Amazon Digital Services, 2015
I adored Ed Hoornaert’s Rescuing Prince Charming, the most recent book in the Alien Contact for Idiots series, so when I saw that the first installment was free on Instafreebie, I snagged a copy.
This novel helped fill in a lot of the back story from the later book. In particular, Prince Charming has numerous references to bad boy Prince Reese Eaglesbrood’s older brother, King Tro, and his Queen Elinor. Alien Contact for Idiots is their story.
Trying to escape the ecological catastrophe engulfing their alternate, future version of Earth, the Kwadrans—a felicitous mixture of Native American, Spanish, French and Chinese genetic material—succeed in transporting their entire country—a parallel universe version of Vancouver Island—to the present day. The sudden appearance of a huge land mass off the Pacific Northwest coast naturally causes great consternation worldwide. Rushing to get a jump on the competition, the president of the US sends xenobiologist Dr. Elinor Harmon to lead a team making first contact. Ell has dreamed of this opportunity her entire life, but the Kwadrans don’t exactly fit her expectations. For one thing, they can speak English. For another, their apparent leader Lontreau Eaglesbrood is such a smart, sexy hunk that she has a really difficult time keeping her mind on science.
Whisked away to a remote resort for multiple weeks of quarantine, Ell wrestles with her attraction to Prince Tro while trying to reassure her handlers and the world at large that the Kwadrans come in peace. Meanwhile, Tro struggles to maintain his power amid the fractious politics that characterize the many Kwadran clans. Even more of a challenge, he has to resolve the conflict between his royal responsibility to manipulate Ell for the good of Kwadra and the sympathy, admiration and love she inspires in him.
Ell’s daily television show, “Alien Contact for Idiots”, is intended to introduce the Kwadrans to the contemporary human race and convince the world that they’re no threat. The show is a tremendous success. When all the humans in quarantine fall ill with a virulent flu-like disease, however, it seems that a war with the Kwadrans is inevitable.
Once again, Ed Hoornaert has created a lively, humorous novel with vivid characters and a resourceful but slightly klutzy heroine. I particularly enjoyed his portrayal of the minor characters, including the oafish, profanity-loving Duke Insook and Tro’s overbearing mother, Princess Isabella. The penultimate chapter is a slapstick ensemble piece that pulls everyone into the tale, including Ell’s younger sister and mother.
It probably would have been better for me to read this book before Prince Charming, though. I found myself making frequent comparisons, and was struck by the similarities between the two. Also, since I already knew the story of Kwadra’s arrival, some of the effect of this first tale was spoiled.
As you probably know, I specialize in erotic fiction. One thing that impressed me about this novel was how skillfully the author wrote the sex scenes. Note that there’s no explicitly described sex in this book (or in Prince Charming) but the author still manages to convey what’s going on. The tension between Tro and Ell is palpable—as is their joy when they finally consummate their love. It takes talent to keep the bedroom door open and let you feel the characters’ arousal, while still keeping the prose PG.
Overall, Alien Contact for Idiots is another creative, funny, romantic story from “Mr. Valentine”. I know he’s almost finished with a new book in this series. I look forward to reading it.