Category Archives: science fiction

Wakers (The Side Step Trilogy 1) by Orson Scott Card

Stars: 2 out of 5.

DNF at 70%, so you darn right I’m leaving a review for this, since I put so much effort into this book!

I am very disappointed. I loved The Ender’s Game by the same author so I had high hope for this story as well. 

And the beginning was pretty good actually: intriguing and suspenseful. I was along for the ride with Laz, and even his constant monologue and the tendency to over-analyze every little thing to death wasn’t all that annoying at first. He was looking for answers, after all, and we, as the reader were looking for them with him. Yes, the pacing was rather slow, but I was willing to forgive that as long as I got the answers I was looking for in the end.

Then Laz finally wakes up Ivy… and things took a nosedive from there. 

First of all, the pace, which was already slow, became glacial. I mean the story progression grinded to a halt to be replaced by pages and pages of mindless and mind-numbing dialogue between two obnoxious teenagers. It was pointless. It wasn’t interesting. It didn’t bring ANYTHING useful to the story. It made my eyes roll back in my head and make me want to take a nap every time I opened the book. It’s an endless stream of verbal vomit between two people who I found more and more unlikeable the further in the book I got. 

Because most of the book is written in these horrible dialogues, the author does a lot of telling, but almost no showing. The characters debate scientific theories, explain to each other things that should be self-evident for them just so the reader can catch up with the science here. Problem is, the reader has checked out ten pages ago. 

I got no sense of the world, because the descriptions are almost non-existent. It’s all just Laz made a snide remark, Ivy retorted with something the author meant to sound smart, but just made her sound like a spoiled brat, Laz retaliated in the same fashion, blah, blah, blah…. twenty pages later we still haven’t learned anything new and the story hasn’t progressed an inch. Heck, I don’t even know what the dogs in the pack of four look like because mighty Laz didn’t care enough about it to talk about it.

I understand that this is a YA book, but I still didn’t particularly appreciate how all adults are described as complete idiots. Seriously, Laz and Ivy have this “better then everyone else” attitude to them when they talk to anybody else that would never have worked in the real world. You might be smart and possess a unique ability, but you are still a teenager, no you are a clone with fake memories, so if you talk to me this way, you will get smacked. I think that’s my biggest pet peeve with the author’s approach – you CAN create smart and resourceful teenagers without making them disrespectful at the same time. 

It made me hate the main characters more and more, and by the end I didn’t care about them or finding the answers to the big questions enough to read through the last 30% of obnoxious dialogue.

I will not continue with the series. I will definitely not recommend this book. And if this is the author’s new style of writing, I doubt I will try any of his newer book going forward. I’d rather re-read the Ender’s Game.

PS: I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Midnight, Water City (Water City 1) by Chris McKinney

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

Honestly, my reaction after finishing this book is “meh.” 

I went into this book excited about the premise. An underwater city? Humanity averting the end of the world for once? This sounded so exciting! Unfortunately, we spend little to no time at all in the actual underwater city. 

And the worldbuilding isn’t really fleshed out at all. So the mankind mostly lives underwater to stay safe from solar flares? Okay, I get get onboard with that if you explain to me how that works. How did we manage to combat the enormous pressure in the ocean depths? How do we deal with the endless night, the decompression, etc.? Our protagonist seems to zip in and out of the deepest ocean reaches to the highest mountain in a matter of minutes with no visible side effects. 

Also, how are those seascrapers built? That hints at significant advances in engineering and construction materials, especially considering that today we can barely explore the depths in what amounts to an extremely reinforced safe with small windows. Yet 100 years from now, after some major wars and natural catastrophes, mind you, humanity can build penthouses at the bottom of the ocean that are about 80% reinforced glass. I know this is sci-fi. I am ready to suspend my disbelief, but the author needs to throw me a bone – some kind of explanation is in order.

That’s a trend for every scientific advancement in this book. Things happen because they need to happen for the story, and no thought is given to how feasible they are. This approach really undermines the credibility of the story and the worldbuilding starts to wobble and break around the edges. 

But the biggest problem with this book for me is that I couldn’t care less for any of the characters. Quite frankly, they are all horrible human beings. 

