Normally, a setting like the one of this book would be definitely not my cup of soup. It is essentially a battle royale-like, with factions, and featuring murderers, rapists, and torturers. A lot of senseless gore and violence. But for some reason I didn’t feel as turned off by all the gore as I would usually be. It was unexpectedly easy to read. It is possible that this book lacked some level of realism that would make all the unpleasant stand out more, but personally I find the balance it strikes helpful.
I also didn’t really expect this to be Jael spin-off, since I didn’t finish the Sirantha Jax series…
This book is a weird mix of some okay-ish sci-fi plot ideas, fiction written by a grade school-er, and adult (sexual) content.
At the beginning, I actually though it started with a decent idea and world setting. Characters seemed interesting, some details seemed promising… But then, unfortunately, without much of a warning, the story turned into a high-school drama. Almost as if the author had simply forgotten what book she was writing. Suddenly, the big, scary, hundreds-of-years-old-demon-aliens became ‘boys’ and ‘guys’, and the main character, who supposedly spent last 200 years in slavery and torture (and also was supposed to have some super abilities), works as a waitress, goes clubbing, gets interested in high-heeled shoes and mini skirts (yes, we are still talking space ship on a mission),… Any sense that might have been there in the beginning of this book went down the drain and took writing quality with it. It is really quite abysmal in places. Grammar-less sentences aside, by the time I reached the scene where the ‘demon alien ship captain’ (!) was wearing swimming shorts (!) in a swimming pool (!) (on his merchant ship) to give the main character (who also wears a bikini, of course) private swimming lessons, I was ready to brain myself on the nearest hard surface. (insert a ‘facedesk’ GIF here)
Then, of course, the ‘destined mates’. Where would we be without these 2 words in a romance book? And the increasingly disappointing ‘reveal’ of the main character’s true identity (because that’s who you have to be, to be fantasy romance heroine). Also, everyone must want you.
By the time we finally run out of all the ‘silly girly romance cliches’ that hardly fit with the world and character settings, we seemed to remember that there was supposed to be some plot in here too… but then it didn’t really improve the situation. Hardly anything in characters’ behaviour reflects presented settings (being alive for 500 years, or being tortured for 200 years, or running a crew on a merchant ship in space …)
I believe this may say all you need to know to understand what to expect from this book:
‘Five hundred years old demons and space elvesFaieara have a surprise birthday party and go club-dancing (on a merchant space ship). ‘
Also, demons who speak “Demonish” language. Sorry, sounds like something a 10yo would write.
This book has the best blurb I’ve ever seen on a book, and it might get 5 stars just for that. Because ‘strong feline companions’ says it all.
In other news, this book latches on to your sympathy with sharp claws and will pull you along by it all the way.
I have only 2 real complains: 1) it’s a bit too nerve-sucking for my peace of mind; 2) ‘mind games’ and ‘hallucinations’ themes are big pet peeves for me…as in I can hardly stand them. I had to exercise a lot of will power to get through them. Otherwise, it’s a great sci-fi romance with action and mystery. And strong feline companions.
P.S. I also have a feeling that this book might especially appeal to people who had, at some point of their lives, found themselves reading a lot of Trek TOS fanfiction.
DNF. This book made my skin crawl so bad I couldn’t throw it away fast enough. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this vulgarly over-sexualized…slavery/rape/humiliation kink?whatever this is, is definitely not my cup of tea. I kept reading for some time thinking ‘maybe it will still redeem itself with some next development’ or ‘maybe it’s not actually as bad as it seems’ (that maybe a character who was supposed to be this highly-professional, impeccably-trained, highest rank security officer with knowledge and space technology will actually win or at least keep her dignity?)…but every turn brought only increasing disgust. A future where humans are so obsessed with sex they become mindless and violent if they don’t get their ‘sex therapy’ from professionals daily? Where women are required to lose virginity before certain age or they will be forced to do it by law (for their own health, of course)? Where a wild ‘usurper’ appears to take over the planet and the first important matter of business he completes is to ship off fighter women into (sex)slavery and rob all other women out of employment immediately? And it just happens? An AI (the “wise-cracking” one from the description) that is obsessed with the topic of her human not having sex and decides she (the human) must be raped by alien and enjoy it? I can’t. This book made me so nauseous I think I need a bucket.
For the love of all bookish I don’t understand why are these books so popular. The only reason I went there (commenting on a book’s popularity) is because it was due to this book showing up in all kinds of ‘best’ lists while having a high rating that likely made me order it by mistake, without realizing that when I last tried to read a book by this author I DNFed after first few chapters.
I did not get much further with this one either. Made it 100 pages in, hoping to catch a glimpse of a reason so many people’ve read this, but decided not to torture myself any further.
