Your Planet or Mine?
Jana Jasper is the nine-year-old heir to an American political family dynasty. The only problem? Unlike the rest of her family she wasn’t blessed with the gift of gab; in fact, she’s mute. That is, until she meets a strange boy who glows, can fly, and who seems to cure her inability to speak. That boy is Cavin of Far Star, the son of a scientist who is scouting Earth to see if it will be a good acquisition for a group of planets known as the “Coalition.”
Cavin and Jana never forget each other and when now-grown Cavin discovers that the Coalition is indeed planning to acquire Earth, he decides to save Jana and the planet. Jana has become a California state senator whose family is involved in a political scandal. She can’t afford any more bad press since her re-election is coming up, and when she meets Cavin dressed like video game warrior while in the grocery store, she thinks she’s being set up by her political opponents.
A Coalition assasin is on Cavin’s trail though, determined to prevent him from warning Earth about the impending invasion. Jana and Cavin go on the run…and on the run…and on the run… (they seem to spend the entire book running from one person or another, to one place or another.) They soon discover that there are several different people after them and that not all of the assassination attempts are meant for Cavin; someone wants Jana dead too, and all signs point to her former fiancé. Along the way they, of course, fall in love.
Some may find the premise romantic, but I found it nonsensical. Cavin and Jana both say that they have been madly in love with the other – never thought about anyone else, both knowing the other was the only one for them – since they were nine. Having only met once. Even worse, Cavin seems like a terrible cad if that’s the case, freely admitting that he sowed his wild oats while waiting for Jana to grow up. (Jana’s reasoning for her relationships with other men is that she wasn’t sure that Cavin was even real, which seems contradictory to her later claims that she’s always been in love with him.)
The blurb on the back of this book misled me. It indicated a fun, farcical romantic comedy, but the book takes itself too seriously for that to be true. Susan Grant has a light touch, and her writing is easy to read, but the characters of Cavin and Jana were humorless and self-important and not easy to root for.
My biggest problem though, is that the book felt stale and lacking in originality. Grant was evidently aware of this because she freely threw in references to, and borrowed SF elements from Halo, The Terminator, Star Wars, Star Trek, Independence Day, and many more. Nothing surprised me, nothing felt new. In reading it, I really felt like I was reading fan-fiction – well written fan-fiction, but fan-fiction nonetheless. This book wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t good, and the unimaginitive Science Fiction elements of the story really bothered me. With SF you can create and do just about anything, so I just don’t understand why the author relied on devices that have been standard fare since the 1950’s. The writing was certainly capable, but the Your Planet or Mine? lacked any spark.