Author: Rhi Etzweiler and Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Carina Press
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe/Alternate World, BDSM, Crime Fiction, Drama, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay, M/M Romance, Science Fiction
Sergei Stolkov is a faithful officer, though his deepest desires go against the Doctrine. A captain with the invading Coalition forces, he believes that self-sacrifice is the most heroic act and his own needs are only valid if they serve the state.
Mike, an operative planted within Cirokko’s rebels, has been ordered to seduce Sergei and pry from him the Coalition’s military secrets. His mission is a success, but as he captures Sergei’s heart, Mike is tempted by his own charade and falls in love.
When the hostile natives of the planet Cirokko make their move, all seems lost. Can Mike and Sergei survive when the Coalition’s internal affairs division takes an interest in what happened in the dusty mountains of Zasidka Pass…?
Such a simple name for a rather complicated man. Oh, you like to portray yourself as a simple guy with simple pleasures, but that’s not exactly true.
Well, you’re the opposite, now aren’t you.
His life is quite complicated, filled with lies and secrets and the constant threat of his life losing its balance on the knife’s edge. All he wants is… Mike.
Chapter two and I was reminded why I enjoy this story, the intimately human details and interactions, the danger and surprises. I realized I’d been missing this delicious writing:
… Herschel melded into the native populace like hundred-proof alcohol in orange juice.
Savor that for a moment. Yes? Yes. I remembered why I’ve now read this twice while also having listened to the audio.
The world building, and the military bent of it all, is what I consider extensive in its detail. Then again, not being a heavy alternative universe reader, it might be middle of the road for some. It’s the military part that always grabs me.
Something that helps me escape into a story is the physical description of place and how it affects the characters.
The roof was coarse and rough, still warm, radiating into him, soothing.
In one sentence, I understand where he is, how he feels, and all of it is something to which I can relate. My connection is near immediate and I’ve been brought into the story and, most importantly, taken the hand of Mike to go along this journey with him.
Infusing emotion into the physical makes it real:
He didn’t offer a name or greeting. Just moved his thigh a fraction, shifting against the stone. The clench of his muscles, rolling beneath the skin, was entrancing.
Well, now… entrancing, you say. Yowza, is what I say. It might be a bit overdone, the sentiment, but underneath the rubble and doubts is a love story. So, bring on the plump sentiment.
Which leads me to: holy hotness, Batman. Just imagine what it’s like when the actual bow chicka bow wow begins. Yeah. nods uh huh, exactly.
I like these two characters, Mike and Sergei. Neither are easily pinned down based on their traits, even while definitely feeling constrained by their cultures and positions within them. Again, something I think about which most of us can find some connection and understanding. They both change as the story progresses, though not for change’s sake but, in the way the force of someone’s life colliding with yours breaks things open while simultaneously putting others back together.
This world of pending war, clashing motives, and ever present danger feels suffocating, threatening, and filled with unexpected passion and flashes of hope. I know this sounds vague but I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that I was constantly pulling for these two men, for their survival and for the possibility of a life together, and battling with the insistent tension that flowed throughout.
Maybe he could be that weak with him. He’d already been there once. “There’s only one thing I want to be part of. You.”
Mike moved in, hooking an arm around his neck to pull Sergei against his chest. “You never stopped being part of me, Sergei.”
It’s interesting. Even as the end approached, I felt like I’d just scratched the surface in getting to know Mike and Sergei. My imagination was engaged and I love when storytellers can evoke that from me.
Will Mike and Sergei make it? Will the surprises and apparent changes in loyalty prove too much? With battles waging, where and how do they run? Do they run? To each other and what they know? Or to where they each feel their obligations lie? What about love?
This isn’t for the faint of heart. I dare you to find out. 😉
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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