How do I love this book let me count the ways…
First, the title. I have a thing about titles, so many of them feel like they were computer-generated. Push three buttons and then bingo! it generates your title. Or marketing picks the title, riffing off whatever the latest bestseller is. (Think of all the 50 shades of fill in the blank you’ve run into.) I like titles that actually tie into the story. Ones that months or years down the way when I think of the story I’ll actually be able to remember the title in case I want to reread it. Vexing Voss is just such a title. Which brings me to point two: the heroine, Zoey.
Earth is in a bad way. It was discovered by an alien race that finds humans delicious. In step the Colletti warlords. They will help protect Earth but only if they are given any psychic women, and no, the women are not given a choice.
Zoey is a loose cannon and a trouble magnet. She’s got a revenge driven agenda and the last thing she wants is to be mated to a Colletti warlord. She’s a strong psychic and has skills she uses to avoid the mate hunting warlords. (She leads him on a merry dance but put your money on Voss.)
Zoey spends a lot of time vexing her mate, Voss. Sometimes on purpose, but mostly she responds to stressful situations with a bad case of motor-mouth. Which is how she manages to offend, insult, and otherwise vex, Voss, various warriors, aliens, and even the Coletti overlord himself. This leads to a lot of fun and snarky dialogue.
Voss is used to total obedience. Too bad obedience isn’t in Zoey’s vocabulary. She’s so unreasonable! All he wants to do is protect her. And she insists on calling him weird pet names like Poopsie and Snookums. Very undignified. More than that she seems to be a nexus for chaos. Which brings us to point three: the plot.
I love an action plot. And boy does this have action! It seems that Earth’s troubles are actually part of a larger galactic war so there’s ample space for fighting, daring rescues, explosions, space battles, betrayals, torture and assorted mayhem. Fair warning: this is not a book to start when your in-laws are coming to dinner, you’re baking cookies, or you have to pick up the children at school. You will not be able to put it down. Which brings me to the last point: characterization and world building.
The author has a talent for providing a complex setting without requiring a four year degree in the sciences. Her aliens are quirky but their characters are clearly drawn. Zoey cuts a swath through them all, making friends and destroying enemies with equal verve.
The bottom line? It’s a great book and a fun read. It’s the third in the Colletti warlord series but stands well on its own. Sadly, books 1 and 2 are currently out of print. According to the author, she plans to re-release in the future. I for one plan on buying them both as well as the sequel she currently has in production.
#1 Just My Luck
#2 The Warlord's Comeuppance
#3 Vexing Voss
#4 Reality Bites (work in progress)