Everything about this is awfully cheesy, trashy, and confusing. With all the head hopping on top. With all the time and word count spent talking about how hot and sexy everyone is and how much trouble they have being hard for each other all the time of course we can’t spend enough time to actually describe the world around us so that it would make some sense. Ah, but we also have time to mention rape and child murders and abuse, to add to ‘badass’ factor. But making sense of how planets, ships, stations, space travel work in this world? Not nearly important enough than all the sexiness.
In this book, the setting ‘implied’ and one actually presented never seem to match. The ‘deadly assassins’ hardly act the part. The main male character is a disaster… Little example: he hides his eyes. Not because they are some strange alien product of his mixed heritage, or because of some gruesome battle scars. But because they’re normal human green eyes that ‘show his beautiful soul’. He lives with a bunch of cats. He walks constantly hard when he is around the female main character. Really. The image of mysterious and aloof deadly assassin, don’t you understand?
The female main character… Her thought pattern is well described by this: ‘You saved me from assassins and are here to guard me because there’s a huge price on my head? You even put shields on my windows so that they wouldn’t shoot my head off? How dare you! You’re fired! Get out of my home!’
I rarely do this, but I’d like to pick up at the few more moments that made me want to bang my head against the nearest wall from the very beginning of the book: FMC – kidnapped, almost raped, beaten, chained in the middle of compost pile on a ship that was just went through hostile take over. Sees a new person coming for her:
‘Kiara was amazed by the handsomeness of his face.’ 3 seconds later ‘For some reason she couldn’t fathom, she believed him (that he wouldn’t hurt her)
‘And she had to admit there was nothing hotter than a man with that kind of honed physique whose face was totally hidden.
I’m sorry. What? Is this some kind of ‘keep a bag over your face’ kink? Just…what?
MMC – Professional assassin, one of the best out there, built up to be this powerful, mysterious, cold man with dark past and iron moral principles. First time we get his POV:
‘His body was so hard it was all he could do not to limp. And to think, he’d mistakenly believed he’d survived real torture in the past.’
Really? He carried a beaten woman out of space trash can where they just killed a few people, and all he can think is that her small breasts in the torn and dirty nightgown are torturing him more that years of child abuse and murder and outrunning a league of professional assassins? REALLY? In what dimension are we supposed to find this romantic or even okay?
Another classy thought from the main character after she wakes up in a strange place and still thinks she might be held captive:
‘Tall and lean, he was the sexiest thing she’d ever seen in her entire life, and given the hot pieces of cheese employed by her dance company, that said a lot.’
Am I the only one who has problem with writing like this? Really?
And the curse of the 2nd novel strikes yet again. As a sequel, this book felt much drier. If the previous one was “depressing with an edge”, this one is more of “depressing and just grey, and more depressing”. Where the first book fights and grasps, this book just takes punches and waits for the next one to take it out. Where the first book had time for humour and banter, this one only adds another type of heartbreak on top of already presented one. It’s a lot of “go through one deadly danger-get stuck somewhere for some period of time-go through another deadly situation-get stuck somewhere again”. Personally, I believe that ‘getting stuck somewhere’ should have been used as an opportunity to progress character relationships, but apparently they (relationships) stay frozen and we just get told how many days they spent stuck in one or other uncomfortable state. I’m more than a little disappointed with how character relationships were treated here in general. It’s like there is a constant dark cloud hanging over, and these relationships are constantly shadowed. Either strained or bleak. And repeating the same note over and over, without really working through it. And that’s only the first part. The second part just went in a direction I liked absolutely nothing about. Overall, even though I couldn’t put the 1st book down, this one was increasingly difficult to get through… Maybe this is spoiler-y, but I have to say it… There. Is. Not. A. Single. Uplift. In. This. Book.
Character-focused Sci-fi action thriller about fierce love and humanity
This book gets better as you go. I have a feeling I was tilting my head at some of the world details in the beginning, but now I can’t even remember what they were. While this sci-fi world isn’t one of more diverse/detailed/comprehensive out there, I think it’s developed enough for the scope of this book. It feels solid, and, more importantly, interconnected with its very real and complex characters. I feel that this is mostly a character-focused story, with ‘bigger’, more important and terrifying, issues constantly present, but slightly further on the background; while the interactions and inner turmoils of the characters are more vivid and are always in the centre of the focus. I don’t mind it, and I liked a lot of things about these characters and developments between them. And I don’t mean only the main characters and the romance, but all positive and negative (or neutral) side characters they meet—none of them feel faceless or bleak, and they don’t just act in predictable one-pattern ways.
I can’t say this book didn’t keep me constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Not a feeling I enjoy…) What I do find unfortunate is that it was only partially related to worrying about ‘what would happen’ and more heavily related to ‘how the main character is going to react’ to something that wasn’t difficult to predict to happen. I must say, while a lot of the emotions and questions in this story spoke to me closely, there were times where I wished the main character would use her head a bit more (read between the lines better, make better arguments that for me felt very obvious), and not create more angst that was necessary.
