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Nicole Murphy has been a primary school teacher, bookstore owner, journalist and checkout chick. She grew up reading Tolkien, Lewis and Le Guin; spent her twenties discovering Quick, Lindsey and Deveraux and lives her love of science fiction and fantasy through her involvement with the Conflux science fiction conventions. Her urban fantasy trilogy Dream of Asarlai is published in Australia/NZ by HarperVoyager. She lives with her husband in Queanbeyan, NSW. Visit her website http://nicolermurphy.com
on May 22, 2012 :
“The Right Connection” is a fantasy-romance about Taylor, a soldier determined to save missing children from the clutches of the enemy. In order for the mission to be a success, she must develop a psychic connection with fighter Roden. However, Taylor’s last such connection with a male fighter ended in her sexual assault, a terrible history which she must overcome for the wellbeing of the children.
As you might imagine, given this is a romance story, a connection develops between Taylor and Roden on a deeper level than that required for the mission, but there are a number of twists and turns along the way, and this connection in itself becomes an issue with which Taylor must contend.
I really didn’t know what to expect from “The Right Connection”, mostly because I’m more familiar with contemporary urban fantasy stories than those set in an invented or altered world. Often I find these sort of fantasies can be draining, particularly if the world building comes to dominate the story and detract from the plot and characters, which are what I’m really interested in. This was not the case with “The Right Connection”. Murphy successfully and seamlessly wove her world building into the plot without seeming pretentious and without becoming confusing. It was also not excessive, rather assumed the reader had the imagination to fill in the gaps. I really appreciated this.
The characterisation was good. I found Taylor to be an accessible and relatable character. She wasn’t boring either, but had a developed sense of independence and strength, combined with a desire for self improvement, which was quite refreshing. I didn’t particularly like Roden. His arrogance irritated me, though I realise this is a trait desired and enjoyed by many romance readers as part of the character’s development. Certainly, his vulnerability was also captured and developed nicely as the story progressed. Murphy’s snappy sense of humour is definitely catching, and comes through in both the hero and heroine’s characterisations as endearing and appealing.
The sexual assault story was particularly interesting. This is one of those times when fantasy is used to deal with a difficult subject, and in this case it was done really well. Interestingly, Taylor explains that, despite having overcome the physical trauma of the incident and having had sex since, she continues to be burdened with an emotional trauma which affects her on a much deeper level. She comes to realise that her ability to trust another man psychologically, or psychically, is the real problem that she must deal with. I think, in this respect, “The Right Connection” has made a very perceptive discussion of a very complex issue. Also, in this respect, I think that Roden was a good character, since it is his understanding of Taylor that allows her to eventually trust him.
“The Right Connection” is a fun read that deals with some heavy issues along the way. I was completely invested in the love story, enjoyed the plot, and ended the story in happy-tears. Always a good thing from a tragic romantic.
(review of free book)