The Champion of Barésh (Star World Frontier) (Volume 1) - Susan Grant

A loose end from a series orphaned either by a publisher saying "we don't want <insert sub-genre here>" or by a publisher going under. Since I think the first three of the series were published by Dorcester, might be a little of both. Regardless...


Star Princess kinda left a loose end in the form of the H's brother who escaped house arrest to save his brother and the sister of the hero from Star Prince. The author changed publishers somewhere around in here so the series was not completed. That was years ago, and it's been a while since I read the original three. I was delighted to discover she had a new one out, and it was Klark. I really feel I should have pulled the others from my shelf for a refresher though. I wasn't totally lost, mind you.


This picks up several months after Star Princesss and I kinda suspect the author went back and refreshed herself with the world she'd created first - there was nothing that screamed "waitaminute!"


The H - the aforementioned brother who'd been on house arrest and escaped (by removing a tracker chip from his head) - has been on house arrest of a different sort - some kind of beam similar to an invisible fence, that would alert anyone if he left. His sentence is commuted for whatever reason, and he goes back to working with his bajha team.


The h has been playing bajha in disguise because the sport isn't open to women. She caught a scout's attention, and he and a couple of his team go to see and recruit her. He at least figures out she's a female and after a bit of soul searching, decides to aid in the deception.


Bajha is like fencing with light sabers...blindfolded. Only, the lightsabers are more electroshock or tazer than laser knife. And to be good at it means using a sixth sense...kinda like the Force. So...our H/h connect in some odd ways.


Eventually, her skills make other teams suspicious of enhancement tech and the commission attempts to force a physical. He refuses to let them on the grounds that she's a woman, so she's banned for unspecified reasons.


They go their separate ways which lasts all of half a day due to his uncle telling him not to be stupid like he was - go forth and fetch thy woman. Meanwhile the team, and others work to figure out how to get the commission to change their minds. Which does work - public pressure and all that.


So did i like it? Yes. Neither character made me want to shoot something - point in their favor. H was in on the deception (hate it when heroes appear clueless). Heroine was a realist. H didn't give her false hopes. The supporting cast was entertaining (the part where they tried to give their new team member a good time by securing "him" a call girl...oh boy... and the h managed to handle it with aplomb. Even better - the H didn't wig out at finding her missing).


If I had gripes, they were...the several chapters before the h even met the H. I get that they were on opposite sides of the galaxy seemingly but the time taken... and... the whole training and try-outs particularly for women. I'm not sure why this bothers me - it didn't take up that much page count. Maybe because the whole galaxy appeared to have changed its mind in an instant and now everyone is ok with women playing. I dunno - maybe I would have liked to have seen that worked through over another book or three.