Science Fiction

Read Ocean’s Echo

Read Ocean’s Echo

Rich socialite, inveterate flirt, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe.

Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, principled leader, and the son of a notorious traitor general. Whereas Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds.

Surit accepted a suspicious promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they lie: They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal’s escape.

Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space—to the very neuromodifcation lab that Surit’s traitor mother destroyed twenty years ago. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful, one that upends a decades-old power struggle, and begins a war.

Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they’ve been faking.

Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?

Very different from Winter’s Orbit but liked it just as well. Kept me on my toes — I was never sure what would happen next, even if I could anticipate a few key moments that would happen *sometime* — which fits quite nicely with the main character as an agent of chaos. High tension, I didn’t want to put it down though it was too long to read at once 😂

Although their relationship was integral to the story, I would categorize this as sci-fi with a strong romantic element rather than sci-fi romance.

One quibble is I don’t believe the direction of the public’s hatred and fear makes sense: isn’t it worse that someone can make you act against your will than that they can read your mind? That order — readers are scarier than writers — is foundational to the story, so I wish there had been a stronger explanation.

Romance Science Fiction

Read Eclipse the Moon

Read Eclipse the Moon (Starlight’s Shadow, #2)

Kee Ildez has been many things: hacker, soldier, bounty…

Second book in the series is still very strong on the sci-fi plot, with slightly more steam than the first book but still a pretty light romance.

Heroine is coded ADHD to me, with hyperfocus, a constant need for motion, and memory hacks for her poor short-term memory mentioned. She also shows extreme emotional responses probably meant to be Rejection Sensitivity, and has self-esteem issues about not being perfect.

I didn’t like the hero’s reasoning for refusing to be with her, and also didn’t understand what changed his mind. With the way the men in these books are obsessed with honor and vows, I don’t really understand how they made it through a war.

Too much technical info on hacking and some of the fight scenes were too focused on blocking — too many people in a scene doing different things that I didn’t need to hear about.

The hero makes a move at the end that mimics the heroine’s decision midbook, I’m not sure that was successful in conveying emotional growth if it was meant to.

Romance Science Fiction

Re-read Games of Command

Read Games of Command

The universe isn’t what it used to be. With the new Alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, biocybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten–and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary winds up in their ship’s sick bay–and in the hands of her best friend, Dr. Eden Fynn–Sass’s efforts may be wasted.

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass’s secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart–and end Sass’s career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the biocybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings . . . for Sass. Soon it’s clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for–and everything they now have to live for.

Still enjoyed this on fourth read — it had been long enough since I read it last I didn’t remember the whole plot. I appreciate that the space pets played an important part in the plot because I’m always 🤷‍♀️ when they’re just there for cute factor. I had remembered it being totally tame but there was one short sex scene, a lot of kissing and a fair bit of innuendo.

It’s long – over 500 pages – with a lot going on so it doesn’t drag. Interesting to see how this was written in very much the style of a space opera, with a big universe, long page-count, five plus POVs, and an action-packed plot — the SFR genre seems mostly to have shifted to shorter, steamier, series-oriented works that typically feature an everywoman-insert and less of a space opera scope. Following the self-pub market demand.

This was third-person past-tense, whereas I’ve noticed a fair bit of current SFR is first-person present-tense — echoing the more traditional space opera style versus the contemporary romance / YA styling. I think first person present works best for single POV books, it can be a little confusing to hop from I to I and have to figure out if the narrator has changed (or I suppose you can just use chapter headings to indicate whose POV it is 😉).