I really wanted to like Ariel’s Dance . I like futuristic movies, but I’ve never really tried science fiction or futuristic romance. At first, I thought my lack of avid interest in this type of romance might be the problem. But I separated the romance from the futuristic portion and found I still didn’t really like the book . Though I wanted to discover a whole new side of romance with this book, it just didn’t happen.
The story centers around Dekkan Um Stonnor’s quest to get his family’s heirloom ring back. Dekkan hails from the planet of Amitan. The inhabitants of this planet are very proper and conservative. There is no sex outside of marriage, and couples are pure when they marry. To ensure this, every single man and woman wears a hormone-inhibiting patch. The patch is used to make sure no one gets the “itch” to have sex outside of matrimony. Dekkan’s father had visited the pleasure planet of Mariposa and lost the ring gambling. Dekkan enlists the help of Ariel, a dancer on the planet, to get the ring back. Ariel is a beauty with a brain who wants to study at an academy. She agrees to help Dekkan on one condition – he must help her get into the academy of her choice.
From the moment Dekkan sees Ariel, he wants her in a big way. His patch conveniently runs out and he is left to fend for himself in the big world of adult sexuality. Do I sound a little sarcastic? Probably. Dekkan is constantly initiating things with Ariel and then blaming her for it, which is ridiculous and annoying. This man is an interstellar negotiator and he turns into a babbling moron around Ariel. Yes, I know, that’s the point, love will do that to you, but I didn’t buy it here. When Ariel and Dekkan aren’t trying to quell their growing lust, they are working on getting the ring back. Conveniently (There are many coincidences in this book), the ring was lost at Ariel’s father’s gaming hall. He in turn, gave it to his former paramour, Floribunda (the name fits too), a madame. Things get confusing as Ariel tells her father she and Dekkan are engaged. Dekkan’s father, friend, and fiancee, Sebella, then appear on the scene. Sebella is typical “other woman” material – so shrill my head rang whenever she spoke. There’s a marriage (not the one you’d expect) and general chaos and loudness. The decibel level in this book is so high readers can expect a headache from reading it.
As the ring plot is worked through and worked out, Dekkan and Ariel are making love anywhere and everywhere. Unfortunately, I never felt as if they get to really know each other and the trust issues were never resolved. One sure-fire mood-killer was the fact that both Dekkan and the reader are led to believe that Ariel and Dekkan’s father were lovers, which is very distasteful. Although eventually he says he never believed it, I thought it might have been true. This alone pretty much killed the book for me.
There was some entertainment to be found in Ariel’s Dance. The character of Floribunda was wonderful, although her complete turnabout towards the end of the book was grating. Dekkan’s reaction to Ariel’s clothing was amusing, and I liked the character of Brolla, Dekkan’s friend and Sebella’s…um…chaperon. But all in all, there was a little too much chaos and too many coincidences in the book for me. It was too predictable, and when it wasn’t, it was distasteful. There were also an overabundance of misunderstandings in the book, fueled by a lack of communication between the main characters.
I don’t think that this soured me on reading futuristics, but you know what they say – once bitten, twice shy.