Note: Even though this is Book 4 in the series, it works just fine as a standalone.
I return once again to the world of Anne Manx! This time, the rightful heir to the Amazonian throne seeks her aid. The planet of Amazonia has been peacefully ruled for generations by the Queen, who raises up a clone of herself as heir to the throne every several decades. However, the current Queen’s first clone was imperfect and she was discarded. A second clone has been raised to take the Queen’s place when the time comes. Meanwhile the first clone was adopted by a poor woman who named her Spunky. Now Spunky Brandburn seeks out the diamonds that are needed to run the cloning machine, the only machine that might fix her imperfections.
Jean Richmond returns to the series! I first met Jean Richmond in an off-shoot story, Jean Richmond Smokes a Joint, and then again in the early Anne Manx books. I have a bit of a girl crush on her. I know, she’s the evil one but I can’t help enjoying her character so much! Now she’s here causing havoc and entertaining me. Her presence does bring up the memory of loss for our hero Anne Manx and Anne wants her incarcerated or dead, understandably so. I really enjoy the dynamic between these two ladies.
Spunky Brandburn was an amusing character most of the time. Sometimes her personality was just a touch too much. She had some great lines though. Spunky is borderline mentally deficient, so her character gets to say some odd things that come across as amusing instead of as offensive. Spunky is a kind-hearted soul that has trouble seeing evil in anyone and I couldn’t help but root for her.
The heart of this story is good overthrowing evil but because of the cloned royal family thing going on, it’s a bit more complicated. Then there’s the stolen diamonds to deal with, even if they were stolen for a decent cause. This book had a few twists I wasn’t expecting and I loved that one of the main characters was handicapped. Science fiction in general could use more such diversity.
The trademark humor of this series is on full display. Double entendres had me chuckling through my hot tea (poor computer keyboard!). A chunk of the humor is definitely intended for adult audiences though there’s no descriptive sex or such. I think teens would be fine with it and this book would probably give them a good example of what witty adult humor looks like.
I received a copy of this book at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Once again, the performances all around were excellent. Claudia Christian will forever be the voice of Anne Manx in my head. Patricia Tallman’s enjoyment in the role as Jean Richmond comes through clearly. Barbara Harris pulled double duty as both Spunky and the Queen of Amazonia. It’s amazing how different the two characters were and Harris performed both quite well. There’s a slew of other voice actors picking up the smaller roles and it was great to have such different character voices. The music and sound effects were put to good use, adding drama and tension, yet never drowning out the dialogue.