Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Kell is a male courtesan hired by the staff of the space station Apteryx for the captain, Jorihn Parr. Jorihn knew nothing about Kell until he arrived, but reluctantly agrees to the contract. Kell has been trained in the art of giving pleasure, and it’s just a job to him. He does what he can to fulfill his contract with Jorihn. But the men have a connection, something deeper, and Jorihn cancels the contract. Kell is hurt that Jorihn didn’t discuss with him and heads back to his small ship.
But the station orbits a flux planet, and flux is a valuable commodity. The CelTech corporation will do whatever they can to gain control of the flux. When the CelTech operative arrives onboard the station, Kell immediately recognizes him as Shipley, the man who is really in charge of CelTech and who also got Kell out of the slums and eventually into the Academy where he learned his skills. Kell knows that Shipley will use him if he can, and makes the choice to walk away. But his ship crashes to the planet when he undocks. Everyone thinks Kell is dead.
The flux is actually made up of sentient alien beings and they remake Kell into a different body, connect with his mind, and force him to be their spy. Kell reconnects with Jorihn and the crew of the Apteryx and vows to help them survive what is coming, though they have no idea that the strange looking man calling himself Rally is really Kell. He knows CelTech will not stop and will take the station by force. For a while, he must keep his true identity a secret. Eventually, he is able to tell Jorihan the truth. Jorihan can accept it because of the connection he feels with Rally/Kell. When the onslaught comes, the citizens of the Apteryx fight back. But the Celtech forces are strong, and victory is not a given. Together, they must fight for the greater good, and with any luck, they all might just make it out alive.
Okay, truth time: I’m a geek and a good sci fi story will always catch my interest. When Flux Orbit showed up, I was quick to snap it up. But I went into it with a long time sci fi fan’s eye. Fortunately for me, this story didn’t disappoint. I’m going to tell you now, if sci fi is your thing, you’re going to want to add this one to your list.
Veinglory does a fantastic job of painting a picture of the desperate need to survive in a world where Earth has been all but destroyed and a space station on the raggedy edge is fighting for survival. The Apteryx was never meant to survive the journey, but the ship and her occupants have done much more than that. Despite the hard times, they’ve managed to thrive. And Jorihn Parr is a big reason for that. He has led for nearly fifteen years and has done what he needed to do to keep everyone safe. I loved this guy. He’s the quintessential captain. He will do whatever is necessary for the greater good. He has a strong sense of morals, is a bit black and white, but he was a truly likeable character. Underneath his somewhat gruff exterior is a heart of gold. He showed us his character from the very beginning, and he was a thoroughly consistent man. I knew what to expect of him, and was rooting for him the entire time.
Kell is our narrator though, and I found him completely relatable. In the beginning, he’s a pretty face, with a sharp mind underneath, and while he doesn’t particularly love being a sex worker, he’s good at it, he knows it, and is loyal to the Academy that educated him. When he wakes again after his crash, and he’s completely different on the outside, he has to relearn about himself and what works in the real world. His struggles to acclimate felt real. And though his perception has been altered somewhat, he is determined to remain human, at least in his thoughts. I thought that his aspect was handled really well, and I loved watching him grow, struggle, and change.
Part of that change is that he now has a mental connection with Luc, one of the aliens of the flux. Luc is a constant presence in Kell’s head, and when we first meet “him” he’s calculating and clinical. But as he comes to understand Kell, and the autonomy he allows Kell to retain, Luc evolves and changes as well. For me, this was one of the best parts of the book. I loved the way they integrated with and influenced each other. When Luc had to go back to the planet to try to convince the rest of his race that an alliance was necessary to save everyone, I felt his loss as keenly as Kell did.
The writing here was really great as well. The narrative flowed beautifully and the descriptions were wonderfully done. The world building here is nearly impeccable. Veinglory did a really great job of giving us all the information we needed to understand this futuristic world without it ever feeling like an info dump. I was immediately thrust into this world and was transported to a different time and place. We got to see how day to day living operated on the space station and the simple things like food and entertainment were shown in a way that was easy to understand. I could practically picture the station and all the little things that were necessary for living in space. There were a few instances where I got a little lost, and felt that some additional explanation would have been beneficial, but they were few and far between.
I had a little trouble, at times, with the pacing though. It wasn’t a huge issue, but there were a few points where I felt that the story lagged just a little, and others where I thought things were moving a bit too fast and I would have liked to see it drawn out a little more. Again, not a huge deal, but enough that it was something that stuck out to me. The other thing that sort of bugged me a little is that Kell and Jorihn have an almost insta-love. Now, I’m not opposed to that trope if I can feel the connection between the characters. Here though, I didn’t feel it right away. It was only later, after Kell came back, that I really felt their connection. Ultimately it worked, but it took me longer to get there than it did for the MCs.
The bottom line is simple: If you enjoy good sci fi, buy this book. And if it interests you at all, but maybe is not something that you’d normally buy, I can definitely say give this one a try. Flux Orbit is a wonderfully crafted tale and I really enjoyed it.