This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: M/M Romance, Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on December 3, 2019
Length: 6 hours 7 minutes
Continuing on Liam and Ondre’s ventures in trade out in space with other alien races and learning how to make a cross-cultural relationship succeed over some rough spots had my attention and kept it for this latest installment in the series. If you like your aliens, well… alien and a story loaded with spicy loving, humor, and a fascinating sci-fi world, then this is where it’s at.
Expedition, Estimation, and Other Dangerous Pastimes is book four in the Claimings series. It’s an ongoing story that began back in book one and, I believe, the conclusion of the first season arc, so definitely doesn’t make a good place to jump in.
For those unfamiliar with the Claimings world:
This is a series that is very hard to summarize so that newbies can get up to speed. But, I’ll try. Liam is a human of low rank in the military. He was in the middle of a civil war fought over years out in space and he saw the worst of his race and it nearly broke him. He ends up on an alien world where the humans want to establish trade agreements with the Rownt race for their metals and other raw materials needed in manufacturing. Liam, through humble diligence and a desire to truly know the Rownt, and particularly a local young trader named Ondre, is integral to this happening. Meanwhile, Ondre spies a sweet male who is respectful and diligent even if he is woefully bad at trade and seems to be so fragile compared to others of his own race. With the aid of his people’s leaders, Ondre takes a leap and claims Liam as his palteia- submissive partner- and takes him away from the human military as part of the Rownt trade agreement with the humans. Liam is startled and uneasy because his race sees submissiveness as an undesirable trait, but soon finds himself more in line with Rownt life than his own race as he stays with Ondre.
Now, back to the review:
Liam and Ondre are still on earth after a dubious, but successful visit where a trade agreement with the Rownt Grandmothers of a large trading ship and earth’s government is in place. Ondre now bears the new Tuck trading status for his part in that tricky negotiation and is feeling his way at this level of trade. He plans to trade with another alien race, the predatory Imshee, for the genetic technology to extend Liam’s life so instead of returning home, they will continue with the ship traders. Liam soon learns that with Ondre’s new status comes pressure for him to physically grow into a larger size. For the first time, the pair are at real odds and must navigate decisions even while feeling their way through cultural complexities.
It has been a bit since I read a book in this series so I was hazy on the events leading to their current situation, but it started coming back as they talked over matters. There is a new human linguistics pro who is on the ship now so Liam is not the only human palteia to a Rownt and he discovers how far he has come in Rownt ways and language when around newbie, Zach. I cracked up the way Ondre had a cow over Zach’s dog and not getting the whole domestic pet bit since he saw the dog as a predatory threat to Liam.
These books can move along at a slower pace because a great deal of the time is spent straightening out matters of confusion that occur between totally alien races and large bouts of sex between Ondre and Liam. However, this one had all that, but added some interesting personal issues that crop up between them that tax their trust and their relationship. There were some suspenseful moments as well. I found both of them got dramatic over things at times, but it is their first real arguments so it makes sense. Loved seeing how they strove so hard to protect each other and make sure the other had the best for their final story. And, I think getting this book in audio for the first time in the series gave it some extra emotional ooph.
Speaking of the audio, I thought John Solo did a fab job voicing a sci-fi world of aliens, alien terms, and all the characters including the old Grandmothers. This was my first book in the series on audio and now I know I missed out on an even better experience with the book. He kept a good pace and tone and had me laughing more often when the subtle humor was brought out.
In summary, this latest was great and I am so glad to see the series is continuing even with a new pair and situation. Hopefully, Liam and Ondre will make appearances. This series won’t be for everyone (alien sex, ahem), but if you do want your aliens to be truly alien in your m/m sci-fi romance then this is a great bet.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to the book in exchange for an honest review.
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