Sometimes I crave an uncomplicated passionate space sci-fi romance. Plain and simple. Human-alien romance end of the world sort of stuff. You know what I mean? And this new to me series by an equally untried author more than met expectation with the forbidden romance, survival, intrigue, and unique world building.
The story opens with Abbie Brown, a med tech, being summoned to help a human doctor that is laboring to help save a race. The Valtarie are a secretive race that no one knows much about. Abbie has heard the rumors- winged angelic vampires. The race is dominated by males and their females are dying in child birth. The Valtarie can enthrall with their hypnotic eyes. And they have stringent rules that a male cannot look upon or touch a female.
All of this keeps her on the fearful side of the huge Valtarie captain sent to pick her up and bring her back to his world. There is a situation and their space ship goes down on a frozen planet. The Valtarie, Traveen, saves her life by sharing his warmth, but in the process condemns himself to death or at the very least the hard conditions of the mines on the prison moon because he touched her. Abbie can’t stand to see injustice done and to her, in spite of the Valtarie law, this is injustice. Traveen was nothing, but good to her and saved her life. Now she will save his.
Traveen is the second son of the Valtarie ruler, but this does not save him after his act of heroism puts him in the crosshairs of the law. The law has a strangle hold on their people and perpetuates the race dying off. Many have railed against it to no avail. Traveen takes the memory of his one and only moment of touching a vibrant beautiful female with him into certain death in the crystal mines.
Only, Abbie has other ideas and she comes for him in a daring escape. Now they are outlaws, but all Traveen can really wonder is if, in spite of their differences, will Abbie stay with him and if she does, can he protect her from those that will be after them?
This story is an interesting layered piece. There is the expected layer of a hot, passionate inter-species forbidden romance set against some good action scenes, but then the book surprised me. It went a little deeper and offered more with its world building and character/relationship development.
I found the alien world of the Valtarie interesting with their harsh rules and interesting racial features. They look like angels, but they are a scary, intense blood-drinking warrior race that stay just barely on the civilized side of things. The reader gets a foreshadowy feeling early on and later, some of the characters like Traveen’s older brother offer up some good complexity with their mysterious actions.
The romance was off to the races at first with Abbie and Traveen sharing an attraction and then a fairly quick connection. Usually, this is disappointing, but this time I went with it because the early connection was the easy part. The author took the time to explore their differences and situations that a young relationship would stumble over. In other words, she didn’t make it easy on them just because they quickly became a couple.
And instead of the usual shallow character descriptions and backgrounds, this particular story was given characters with pasts and their situations led to some character growth. Traveen has lost everything by his life saving act. He is experiencing an identity crisis at the same time he is evolving into something new. Abbie is alone in the universe and she sorrows and continues to struggle over the loss of her brothers. Her fear of loss and her knowledge that she is the cause of all of Traveen’s troubles has her struggling with guilt. Even altered by his punishment, he is a beautiful being and she can’t see what he sees in her. But they help each other heal and forge a strong, deep relationship.
There are some exciting scenes near the beginning and especially nearer the end with the middle going back to develop the character side. But after that last series of scenes, I am chomping at the bit for the next installment in this surprising series. Oh, not that there is a cliffie or anything like that, but I really need Traveen’s older brother’s story. Badly. He is the bad boy with mysterious motives and the scenes with him were intense.
On a side note, this book has a crossover with another book, Forever One. This one can be read without the other, but thought I’d mention in for those who were curious.
All in all, I am more than satisfied. I expected to be moderately entertained, but instead found myself riveted. Bring on more winged warrior sci-fi hot romance action!
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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