The protagonist used to be a killer for hire. Yes, he killed for the greater good, or at least that’s how he justifies it, but he is still a cold-blooded murderer. Add to that that he is on his fourth marriage and and his fourth kid. He’s lost all contact with his previous wives after the divorce (apart from the one that was killed), and doesn’t even know what happened to his children. He even mentions in the story that he is in the same country as his first ex-wife at one point, but has no desire to check on them. He basically ignores his current wife and avoids his daughter, because “children never interested him.” What a wonderful human being! /end sarcasm.

And the woman he works for is even worse, especially if the story about her lying about the Killing Rock is true. Akira Kimura is a sociopath and a megalomaniac who has zero concern for anyone but herself. Her daughter is even worse. 

So the protagonist’s constant devotion to Akira feels more and more twisted and sick, the further the story progresses and the more we learn about that individual. And his unwillingness to kill Ascalon also makes no sense at all. In fact, the whole ending is a perfect example of a protagonist robbed of his agency. He didn’t make the decision in the end, circumstances did it for him, which makes the payoff extremely unsatisfying in my eyes.

All in all, this wasn’t a book I will remember. And this certainly wasn’t on of the best books I read in 2022. It was okay. It kept me interested enough to finish it, but that’s about it. I’m certainly not interested enough to pick up the next book in the series.

PS: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Moon Rising (The Upsilon Series 1) by Daniel Weisbeck

Stars: 3.5 out of 5

This was an interesting novella about an android that’s just different enough to finally achieve consciousness. I liked our main protagonist Silon and her slow realization that everything is not as it seems. I also must admit that the first chapter was really chilling, especially since we didn’t know she was an android yet.

I cared less about the other characters that were introduced and whose POWs we followed during this book. I think this is where the book doesn’t quite work for me. It’s such a short read, but we have so many different POVs relating the events, and often backtracking to re-narrate what we already saw happening. This makes for a very chopped up delivery. In my opinion, this book is too short for this many different narrators.

In my opinion, this story would have benefited from being a bit more fleshed out. It moves too fast, too many things happen one after another, so there is not time for actual character exploration. 

Take Silon, for example, most of the changes she experienced are done either off screen or described through the eyes of other characters. So I didn’t see the progressive evolution of her character. She feels more like a playable character in an RPG – get enough experience to unlock the next level and look – upgrades! The problem with that is that all the changes feel done to her, not chosen by her. 

First, she is stuck in that basement until another character disables her safety protocols and orders her to come out. No real active choice made there, since she just obeys a command. Then at Charlie’s lab she is basically hacked again and a whole new set of programs is downloaded into her brain. I think the only really independent choice she makes is when she decides to stay with Teacher. I would have liked a little bit more agency from her in this story.

The other problem is character motivation. It’s very fuzzy and never really explained for some of them, and very on the nose for others. And that’s also a result of the book being so short. We simply don’t have time to explore the motivations of the different actors in this story. Which makes them seems a lot less like fleshed out characters and a lot more like devices put there by the author to move the story along. And them becoming basically cannon fodder doesn’t have an emotional impact on the reader at all, because we didn’t get to know them enough to care.

But despite these misgivings, this was an enjoyable and quick read that helped me pass a snowy afternoon curled up on my couch. I’m just hoping that the next book will be longer, and that the author takes time to explore the characters more.

PS: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

Stars 3.5 out of 5

This was a very interesting take on time travel and on what happens to people when history changes. The idea of the deja vu and the fact that people would suddenly forget who they were for a few moments wile reality rewrote itself is something I never saw before.

What would have happened if the English lost the battle of Trafalgar? How would history have changed? What kind of world would have emerged from that crucial change? I was delightfully along for the ride for that. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed. That alternate reality was well-thought out and rather fascinating. 

It is actually a very sad book, if you think about it. Especially considering that all those people Joe vaguely remembers in his deja vu episodes existed in the previous versions of reality, but are gone from the surface of the Earth now. 

Having an unreliable narrator who struggles with his own memories (and lack of there of) as well as with his identity add to the confusion of the situation. We are on that train station with Joe when he first realizes that he doesn’t remember anything but his name. We experience that terror and sense of being utterly lost. I was happily along for the ride on his journey to find his identity and discover who sent him that postcard 100 years ago. 

This is also where the problematic part of the book is for me. I understand that the author wanted to keep the mystery of Joe’s identity for as long as possible, so none of the characters ever tell him what they really know. But that also makes for a very frustrating read. 

