I read the original version of this story three years ago and loved it. Then I had the chance to read the sequel which captivated me as much as the first book. I had no idea there had been a revision, but was graciously offered an opportunity to read the newer version. Of course I snatched that up.
The story opens on a world where there is a human society that is still medieval in technology and in thinking. A world where a man who is different is thought to be demon spawn and treated as such. Keir has been abused his whole life simply for existing and he is tired and ready to die when a feisty and fiery woman accused of being a witch for the red color of her hair is dumped into his cell under the castle.
After Keir saves Quin’s life and then their escape, Quin won’t leave him to die and performs her own life-saving rescue. She is disappointed that the trail that led her to Keir’s world and Keir might be wrong. Keir isn’t the monster of legend that she was seeking. Or is he?
Quin’s psy ability can open gateways to other places and times and she lives on a world where different is okay. Slowly Keir heals after Quin used her ability to bring him back from near death and created a permanent bond between them. The much abused Keir and the fragile, but tough galaxy drifter, Quin, slowly trust and open up to each other. Keir agrees to help Quin on her quest to find a long-lost friend. Quin’s quest becomes personal when it involves Keir’s past. And while the new pair are learning to work together and survive, a shadow from Quin’s past is making plans of his own.
I thought it would be fun and interesting to see how things were changed while enjoying a re-read of a story I already loved. But, alas…my memory couldn’t latch onto any certain differences. I only have the overall impression of tighter and smoother writing and maybe that things are described differently? Yeah, I’m no help for those who would be interested in a comparison.
But what I do know is that it was as engaging, original, complex, and emotional as the first time through. Keir is a hero that is worth rooting for. He grows and comes into his own while adventuring and finding the love of his life. And Quin discovers she has room left in her bruised and lonely heart for one more shot at love and a man who helps her put the past guilt and mistakes in perspective while standing by her and letting her be her.
I like that this involves several alien races and worlds that are truly alien and see things differently. Quin is a form of drifter. She is human, but because of what has happened to her she is far from her human roots as the blue-skinned Keir who is also human. As they work to stay alive and fulfill Quin’s need to find her lost friend, they encounter different worlds and beings. It was fun for Keir to finally start to realize that he may be unique, but he isn’t the only unique being and acceptance is finally available.
The plot had exciting moments as Keir and Quin are in deadly danger quite often. There is also mystery and intrigue going on. Keir’s past is a mystery, but there is also brief glimpses of a shadowy figure from Quin’s past working against her.
I might have noticed it the first time, but I definitely did this go around that there are a few minor details that don’t quite get explained or are left open-ended. A couple of those can definitely figure into future segments of the story. Or, to be honest, they can be left dangling as they are more curiosity points than stuff that affects the main plot.
The romance is a friends to lovers and goes slow by necessity. Keir was so abused that he struggles with basic kindness, touch, and motives including his own. He doesn’t realize he is attracted to Quin and mistakes it for gratitude for the longest time. When he does figure it out, he is ashamed because he believes that while Quin is his friend, she would never welcome anything more and would be disgusted by even his touch in that way. And Quin, she knows what it is to love and be loved, but she has lost her first and betrayed by her second so she shies away from trying again especially with one who is unstable in power and shaky in recovering from abuse as Keir. I liked that though Keir is in the process of coming into his own, Quin isn’t perfect and made her own mistakes to balance them as a team and pair of lovers. It was a sweet romance that timed it well down to the intense, heartbreaking events of the end.
So, it happened to me again- fell deeply in love with Keir the Blue Demon and his Quin and wanted to keep adventuring with them indefinitely. Lovers of sweet and exciting sci-fi romance need to give this one a go.
I was gifted a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #101 SFR
Literary Pickers #91 lingerie