Thursday, December 6, 2018

A shifter-shaman-space opera romance

I recently read Jenny Schwartz's "Space Deputy", which I thoroughly enjoyed, (here's the review) . I'd also read her "Demon Hunter", a paranormal romance, and I'd thoroughly enjoyed that, too, so I bought "Her Robot Wolf".Here's the blurb:

 Jaya Romanov is an independent star ship shaman. She studies the energy flows of the universe and—for a price—will harness them to her employer’s purpose. Wormholes are a whole lot safer to travel when a shaman guides the jump.

Vulf Trent is a bounty hunter. It was that or join the family business, piracy, and Vulf is too much the lone wolf to tolerate the demands of a large pirate crew. Where his family enjoys the bonds of pack, he prefers the freedom of ranging the universe, alone.

Seven generations ago, humanity evacuated Earth and the shifter clans’ ability to transform into their animal forms was one of the most terrible losses of that time. Now, the werewolves, werebears and other shifters are trapped in their human bodies and slowly losing the essence of their primal souls. Jaya is determined to heal their torn transformational abilities, but Vulf doesn’t believe her.

He didn’t kidnap her for her healing abilities.


The book has been well-received, with 110 reviews on Amazon, the vast majority 5 star.

Schwatrz is an accomplished writer, with a flowing, easy to read style. Vulf and Jaya - and the ship's AI - are well-drawn and the locations and aliens are described in sufficient detail. The plot moves at a fair pace, first introducing the main characters in a dramatic meeting on an alien beach. Family is an important element for the two protagonists, but in very different ways. Vulf prefers to be a lone wolf, while Jaya had no choice. The 'family' thread weaves through the story as a sub-plot.

In typical space opera fashion, the story hops from one location to another, be it a planet or a space station. Jaya's ability to smooth transitions through worm holes proves to be invaluable more than once. Needless to say, this is a romance. While the novel is not in any way sexually explicit, the narrative sizzles with sensuality from quite early in the piece.

Although I finished the book (which is always a vote of confidence from me - I DNF many) I wasn't entirely convinced. I'm a died-in-the-wool Star Wars fan but even in that universe, I prefer to avoid too much of the Force. I like my SF to be SCIENCE fiction. I'm also not a huge fan of shifter stories, especially the 'fated mates' trope. For me, this attempt to blend shifters, shamans, and space opera didn't quite work. Jaya's conflicted relationship with Ivan Mishkin left me unconvinced. I also felt Jaya was a bit TOO powerful given her heritage. The importance of Earth's 'sha' energy in a shifter's ability to change form was reasonable but the book's outcome challenged my suspension of disbelief, always a problem when you're reading a fantasy. The final denouement, too, left me wondering about motivations on both sides.

All in all, it's a fun read which will no doubt appeal to readers of shifter romance, as well as those who enjoy reading about wielders of 'magic' in SF. This is book one of a series and judging by the response to Her Robot Wolf, Jeny Schwartz has a winner on her hands. I wish her well.

You can buy the book at Amazon


  1. Great review, Greta. I may try Space Deputy. I think I'm leaning the same way. This one sounds promising and well-written, but I'm just not a huge fan of the whole shifter/shaman/werewolf in space thing. SFR gives an author so much more latitude to explore ideas that I get turned off seeing the same old fantasy entities in space. When I want a great SFR, a Fantasy-Paranormal even in a sci-fi setting just isn't going to do it for me. And I'm probably in the minority on that, I admit.

    At any rate, it sounds like her book has been very popular, so kudos to Jenny Schwartz for the success.

    1. Thanks, Laurie. Sounds like we're on the same wave length.


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