Book Review: Alien in the Family by Gini Koch (Series, #3)
Kitty loves being engaged to Martini, her super-sexy alien fiancee from Alpha Centaurion. But she’s not super into the whole wedding planning thing. The issue gets pushed to the forefront, though, when Martini’s estranged extended family on AC announces their intent to visit and determine the worthiness of the marriage. It seems Martini is actually royalty. Meanwhile, some new aliens crop up, and they just so happen to be Amazonian terrorists. It’s an awful lot for the Super-Being Exterminator team to handle.
This is a hard review to write, because I *loved* the first two books in the series but this one left such a sour taste in my mouth, I won’t be continuing on.
The overarching plot is good. Yes, it’s a bit ridiculous that Martini is royalty, but anyone who’s read the first two books in the series should expect and embrace the ridiculousness at this point. The added twists from the AC homeworld make the wedding plot more interesting and unique. Every wedding is unique in its own way, but this gives Kitty and Martini’s wedding a decidedly paranormal romance flair. I didn’t find the Amazonian terrorist plot particularly necessary but it was well-done and kept the action moving.
The writing continues to be tongue-in-cheek dirty wit.
I hated having to be someplace on time, it took away so many potential orgasms. (page 40)
But the relationship between Martini and Kitty gave me reason to pause this time around. They continue to have excellent chemistry, which is fun to see. But there are two glaring issues in the relationship. Martini is overly jealous, in a cartoonish, immature way. He doesn’t get jealous in a way that is sexy. For instance, he doesn’t see men looking at Kitty and hold her hand to show they’re together. He actually growls. And yells. And clearly doesn’t trust Kitty. Of course, that lack of trust could be justified since Kitty repeatedly wonders if she’s choosing to marry the right man. Not just that, she thinks about whether she should marry any myriad of her guy friends and ex-lovers. Plus, she continues to flirt with just about anyone, in spite of Martini telling her it makes him uncomfortable. These are issues that should have been worked out prior to an engagement, and they don’t bode well for a future marriage. I wouldn’t mind the issues, but the couple are presented as the ideal couple. They aren’t presented as a couple who has some issues to add some realistic drama to the story. This is paranormal romance. The main romantic couple *should* be a bit idealized, but they aren’t.
A much, MUCH bigger issue to me though is how rape is handled in the book. This comes up in two different scenes. There is a scene where Kitty is fighting some bad guys and accidentally ends up in a room with a football team visiting Vegas. Half of the team makes a very overt attempt to gang rape her, but the other half of the team (plus an alien pet Kitty picks up early in the book) puts a stop to it. Then later the leader of the rapey half of the team comes to help fight the bad guys and apologizes, and Kitty recommends that they be added to the secret forces. She shrugs off the rape attempt as everyone makes mistakes and they apologized and essentially recommends they get hired to her company. I’m ok with a heroine narrowly escaping a rape attempt, as that could happen. I’m not ok with the heroine then shrugging it off, accepting an apology, basically saying that a rape attempt is just a mistake, and trying to help the career of the attempted rapist. What. The. Hell?!
In the second scene, Kitty is hanging out with her friend, Chuckie. Chuckie is, at this point in time, her boss. He’s also her almost life-long friend, she’s had sex with him in the past, he’s asked her to marry him before, and she’s periodically wondered throughout this book if maybe she should be marrying him instead of Martini. At the end of their conversation, they’re getting ready to go, and this happens:
He [Chuckie] took my [Kitty’s] shoulders and turned me around. “God, it’s as bad from the back. Really, go put on some clothes.”
“I don’t have a wrap, okay?”
“Find one. Before I rape you.” He gave me a gentle push toward the bedroom.
“Fine, fine.” (page 434)
So, Kitty’s friend: A) judges her clothing and deems it immodest B) orders her to change her outfit C) casually jokes about raping her D) victim blames rape victims with his comment implying clothing causes rape. And of course Kitty just takes this all in stride and doesn’t see anything at all inappropriate about what Chuckie says.
There is just far too much casual boys-will-be-boys acceptance of rape and rape culture in this book that supposedly features a strong female lead and *romance*. And a wedding! Paranormal romance fans deserve better. Men deserve to be treated as not mindless animals who will tackle anything in a sexy dress. Women deserve better than to be blamed for rapists’ behavior. Toss in the relationship issues between Martini and Kitty, while the relationship is treated by the book an ideal one, and no amount of sexy humor, wedding dresses, and aliens could save it for me. I’m very disappointed in the turn this series took. If you’re interested in the series, I would recommend reading the first two and stopping there.
2 out of 5 stars