(and say something like “I can promise you to accept without asking questions. But do consider this argument – saying that you’re afraid I will hate you if I know everything kind of feels you don’t trust me to love you at all.” and “The fear I sense when I imagine you see all of my thought is the same one that drives you to hide yourself from me. I’m afraid you will see something that will hurt you or will make you walk away. You don’t need to be a winged demon to think yourself ugly.)
Overall, other than getting a bit more of an adrenaline boost that I needed right now, this was a very enjoyable read and I can’t find many faults with this book.
I was really about to give this book 5 full stars. But then I made myself consider a couple of points: -This book works for me in some ways I kind of wish it didn’t (it’s kind of discouraging to see yourself identify like never before with a protagonist who is grieving, broken, and clearly not conventionally sane…not that any of this is a surprise), and it sort of made me question whether I would still feel the same way about this book if I was in a healthier state of mind. – This book actually has a very simple/traditional structure (as in highs and lows and their timing) that hides behind very good writing, but once you see it…it makes it a bit too predictable. – The bloodthirstiness sometimes comes over the top. We start at a point of great loss, and then we go on from death to death. This book is full of sacrifices and it constantly exists on an edge of complete hopelessness and desperate hope. It’s not a very pleasant journey. Despite the way the book addresses the issue on the very last page…I have my doubts about whether the balance was actually achieved.
Regardless though, the writing is great, it has depth and style and I was caught from the very chapter. Depressing or not, this book is definitely a one for my Favorites shelf.
I’m still a little sad that this series has traded a big portion of humor for angst, but I did enjoy this book much more than the second one. I think we could do with fewer ‘almost deaths’ per novel. But the Hiru story was very good. It’s too bad that it looks like it’s going to be a while before we get any continuation with the story with Dina, if ever.
Unfortunately, this series didn’t manage to escape the ‘curse of the second novel’. It was so much drier, heavier, and compressed, I can’t even really say I enjoyed it. It made me rush to finish it not because I couldn’t look away, but I wanted it to be over quickly so I could see if the next one is any better. Most of the good content that was in this was practically suffocated from two sides by too extensive dry recapping of the events of the first book in the beginning, and a wave of angst in the end; the humor and flavor of the first novel didn’t really have any space to breathe here. Also, the twist with Sean was too obvious. I really hate it when I get this ‘well wouldn’t it suck if this happened’ feeling in the middle of the book and it just comes true. I’m giving this 4 stars because it’s not a bad book (even if I can’t help but feel like there should have been a better way to write it.) But it is also is a book that didn’t really leave me feeling good.
(This review is for both first books combined.) I’m in that place of mind where I grab a book that says ‘sci-fi romance’ on the cover myself, and then promptly get genuinely surprised why the characters won’t stop thinking about sex. This book has a multitude of interesting sci-fi premises, which tease the imagination and made me think that I would like this book more if any of them were actually addressed… but the characters have a lot of difficulty to find time to indulge in such things as providing more detailed worldbuilding, whether regarding the Earth history and why are they suddenly so friendly towards another race that they appear willing to fight their battles, or Askara, their ship, their war, multitude of briefly introduced side characters, any actual relationships between them, how their group operates, and so on… because they are too busy with all the angry sex. (At least the author stopped using the P word for the lady parts after the first time, it was a giant relief. Also made me glad that the hero wasn’t human and we avoided cringy language choices in that respect.) The main character is entirely too unconvincing in her setting. She is supposed to be a medical professional, and enough of a professional to be the one sent into the midst of things when humans supposedly make their very first contact with extraterrestrials. Which kind of calls for an expectation that she must be a highly skilled, reputed, and respected medical professional. Instead, she gawks, gets injured, is too embarrassed to properly talk about reproductive system, rushes head first into unprotected sex with aliens without thinking about any kind of consequences, and doesn’t really do anything medicine related for 80% of the story but ‘go on rounds’ with the alien medical professional which are never shown in detail, and are only mentioned as a background setting for characters to think about sex or actively try to not think about sex. I have a strong nagging I should be feeling like an idiot for trying to take these books too seriously. I was trying to read it as a sci-fi, when it probably was written mostly as a PWP (the ‘plot what plot’ variety).
I’ve been looking forward to his book a lot. I do love stories about outlaws in space, especially with a dose of quality romance, even if it was a bit too instantaneous for my personal preferences. I wouldn’t say this book is without issues – I feel like there could be a bit more of environment/world building; it felt like the book was too short and covered too little – like an introduction that opened a lot of questions and not much else; it asks you to swallow a lot of ‘…but what about this/but why?’; it leaves a lot of characters and interactions out for no reason; the oppressive tyrant image is a bit too tired. And so on.
Nevertheless, even though there’s plenty of angst, it’s exiting and well-written, and the characters all promise to be interesting. There are books, cats, and handsome rogues. What else needs to be said?
‘Wanting more’ is a good thing, but the fact that this was considered ‘enough’ for this book worries me a little. I hope we’ll get more sustenance in the next one, even though it will have to wait for a year.