BWB Review: Touched by an Alien

Title: Touched by an Alien
Author: Gini Koch
Page Count: 389 pages
Publisher: DAW
Genre: science fiction, paranormal romance
Copy for review was from my personal library

50 words or less: Who knew that stabbing a raging lunatic with a pen would turn Katherine Katt’s life upside down? Now instead of being a marketing manager, she’s a member of a secret task force charged with preventing a hostile takeover by alien parasites. Then there’s the matter of Jeff…

What a fun book! I’m a sucker for a good hybrid between science fiction and romance, and this certainly fits the bill. While certainly a bit goofy at times and definitely not for people who need their science fiction to be serious and stiff upper lip at all times, this book grabbed my attention and kept my interest until the last word.

Katherine “Kitty” Katt (yes, her parents thought that was hilarious) was just finishing up her day of jury duty when all hell broke loose in front of the court house. In the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute that’s gone completely out of control, she’s able to kill the offender, who clearly to her is not human, and save countless people in the process. Her weapon of choice: A Mont Blanc pen. Go figure.

Immediately her life is turned upside down: she’s carted off by a small battalion of male model look-alikes, informed that she is now being recruited as an agent for an organization in charge of protecting earth from an invasion of alien parasites intent on remaking this world (and every other one for that matter) in their image, and oh yeah, now they know who she is, so they’re probably gunning for her family too.

Add to the mix one Mr. Jeff Martini, superhunk extraordinaire who’s immediately smitten with Kitty and has no problem expressing this to anyone and everyone who will listen. Kitty doesn’t mind all that much, although that gets her into a lot of trouble with Christopher, one of Jeff’s fellow aliens and agents, who seems to delight in harassing Kitty at every turn. Kitty thinks Christopher is annoying; everyone else sees his behavior and attention for what it is and tries to warn Kitty about the situation. Tension ensues in spades, especially when Kitty realizes that Jeff’s feelings are the real deal, and his skills and abilities as an empath have implications that she had never even considered.

If it sounds like I just described the plot and characters of a bunch of other different books and movies, I kind of did. Science fiction remixes ideas constantly, and this book is no exception. What makes this book unique and fun, though, is how effortlessly the hat is tipped to other works while simultaneously incorporating new elements that keep the story fresh. The secret pseudo-government agency in charge of saving the world from alien invasion is all well and good, except most of the staffers of said agency are aliens themselves. There are a ton of really strong barriers against Kitty and Jeff being able to be together, but they’re religious in nature, instead of some weird Barbarella sexually bizzarro fest.

I also enjoyed how family played such a prominent role, both for Kitty and for Jeff. All too often in paranormal romance you find that the main characters sort of exist in a vacuum when it comes to family- either everyone is long dead or missing or just uninvolved. That’s not the case here- Kitty’s family in particular is very hands-on and she finds out a lot she didn’t know about them in the process as well.

The tone of this story was flip and fun, with just enough snark to be amusing but with enough emotion to be genuine. One downside to Jeff’s incredible talents as an empath is that he does tend to launch into Mr. Sensitive territory rather easily; this makes for a tough row to hoe when it comes to sorting out whether Kitty wants to be with him or someone else. We as the reader know full well what Kitty’s feelings are, but in spite of his skills as an empath, Jeff doesn’t. This situation gets a brief mention in passing at the end of the book and I’m excited to see what happens with this in future novels. The next book comes out in December, and I’m going to have a hard time waiting. I sense an early Christmas present coming on!

Overall Grade: A
Blog with Bite Rating: 4/4

Also, how could I possibly review this book without including my favorite Men in Black scene ever? I don’t know either.

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