Author: M.A. Church
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/30/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Gay Romance, Science Fiction
Two very different civilizations—one bathed in bright sunlight, and the other veiled in shadow.
Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line of communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.
The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people—including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.
Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.
I love sci-fi and slave fic, so when I saw the blurb for In Enemy Hands, I had to read it. I really connected with the characters and liked how both the sci-fi and slave portion of the story worked, with only a few exceptions.
Varo, although a starship captain, is very naïve in some respects. He cares about his crew and hates his abusive father. When he is captured by Adlar, even though he is a prisoner, he is not treated like a slave; he is given choices. As such this doesn’t read entirely like a slave fic but it does bring up questions as to the validity of feelings as Varo is still a prisoner. Adlar was noble and kind for an assassin. I liked him and his treatment of Varo very much.
The few exceptions I had were some of the sci-fi details. One was the common names for food. Adding a different planet’s name to cinnamon or other spices is not as creative as I would have liked, especially as Earth is not a planet named in this world, nor is there any indication that humans or Earth has anything to do with this system. I know it was used to help the reader get a feel for the food by relating it to something we know but it took me out of the story a bit. There was also a lot of terminology borrowed from other space shows; things like beaming people from ships. There were unique animals, though, and a few other technologies that were put forth. I appreciate that effort.
On the whole, it was an entertaining, sexy story.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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