Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Summary: Once a brilliant First-in Scout, Val Con yos'Phelium was "recruited" by the mysterious Liaden Department of Interior and brainwashed into an Agent of Change—a ruthless covert operative who kills without remorse.

Fleeing the scene of his latest murderous mission, he finds himself saving the life of ex-mercenary Miri Robertson, a tough Terran on the run from a team of interplanetary assassins. Thrown together by circumstances, Val Con and Miri struggle to elude their enemies and stay alive without slaying each other—or surrendering to the unexpected passion that flares between them.

Review: So I have this habit when I read books, which is that I get about three-fourths of the way through them, and then I get online and look at reviews. I guess... I dunno, I'm trying to figure out whether my impressions so far are correct? Whether people agree with me, when I like certain characters or whatever? Maybe I'm trying to see how I should feel about what I've read so far. (I should probably stop letting other people tell me what I think.)

That being said, one of the reviews I looked up for this book pointed out that within the first two chapters or so, both main characters have killed enough people to definitely count as serial killers. And I thought... yeah. Pretty much. Which doesn't necessarily reflect poorly on the book, per se, because I've certainly killed plenty of random bad guys playing Legend of Zelda. So basically, this book has tons of storm troopers. Random, faceless, expendable Bad Guys.

Besides the senseless violence, there was a love story that took me a while to get into. I dunno... the description of the book told me that Val Con was this heartless assassin, which I found to be kind of a misnomer? I mean, at the beginning, he's fairly heartless, but pretty much as soon as he meets Miri (like, in chapter two) he becomes a Really Decent Guy who has Skills. Like, if Jason Bourne, instead of getting shot  and losing his memory, just met a cute redhead. So if he's such a decent guy, why was he assassinating someone in the first scene? And if he's so heartless, why is he suddenly abandoning the government that controls him?
All of which, to be honest, can be explained (to me) by the fact that the book was written in the eighties, when complex back story and world building were not necessary to make a book enjoyable. (For instance, this book, and this one. Both excellent.) I guess I'm expecting more characterization and interplanetary politics in later books.

One part of the book that I did love, though, was the turtles. Think about it. A culture of giant 8-foot turtles? Who are slow and live for centuries and are super polite and sweet? And grow knives like crystals? I loved them so much. I want a tribe of turtles to be my older brothers. Please tell me they show up in later books.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman


PS If you want to read it for yourself, it's in the Baen Free Library! Download the ebook here.

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