate from another planet (and species) but, on his way to meet her family and collect her, something goes wrong and he accidentally captures an unsuspecting human woman named Beryl and her dog. After fitting them with interpretation devices, Zylar realizes his mistake.

Strange Love by Ann Aguirre science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsBeryl, who works as a daycare provider, is looking for something new in her life and, when she finds out that women who take care of children are highly esteemed and treasured on Zylar’s planet, she agrees to compete in the challenges and, if they win, she will marry Zylar and start a new life. Perhaps both Zylar and Beryl will find in each other exactly what they’ve been looking for.

Strange Love requires a huge suspension of disbelief — you can’t take it seriously — but readers who enjoy light-hearted science fiction romances, especially those that occur between different species, will likely find Strange Love entertaining. It’s amusing to watch Beryl compete in the challenges and the story is very funny sometimes. I loved the dog who, thanks to the interspecies interpretation device, could talk. There was too much alien porn for my tastes — fondling of chitin, lubricated alien organs, etc. I just couldn’t get into this.

Sarah Puckett narrates the audiobook. I thought she was well cast for this role and I enjoyed her performance. It’s 8.5 hours long.

Strange Love is the first book in Ann Aguirre’s GALACTIC LOVE series. The second is called Love Code. These books appear to be stand-alone stories about interspecies romances. I’m not really into fondling lubricated chitin, so I’ll probably pass on the rest of this series.

Published in 2019. Audiobook published in April 2020. He’s awkward. He’s adorable. He’s alien as hell. Zylar of Kith Balak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he’ll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This ‘human being’ is not the Tiralan match he was looking for. She’s frazzled. She’s fierce. She’s from St. Louis. Beryl Bowman’s mother always said she’d never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn’t know what the hell’s going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants. They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.

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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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4 comments

  1. I think I might be ready for a light-hearted interspecies romance right about now.

  2. Susan Emans /

    I skipped the fondling bits and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the story. I’d forgotten I’d read this one. Thanks for reminding me. The ship is hilarious.

    • Skipping the fondling bits was a good strategy, Susan. (I wonder if that sentence has ever been written before.)

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