First of all, it seems that a lot of characters are withholding information just because the author decided so. I understand why Kite would do it, but what stopped Agatha from revealing Joe’s identity? Or the other marines and sailors he’d served with before? It makes no sense and it feels more and more forced the further in the book we get. 

The other problem is Joe himself. He is way too passive as a character. His only real act of rebellion and self-definition was to go to that lighthouse in the beginning of the book, after that, he just kind of floats with the current. You could argue that his status as a prisoner doesn’t give him much choice, but there is also this passivity in him that gets infuriating the longer you read the book. I understand why he was like that at the beginning, when he had no memories and everything around him was foreign and scary, but he never grows a backbone until almost the very end of the book. It’s’ very hard to root for a character who is a voiceless victim of circumstances for most of the book.

Another problem I have is character motivation. Why bring Joe back into the past? Yes, after finishing the book, I understand the selfish reasons of why Kite wanted him there, but historically speaking, it makes no sense. Kite said himself that he didn’t want to restore the English rule because he despised that system almost as much as the French did. And honestly, building one small telegraph didn’t change matters all that much. Or at least the author didn’t show any of those changes. History was changed by people, not an invention, in this case. 

I also didn’t particularly like the ending. I thought it was a cheep trick on the part of the author to basically have most of Joe’s current family vanish overnight just to justify his decision to go back. It would have been more emotionally rewarding if he had to say goodbye and choose between his new family and his found family from the past instead. It would have given Joe’s character growth a deeper meaning. As it stands in the book, it’s a cheep cop out. 

These problems notwithstanding, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a fresh idea and a mostly enjoyable execution. I would definitely recommend it for those who enjoy books about time travel.

PS: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

 Stars: 3 out of 5

For most of the book, I thought this would a solid 5 star read. The story was fun to read and fast paced – a perfect book to spend a cold day with, curled up by the fire… Then I hit the last quarter of the book and finished it with my eyes rolling so much it hurt. 

But let’s talk about what worked first, shall we? The story is lighthearted and rather optimistic, which is a plus during this pandemic times that seem never-ending. The protagonist is fun to follow. He never looses his optimism no matter what obstacles life throws in his way. We all could use a bit of that after two years of the global mess we’re in. I also liked that he is an average joe, unlike a lot of other typical protagonists who are either hidden martial artists, or retired military, or chosen ones. He isn’t even the smartest one around. He was hired to “lift things”, not do science. Yet he does indeed lift things and accomplish other dangerous and sometimes gross things with good grace, optimism, and fun. 

I also loved the Kaiju Earth. To imagine a parallel world where life has adapted to a denser atmosphere that is richer in oxygen. A world where some animals are living walking nuclear reactors that sometimes go critical and explode. Only it’s not a catastrophe, like it would be in our world, because everything else around them evolved to absorb that radiation, to use it as fuel and food. So an exploding kaiju is basically like a dinner bell – everything that survives the initial blast and firestorm rushed that way to absorb as much radiation as possible. 

It was fun to imagine a world where giant monsters like Godzilla were an inherent part of the ecosystem. It was also gratifying to have an explanation that worked. I also liked the explanation on how those monsters sometimes ended up crossing to our Earth, and why they couldn’t survive here for long. 

So this was a fun romp until the last twist and the ending, which unfortunately killed the book for me. I almost rage-quit reading at one point, but decided to carry on since I was 80% at that time.

The problem is that the whole plot twist is highly unbelievable. But I could let that slip of the motivation behind it was sound. But as it stands, this book sports the worst antagonist I have seen in a book in looooong time. It’s like Scalzi forgot the true and tried principal that every villain is the hero of his or her own story. Yes, their actions might be atrocious or ridiculous, their plans might be far-fetched, but the motivation behind them must be believable. The antagonist must have a reason for what they are doing. 

Here, they are just being bad for the sake of being bad. I mean, seriously, the author showed this antagonist in such a bad light from the beginning of the book that there isn’t a single redeeming quality in them. They are so evil, they come across as a cardboard cutout. A real person can’t be this horrible all the time. Even the worlds greatest villains and mass murderers have peoples and pets they care about. This antagonist doesn’t. 

I mean, this might work for some readers, since the premise of the book is far-fetched anyway, but this absolutely didn’t work for me. I can’t stay involved in the story if I can’t take the bad guy seriously – I simply stop believing in the stakes. 

