Earth has fallen before an alien horde. Those who fought back were killed without mercy; those who surrendered were placed into slave pens, destined to serve their new masters. For Chris, a young man whose father was killed by the invaders, hatred and fear are the only things he feels for his new overlords … until he meets Nary.
One half of a soul-bonded pair, Nary comes to pick up a new toy for himself and his partner, Lasar. In an act of compassion — or is it something more? — he saves not only Chris, but Chris’ cousin Morgan. The attraction that sparks between Chris and Nary changes everything. As Chris, Nary, and Lasar shape themselves into a new and growing soulbonded trio they have to face the realities of a world being invaded and trying to fight back, of Lasar’s superiors and their mistreatment of the human race, and Chris’s growing powers.
There is much in this book to enjoy. Morticia Knight has written several books that involve couples (and trios) involved in the BDSM world, and writes with an understanding of the dynamics that make a relationship between a dominant and submissive partner work. With a deft hand she showcases not only the obedience Nary, the submissive Nasha, shows to his Ahna, Lasar, but the love and care that Lasar shows Nary. A simple scene involving a punishment Nary has brought on himself shows not only the erotic flashes I love in my romance novels, but the importance of choice. Nary has chosen those items that will be used on him as a result of disobeying his Ahna, and it’s those items Lasar uses. Lasar knows his partner well and does not push his Nasha beyond his limits, even when Nary invites him to. Following this scene of trust and respect is the loving aftercare of a dominant to his submissive. The concern Lasar shows is real, and so is the emotional bond between the two of them. A bond that soon becomes tested as a third partner is introduced into their lives.
Knight takes her time and lingers on the emotional impact such an event has. Chris’s bond with Nary is not the same as his relationship to Lasar. The dynamic shifts as Nary finds himself wanting to take a more dominant role with Chris, even as he desires to submit to Lasar. For Lasar, it’s not just taking Chris to bed, it’s also how his emotions towards Nary are affected and what this means to all of them. As Ahna, his duty is first and foremost to his soulbonded mate. How will that duty change when Chris, a human, shows signs of truly bonding not only with Nary, but Lasar as well?
For Chris, the conflict is more complex. Nary and Lasar are not only two alien men for whom he feels instant and intense physical attraction, they are also members of the race who killed his father and not only destroyed his city, but humanity’s way of life. In a scene with his cousin, Morgan, Chris is forced to come face-to-face with that reality. Giving in to the lust he feels towards his captors is something he wants very much to do, but will it cost him his humanity?
One of the weakest parts of this novel, for me, is the lack of world building. The Alsharian culture is barely defined and their technology seems limited to phones, hover craft, space ships, and some sort of gun. Each bonded couple is part of a BDSM relationship with Lasar being the dominant Ahna to Nary’s submissive Nasha. Nary, who is a respected warrior, is submissive in almost all situations. Even when facing a lower-ranked guard he radiates a meekness that irritated me. Just because Nary’s the submissive with his partner shouldn’t make him submissive to everyone who isn’t Lasar. But Alsharian culture says otherwise; a Nasha is submissive to each and every Ahna. Unfortunately Nary’s character is overly shadowed by this submissiveness, and even in scenes where he is supposed to be more authoritative he still seeks permission and approval from Lasar. There is also a lack of definition to almost all of the characters with several paper-thin villains who mostly exist just to be villainous.
But those are two minor quibbles and they certainly weren’t enough to keep me from enjoying this story. This is the first book in a series and many of these questions have to wait on an answer. I can’t wait to see how things develop between Chris, Nary, and Lasar … and even cousin Morgan. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long for the next installment!
Today we welcome our new reviewer Elizabeth and are excited for her first review. Here is a bit about her: Elizabeth will read anything that has words on it, with a special fondness for all things fantasy and science fiction. Bonus points if horses are involved. Both parents were massive readers and bedtime stories were often the works of Heinlein, McCaffrey and Zelazny. With a personal library of several hundred books and a kindle that has double that, there is rarely a time when she’s not reading something.