Author: Jana Denardo
Publisher: NineStar Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Publication Date: April 29, 2019
Length: 35,000 words
Reviewed by Morningstar
Lieutenant Addison Hunt is proud to serve the Confederation even if he still feels like he’s on the outside looking in. Addison was illegally genetically modified as a child, leaving him burdened with a sense of shame. Emotionally isolated from his fellow crewmen and recovering from injuries from his last job, Addison is happy to have light duty transporting an esteemed diplomat to a peace conference.
Deveral is one of the Sacred Kin, possessing a psychic ability that his people consider a spark of the divine. Like all the Sacred Kin, he’s led a sheltered life as a temple priest, but his heightened empathic ability makes him the perfect diplomat. Nervous to leave his home, he’s curious about his new companion, Lieutenant Hunt.
Not everyone wants the diplomatic mission to succeed, and a rebel faction poses a real threat to Addison and Deveral. Finding themselves cast adrift on a “lost” colony, they’ll have to fight to stay alive.
Not only was this book captivating, but it was also unique and well executed.
This is a sci-fi novella that is very much character driven which takes a bit away from the world building but the characters, the humanoid empath, Deveral, and the modified human, Addison, were so eye-catching in their interactions, it was easy to immerse myself in this book. In a novella, which this was, that aspect isn’t typically as fleshed out and detailed as it is in full-length books, so it was not something that bothered me.
What started out as a simple trip took a turn for these two men into danger and survival. The sexual tension between them was intoxicating to watch. Sometimes when that part is done as well as it was here, I almost hate when the characters finally have sex, breaking it. Their relationship was a little rushed in terms of time frame since it was a novella but overall, I think the author built them up well within the confines of their word count.
There were a few references to the things these men had in common that threw me since they seemed so opposite in culture and lifestyle. It seemed implausible for those shared interests, but not enough to stop me or take me out of their story. It was kind of cut in an overall suspenseful ride.
There was almost something intangible in this book that made me not want to put it down. I think it was the combination of the world they were in, the characters the author created, and the unique story that I got out of it in the end. I didn’t want to see it end, and for that alone, I wish it was longer. But this author knocked this sci-fi out the park in my opinion.
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