Speaking of stakes, that twist with stealing Bella was simply ridiculous. Once again, a plan without any rhyme or reason with consequences that have been tacked on just for maximum damage and to show how villainous our antagonist is. I mean why pull the kaiju to our Earth and let it go nuclear? Those mercenaries had to come close to the kaiju in order to install the devices that would open the barrier, so why not just instruct them to take the samples required and quietly leave? It accomplishes exactly the same thing – the antagonist has all the samples he needs to breed his own living nuclear reactors, and nobody is the wiser. But now, he had to do this dramatic disappearing act, and kill a bunch of people in the process, just because he is evil. 

Oh and the fact that four nerds with absolutely no military training managed to break into a mercenary compound and bring Bella back without getting killed? Yeah, that was absolutely not believable. That’s when my eyerolls reached such a speed that they gave me a headache. 

So kudos for a fun and wonderfully created Kaiju Earth and engaging characters, but the antagonist and the ridiculous ending ruined that book.

PS: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One Day All of This Will Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovski

Stars: 4 out of 5.

This was a delightful little novella and a very nice introduction to the author, as far as first impressions go.

The story itself is quite an interesting take on time travel that I haven’t seen explored before, even though there is a certain logic to it. If someone was sent back in time to change the past, the present they come back to wouldn’t be like the one they left. And if they are sent again to change it back because say another faction changed something in the past to suit their agenda… well, there is no guarantee that the change they make will bring back the same present they were born in. 

So what you have left with in the aftermath of a time war is a bunch of time agents trying to fulfill the agenda of governments that don’t exist anymore, or have never existed, depending on the twists the time war took along the way. That just keep changing things and fighting each other through time because they have no present to come back to. In some cases, they never even existed in the new present, because their parents never met or they died when they were a child.

This is meaningless slaughter both of people and of the time continuum until one time agent realizes that time is already so irrevocably broken that fighting over it doesn’t make sense anymore. His solution? Eliminate all the other time agents, then eliminate anyone who might ever invent a time travel machine. Anywhere. Anywhen. It’s brutal, it’s ruthless, and it’s very in character with our protagonist.

He isn’t a nice person. I would go as far as call him a psychopath, but anyone who’d fought in a time war for endless iterations of said time would have to be. He sits in the bottleneck between the broken remains of the time that was before and doesn’t let anyone with time travel technology get past him into what will become after. And he is perfectly happy to enjoy his little paradise of now in solitude. Until a time traveler comes from that after and claims that he created their whole civilization…

It was a fun read, even though all the characters in it were equally awful. Like I already said, the protagonist is a killer with absolutely no remorse or scruples, and the people he is fighting against are coming from a society that is just as awful, so as a reader I couldn’t really root for either of them. They both deserved to be erased out of time for different reasons. Heck, the only character I was rooting for was the dinosaur, but that’s because how cool would it be to have a pet dinosaur?

But even thought the characters are awful, it’s a fun romp through the broken shards of time watching them heap horrible things on each other. The ending was not what I had expected, but I admit that it has a certain poetic justice to it. It also leaves the door open for a sequel.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read that kept my attention for an afternoon and I wouldn’t mind revisiting this if the author ever writes a sequel.

PS: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dogs of DevTown by Taylor Hohulin

 Stars: 3.5 out of 5

I don’t usually read a lot of cyberpunk. Mostly because the few books I tried, I couldn’t get into the story. I did love the game Cyberpunk 2077, even though it had its own bugs and frustrating moments. So when I read the description of Dogs of DevTown, I decided to give it a try, and I’m happy I did. This is more of a novella then a novel, so it’s short and very readable. I think I knocked it out in two evenings, even though I wasn’t rushing myself.

I like the imagery the author created. The multicolored holograms reflecting off the skyscrapers of DevTown. The sea of humanity clogging the streets at any time of day or night, looking for their next vice. The rain, the stench… It is a tantalizing but also depressing image, since this DevTown, even though modern looking, seems soulless and unforgiving. I reminded me a little about the dystopian landscape of Blade Runner, and I love that movie (the original one.

I also liked our protagonist. Shan is prickly and can come across as rather rude and uncaring, and she tries very hard to live like she is an island, but I have known people like that. In her line of work, the only person you can trust is yourself. The only person you can afford to care about is yourself as well. She tracks and kills people for money after all. So if she wants to stay on this side of the grave herself, she can’t ask too many questions. Just enough to find the person she is paid to kill and get the job done. She gets paid, then she forgets about it. Much safer to live that way… only nobody is really an island, no matter how much they try. And sooner or later something happens that will make even the most isolated person decide to dig deeper. 

