Well…wow, that about sums up my reaction to part two in F.T. Luken’s Broken Moon series…just wow! Fair warning, if you have not read the first installment, The Star Host, then the beginning of this review will contain spoilers. If you have, then you know that when we left the first novel there was a lovely whisper of something more to develop between the star host Ren and the Phoenix Order soldier, Asher. Well, that whisper was quickly eaten up in secrets, half-truths, and a whole heap of betrayal. But all is not lost, I do think (read hope) that these two men will end up together; however, the journey to that place may be even rockier than the trip they are currently on.
Let’s recap where we are at the beginning of this second novel, Ghosts & Ashes. First, Baron Vos, the guy who wants to take over the galaxy, has escaped and gone underground. Through some incredible power of his own, Ren managed to shut down another star host, Millicent, and take out Abiathar, Vos’ right-hand man. At the start of this story, Abiathar is in prison and Millie is on board the Star Stream ship with Ren, Ash, his sister Rowan, and their crew. In order to keep both Millie and Ren from being sent to prison, there is a daily check-in via video with the nasty General VanMeerten where Ren does his best not to go techno and shoot energy from his fingertips. Three months have passed and Ash is making good on his promise last year in the Corps by being their lackey and Ren’s guard. Ren is close to losing it completely and spending more and more time mentally in the machine mind of the ship. His attempts to rein in his explosive and dangerous powers are not going well. He’s not sleeping due to being plagued with constant nightmares, most of which feature his lost brother Liam, and tensions between he and Ash are high, to say the least.
Ren wants to go home, as does Jakob, who is also on board after helping the crew fight Abiathar on Mykonos. More importantly, Ren and Jakob want to find their families to see if they are still alive and so they convince the General to let them go, but that comes with a price—and Asher will figure greatly into the favor. Thus begins the adventure that will lead this crew into more danger than the first book ever saw and spill some amazing and disturbing revelations about just how far Asher will go to do what he feels he must to protect Ren from himself. There will be harsh betrayal, loss, and surprises so startling that my mouth literally dropped to the floor by novel’s end.
Once again author F.T. Lukens melds sci-fi with the paranormal to make an exciting and compelling story that I could not put down. Be forewarned this one ends in a serious cliffhanger with lots of things up in the air and will have you, like Ren, unsure of who can be trusted and where his allegiance should eventually lie. The tenuous trust between Ren and Asher will take several hits, but once again this author weaves a bit of magic and gives us a taste of a potential happy ending for these two young men—if they can ever get their collective heads out of their asses. More back story on exactly what Ren and Millie are is brought into light and for poor Ren, that knowledge comes at a great price when it comes to his parents and exactly what they knew and did in order to keep Ren safe.
That is the real key to this installment. Everyone is hell-bent on keeping Ren safe and to Ren it feels like just one more prison or attempt to keep him contained. He will do some growing up in this book and that will take the form of Ren standing up for himself and breaking some ties that will leave him gutted. Both Asher and Ren will be faced with truths that leave them reeling and uncertain who to trust and how to proceed forward. For Ren it has always been about finding Liam, his brother, and getting him to safety. As Liam invades Ren’s dreams more and more we are given tiny clues as to where he may be and what he is; needless to say, both brothers are somewhat special. Poor Asher will continue on his mission to keep Ren safe—it has always been about that for Asher and the wrong turns he will take to achieve this end will have you shaking your head and wanting to wring his neck sometimes.
F.T. Lukens sends up another fantastic novel for Paranormal Week 2018 here at Joyfully Jay. I cannot wait for the final chapter in this series to be released later this year. Ghosts & Ashes does not disappoint and may be even better than the first in the series, in my opinion.