Scardust offers a blend of back-water Texas, a future involving Mars as the new frontier, an up against some big odds hero, and a mysterious stranger that may be from a whole lot further away than at first thought. The sci-fi future tech blended with dusty, small town Texas with a beaten down hero about to break and the mysterious stranger worked well and I devoured this one in one sitting.
Raleigh Williams wants out of his town- his life- and dreams of being chosen for the Mars astronaut program as a way to do it. His brother’s dying wish was for Raleigh to make it happen so regardless of his past that is what he is set on doing even if it means doing whatever is necessary to make it happen. He is soul-weary and on his last ounce of hope when he witnesses something phenomenal.
There is a burst of light one night out on his walk in the desert and suddenly a buck-naked man is there and Raleigh has his memories assaulting him. The mysterious man has no memories of who he is or how he got there, but now, he, too, is experiencing Raleigh’s memories.
Crow and Raleigh try to piece together what has happened even while hiding the truth from Raleigh’s older sister and her husband, others, and those new arrivals in the black SUVs.
I wasn’t sure what to expect other than a vague idea of a sci-fi mystery with the stranger guy and life in the future, but this was so different- and I didn’t mind once I adjusted. Other than some future objects and the memory swaps, much of this story is about the person of Raleigh.
Raleigh’s life would break the average person- abusive home, brother committing suicide, bullying, a stint in Juvie, mother fallen to pieces, and no future prospects other than a pipe-dream of going to Mars as one of the elite astronauts.
And then no sooner had I adjusted to this story about Raleigh then a switch happens and wowsers, was that something brilliant and impressive taking things right back deep into sci-fi territory. Though, I will say that it wasn’t an utter shock since the clues were sort of there all along.
The romance is an interesting and more of a background element since ‘Crow’ is a blank slate and Raleigh has the issues from his past. I liked what ultimately came in the end, but the surprise twist did take some mental adjustments for me and does affect the romance.
All in all, this was a bit of something different even by my usual sci-fi romance standards. I was broken-hearted over Raleigh’s situation and there were a few points when I teared up. I do think many people will love this story as long as they can agilely make the adjustments as the story shows its surprise elements. This will be for the M/M Sci-Fi Romance lovers.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #354 NA
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