The other characters in the book were sufficiently fleshed out to be interesting, even memorable for some of them. I found the main villain rather over the board though. Also, there is a big logical hole with the villains motivation. I won’t talk about it here because that would spoil the book, but that made the villain a lot less believable for me, and elicited a few eyerolls until I finished the story.

My biggest problem with this book, and the reason I only gave it 3.5 stars, is a huge plot hole that the author left in the story. I understand that he probably wrote himself in a corner and didn’t know how to keep the story going if he patched that particular plot hole, but it was so big and obvious, a semi truck could have fallen into it. 

So the author goes to great lengths to tell us that Shan has no mech augments whatsoever. He also makes sure we know that she has never been on the Net, because she doesn’t have mech augments or a port to jack into the system. So how can she catch a virus that transmits itself through the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals that connect different mechs to the Net? She doesn’t have any, remember? Okay, maybe it’s a virus that can jump the hardware to wetware barrier (insert eyeroll here). It’s a cyberpunk book, so everything is possible. So I could have rolled with the fact that unaugmented Shan caught a computer virus. 

The problem though is that she is a closed system. She doesn’t have mech. She isn’t connected to the Net. No Wi-fi, no Bluetooth, remember? So how is the creator of the virus able to communicate with her? It’s a virus that infects mech. She is full human. There is no logical way for it to happen.  That’s the point where I lost interest in the story. I can only suspend my disbelief so much.

But if you are willing to ignore that particular problem and just roll with it, this book is a fun read. Plus, it’s short, so it’s a nice little pallet cleanser between longer books.

PS: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Exiled Fleet (The Divide 2) by J. S. Dewes

Stars: 5 out of 5.

I thought the first book was excellent (and you can read my review if you are interested), because it introduced us to an unusual world full of flawed but engaging characters who were faced with an impossible situation. It was literally life or death. The book was fast-paced and very readable. 

I’m happy to say that the second book lives up the expectations set up by the first. Rake and the Sentinels have stopped the progression of the Divide and saved the galaxy, but the fact remains that the Legion abandoned them at the edge of nowhere. Their reserves are dwindling, morale is low, and Cav is once again faced with an impossible task – invent a warp drive from scratch to move the giant derelict ship towards the only existing warp gate and into the galaxy proper. If he can’t succeed, all the remaining Sentinels (that’s four thousand people) starve to death. No pressure.

I thought the stakes were high in the first book. Well, they are even higher here. Especially for Rake and Cav. Because it doesn’t matter that you managed to save as many Sentinels as you could from the collapsing Divide. If you can’t get them back into the inhabited part of the universe and find a base of operations.

As I had mentioned in the first book, the author has a talent for creating very relatable characters. And I’m not just talking about the main protagonists, but also about most of the supporting characters. Some of them are only introduced for a couple pages, and I’m already in love with them. Like all the Corsairs and grumpy Gideon.

In this book, most of your characters will have to face the consequences of their past actions and inactions. Rake will call on a life debt she’d never planned to have. Cav will discover an earth shattering truth about his past. and Jackin… let’s just say that we learn a lot more about who he was, and how he ended up with the Sentinels.

All of them will have to deal with the past and also find a new purpose and a way to move on. Because no matter how monumental a task escaping the Divide was, what awaits them is even bigger. Because the universe is about to get a lot smaller, and a lot of races will fight over the available real estate. Humanity has to present a united front or be wiped out. And right now, humanity is anything but united. Rake and Cav have their job cut out for them. But at least now they have a lot more allies and resources. 

I can’t wait to see where this story will go from here. I really hope a certain character is still alive, and that our heroes will mount a successful rescue in the next book.

PS: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Too Like the Lightning (Terra Ignota 1) by Ada Palmer

Stars: 1 out of 5

DNF at 42%.

I was lured to this book by the abundance of 5 star reviews. I was really looking forward to reading it… The first chapter had me baffled, confused and disappointed. But I decided to stick around to see if the story would actually get good and justify all those raving reviews… it didn’t. And as you can see, I stuck around for almost half of the book waiting for something to happen, so I think I gave it more than a fair chance.

