Review: Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie

Posted April 8, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 18 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie
Bonds of Brass

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: The Bloodright Trilogy #1
Genres: M/M Romance, Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Del Rey
Released on April 7, 2020
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight

An empire spreads when another one falls.  One cadet from the fallen empire and one from the conquering have forged an unlikely friendship that is tested when treachery, rebellion, and secrets hurl them into an intense, sci-fi romantic adventure.

Bonds of Brass is the first in the Bloodright Trilogy and opens at an Umber Imperial Academy on the fallen Archon Empire’s homeworld of Rana.  Ettian is one of the top cadet pilots and pushes hard to overcome his origins as an Archon street urchan fostered into the Umber Empire.  His roommate and best friend, Gal, makes it all worthwhile and fun.  Then, some fellow cadets stage an uprising and force Ettian to learn who Gal truly is even as he has saved his life and put them on the run.  A shot at throwing off an oppressive regime and good to return to his people has Ettian hoping that Gal is the best hope of everyone and they just need to get him into the heart of the Empire past treacherous, power-mad people wanting to use Gal for their own gain.

Bonds of Brass began with some exciting, action-packed sci-fi adventure scenes before pulling back to properly introduce the characters, the backdrop of the story, and set up for what is to come.  It can plod along slowly, but steadily through this part though this is interspersed with blips of breath-taking excitement and harrowing adventures for Gal and Ettian especially when they are joined by a young street rogue.

I was excited to see all the special attention to the development of this early book including the inter-relationships.  I could feel the story building as it progressed leading toward a big climax action scene and a twist.

I saw the big twist coming from the beginning and I saw a few other surprises before they happened.  Knowing what was coming didn’t ruin my interest.  I was riveted for the entire last quarter and flipped pages rapidly.  It ended on what might seem like a high note, but things are ominously only at the end of the first leg and there is a great deal of story still to be revealed.

The attraction and romance is there, but it is mostly simmering in the background to the action suspense side of the story.  There is already a solid friendship, but both shied away from taking things to the next level for their own reasons.  Ettian knows that Gal is destined for something big where he cannot go.  Naturally, things end up pretty dire for this pair by the end and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next series installment to see what comes next.

So, this first book in the trilogy did its job well and hooked me in and left me wanting the next book ASAP.  This book has rapidly paced rushes and introspective moments in turn while in a carefully developed sci-fi world that I think other m/m sci-fi romance fans will really appreciate.

I rec’d this book via Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #37
COYER Quarantine #9
Literary Pickers #61 spaceship
Romanceopoly #28 Rainbow Row


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Carole Rae
1 year ago

Fun! I do not read enough of Sci-Fi

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

It’s been a rather long drought of sci-fi for me, too. This got me right back in the mood.

1 year ago

This sounds like a wonderful start to the trilogy. I especially like the sound of the balance between the action, world-building, and character development.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Ethan

Yes, I’m very excited to see where it goes. I was trying hard not to spoiler it for everyone so I stayed vague about the good stuff. 🙂

Lover of Romance
1 year ago

I can definitely see how this book was so appealing for you. Glad it swept you away so well into it.

Great review.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

It sure hit the spot, Renee. 🙂

1 year ago

Sounds like a good one, and I love it when the tail end of a book keeps me riveted! I feel like I’ve been slacking on SF lately haha- i need to find some good ones.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg

Yes, it’s leading right into the next big adventure for these two and I can’t wait.

I’ve been slacking, too. 🙂

1 year ago

Wow. This seems intense. What are the ages – like teens? It makes me think of Ender’s Game because of the younger ages of the characters. Not sure about it for me, but glad you enjoyed.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Jen

Yes, and I didn’t even share the most intense stuff. I think they are college age maybe older teens… I think it said, but I’m not sure.

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

Other than Ettian feeling like Gal is meant for bigger and therefore we can’t be together kind of bump, sounds like a fun start!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Yeah, and then there was this huge complication that came out in the end and I suspected all along. Oh man. Stay tuned…. 🙂

1 year ago

I am not big on sci-fi romance, but this sounds like a good one.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Nadene

Oh yes, a good time was had by all, Nadene! 🙂

Mary Kirkland
1 year ago

That sounds like it was a lot of fun. Glad to hear it.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

It was. I had to laugh at some of the situations they got into especially Ettian. 🙂

1 year ago

This sounds like a solid science fiction adventure with a great slow burn romance as well. That’s good to hear knowing the big twist and a few surprises didn’t diminish your enjoyment. I like the sound of the fast pace, the introspective romance and the solid world building. Sounds like the kind of sci-fi i enjoy. I’ll add this one to my wishlist. Great review!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Lola

If I could only recommend this one once, you would be my first thought. I think you’d enjoy it, too, Lola!