Tellan is on a backwater planet, trying to outfit himself for a trip into the empty quadrant. It is imperative that he not to let it be known that he’s alone or where he is going and why. Tellan meets Jorant working at the shop where Tellan buys his goods, but doesn’t give the big, silent man much thought. Until he’s boarding the ship he’s books passage on and Jorant shows up again.
After his life went wrong, Jorant knew he could never go home again, and ended up working in and providing security for the shop. But when the owner is killed, Jorant must run. He’s done nothing wrong, but he will be blamed. Meeting up with Tellan again is an accident, but it quickly becomes clear to both men that they can have a beneficial relationship. Tellan is headed to the empty quadrant to find the mythical essent water and he needs help. Jorant is willing to provide Tellan’s security.
They face dangers on the planet and nearly don’t make it off alive. But even when they do, their life isn’t easy. Pirates are after them and it will take quick thinking to get them out of the predicament. And even when they get back to Tellan’s home planet, one known for his opulence and power, it is not smooth sailing. But despite all the complications, Tellan and Jorant have found a connection, and neither man is willing to let the other go. But when war between their two home worlds looms, they might not have a choice.
The blurb for this book caught my interest immediately and I was very much looking forward to it. I have to admit though, that the blurb didn’t accurately portray the story within. For the most part, that was okay. This story started out with a lot of promise, and I found myself drawn into to the world Lore created. If it wasn’t everything I expected, it was still a good story. And though ending left me wanting, I still enjoyed it.
What I can easily and happily comment on is the feel of this book. If you like sci fi done right, then this is definitely a book you should consider. I thought Lore did a really nice job giving a sense of place. I immediately knew where I was and what was going on. I could feel the world coming alive around me, the ambience of the backwater planet easily coming across on the page. It was lovingly crafted to show us how this other world existed without over explaining everything and talking down to the reader. This part of the story was exceedingly well done, and I greatly appreciated it.
In Tellan and Jorant, we had two well-crafted characters. Tellan seemed like a sophisticated, if somewhat weak and useless, socialite. But he proved to have layers underneath, and he didn’t hesitate to show his true grit when it was needed. I liked watching him evolve and show Jorant and the reader what kind of man he was. Jorant, too, had hidden depths that were revealed over time. I though he was particularly consistent. Not to mention his plight and story tugged at my heart and really made me feel for him. These guys definitely had chemistry from their first meeting, and I particularly liked watching them take small steps toward each other before they could truly be what they became.
So while the world building and the two main characters were well done, I definitely had a few small problems with the plot and the pacing. I said previously that the story was not what I thought, or even what I was lead to believe by the blurb and the beginning. The quest Tellan was on wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it was going to be. And we never really got a resolution to what, exactly, he extracted. And then, while the first 60% of the book or so seemed like it was building toward some great climax, the story started to rush and multiple plot points were suddenly showing up. There were a few time jumps that simply seemed like wasted opportunity for story to me, and I would have liked to see what was going on during those times. Perhaps if those areas has been more fleshed out, I wouldn’t have felt so overwhelmed and rushed at the end.
That being said, I did actually enjoy this story. It really appealed to the sci fi geek in me, and the romance between Tellan and Jorant was well done. It was less urgent and angsty than I was expecting, given what I thought the story would be about, but overall it was a good tale. Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a well-written sci fi, with just enough heavy emotion to give the story some weight.