I have so many problems with this book this review would become a laundry list of complaints if I were to touch on all of them. So I will limit myself to the aspects that raked me the most.

First, this story is told to the reader post-factum by a narrator that was there for some of the events and collected oral accounts of witnesses for the events he wasn’t part of. That can actually work, if done well. I read a few books told postpartum and loved them… But that doesn’t work if the narrator constantly breaks the fourth wall and addresses the reader directly. I was about ready to throw my tablet at the wall after the third “Dear reader, you might not know but blah-blah-blah…”. After the fifth one, I was contemplating murder.

My second problem is that a combination of good ideas doesn’t make a good story. I got the impression that the author got so enamored with their worldbuilding, that they forgot to actually tell a compelling story. We get introduced to Bridger, this boy wonder who will supposedly change the world, in Chapter 1… then we don’t hear about him again until almost 30% into the book. Instead, we are introduced to an endless parade of characters, places, and philosophies, that I honestly stopped caring about after about the third chapter. My reaction became “yawn, who are all these people?” 

It felt like a kid showing me their collection of random shinies they have accumulated over the years – they are all pretty and unique on their own, but they have no connection to each other. Like I said, a collection of ideas doesn’t make a story.

The final nail in the coffin of this book, at least for me, was when at 42% mark we finally come back to Bridger… then the narrator has to recap something that happened before (and he wasn’t present to witness, so it’s a third party account of a third party account). Yay, we finally have some action, even if related post-factum! Things are happening. Shenanigans are afoot… and then the action grinds to a screeching halt because a new character is introduce and it takes three pages to describe him, and what he is wearing, and how they are standing, and how others are reacting to him… Momentum = dead.

That’s when I threw my hat and decided to bid the book goodbye. This is a sad moment, because I probably won’t bother checking out other books by this author because my first impression was so disastrous.

PS: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Fated Blades (Kinsmen 3) by Ilona Andrews

 Stars: 5 out of 5

Excellent modern take at the Romeo and Juliette myth, only if both Romeo and Juliette decided to join forces  and kick ass.

Once again, I am happy to announce that you can’t go wrong with an Ilona Andrews book. They all range from good to excellent, no matter what series you pick up. Though I have a particular soft spot for Kate Daniels and the Innkeeper series. 

I somehow missed all the other books in the Kinsmen series (an oversight that I will rectify as soon as I get a hold of the first two books), but I loved this entry into the series. Oh, and by the way, you don’t need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one. I went in fresh and ignorant of the world of Rada and enjoyed it immensely. Each book is meant to be read as a standalone, from what I gathered.

Anyway, here is the set up. The Adlers and the Baenas are the only two secare families on Rada, and they had a blood feud going ever since the first colonization. The reasons for that feud have been lost to the sands of time, but the families still hate each other on sight and try to kill each other on occasion. So imagine the leaders of these two families, Ramona Adler and Mathias Baena, being put in such a situation that to save their families and their reputations, they have to become allies. Sparks fly and enemies dies.

What I like about Ilona Andrews books is that her characters are always alive, especially the protagonists, and most of the supporting characters as well. They are vivid, they jump out of the page at you, and they are believable. Both Ramona and Mathias are very strong individuals who had to become the heads of their respective families at a very young age. They aren’t just figureheads. They are smart, business savvy and efficient. They are also deadly when it comes to wielding their secare weapons. And they had been married to their work basically, and rather unhappy in their personal lives, even if they didn’t realize it until the proverbial shit hit the fan and their spouses eloped with each other.

I like that they respect each other even though they are sworn enemies. They recognize each other’s strengths and combine them in order to get the results they want – get their families’ research back and eliminate a treat. And the rest of their relationship sparks from that place of mutual respect. They are strong and independent and well adjusted individuals that don’t need each other to be happy. They choose each other. Now that’s how a real relationship should be.

This book is a breeze to read. It’s fast, it’s witty, and it flies by in a whirlwind of dance and secare blades. I wish it was a bit longer because I devoured it in a day.

My only complaint is that the main villain of the story (I am talking about the in-laws from hell), was a little bit caricaturesque. How could a successful politician, even non-Rada native, be so ignorant about kinsmen politics? That’s not very believable. But that’s a very small gripe towards what is otherwise and excellent book.

Thank you, mighty authors, you did it again!