Tover has a rare ability to move anything instantly through space. He is the best of the best and in a very elite group of highly skilled navigators. Taken from his parents at the age of five, Tover has been highly trained and he is valuable to the company he works for. He is treated as a celebrity on his colony and he lives a life of luxury and safety. He never asks questions and has no reason to. He works for the good guys, or so he thinks. He can have his pick of hookups, but he is constantly drawn to Cruz, who passes through Tover’s station occasionally.
The physically fit Cruz offers Tover something to look forward to in his otherwise routine life. When Cruz shows up at Tover’s birthday celebration, the night becomes catastrophic as Tover is abducted and betrayed by the man he has grown to love. Thrust into a world of betrayal and violence, Tover’s captors use torture and pain to force him to use his navigational skills. Escape doesn’t seem likely, but as Tover’s captivity lengthens, he may realize that the only way out is to trust the man that betrayed him. It is a hard lesson as Tover has also come to terms that his seemingly perfect life may just be made up of a conspiracy of lies.
Song of the Navigator immediately puts us into Tover’s daily world. What I enjoyed first about this book was that Tover’s abilities are explained upfront and in an easy to understand manner. He has a unique ability of being able to move things through space and the description is accessible. There is not a lot of larger world building and the futuristic setting is mostly to be taken at face value without a larger description of what year it is or where Earth figures into the current universe.
Tover is used to everyone applauding for him after a day’s work as they are in awe of him, and he never had a reason to question anything. After we get caught up on Tover’s life, the roughly the first quarter of the book involves Tover being abducted and tortured. He is beaten, he is broken, and the writing is so descriptive that his pain, both physical and emotional, resonates. On top of that, although he only knew what Cruz showed him when they hooked up, he trusted Cruz and has a deep sense of betrayal.
Cruz’s character was not evolved as well. His family was discussed and his planet was shown in great detail. Cruz himself was not discussed as much and his place in the hierarchy of his planet was murky. His exes were brought up, although it was not clear why as they were not on page characters and it was certainly not clear if he was involved with someone else when he was hooking up with Tover. Cruz remained too mysterious to be able to get a true read on. We are shown Tover and Cruz’s relationship in brief flashbacks and then for the majority of the book they are not together. Tover recovers at Cruz’s family home, but their relationship has sustained so much damage that they are barely in any scenes together as they slowly work their way back to each other.
We do get a lot of detail of Tover’s internal thoughts and then the larger story of what was really going on with the company that Tover worked for. This worked well to pull the story together at the end, but some passages were slower to read through and I would have really liked to see more of Tover and Cruz together. After everything they went through, the ending was a bit anti-climatic for me. There was a resolution to Tover and Cruz’s relationship, but the larger story line was a battle still being fought. This story was creative and Tover’s character was well drawn and intriguing. There were certain areas that I would have liked more of, but the story line overall had me turning page after page.