When an explosion during a training mission kills everyone but Jaime Bashir, he takes the opportunity to escape the control of the Commonwealth. But Jamie finds himself on a desolate moon in a grungy outpost when the Commonwealth shows up. Running for his life, he runs into Rylan, and Rylan immediately figures out that Jaime is a wizard. Jaime can connect to computers with his mind, and while it isn’t magic, it is a trait that is feared. The Singularity—all tech and AI—took over and waged war on the humans, and humans are just desperately trying to survive. But fortunately for Jaime, The Wayward Prince is a space ship in need of a “wizard.” Jaime takes the opportunity to get off world and will do whatever he can to survive. Even put up with Rylan, who is directed to keep a close eye on Jaime.
Rylan isn’t everything he’s pretending to be, and his lies don’t sit well with him. But he’s determined to do what is right and he feels he’s doing that. But as Jaime and Rylan get closer, Rylan wants to keep lying even less. He knows that when his secret comes out, it’s going to destroy everything he’s built. Especially with Jaime.
The crew of the Wayward Prince is in a mess far worse than they know. Secrets are revealed and loyalty is tested. But when the true nature of their cargo comes out, they will have to work together with unwanted allies to defeat it. And Rylan is hell bent on showing Jaime he can trust him, because he knows that the love they found is real. If only he can earn Jaime’s trust again.
From reading the blurb on this one, I was quick to pick it up. The premise here is right in my wheelhouse and speaks to my geeky heart. However, I was a little nervous before I began to read. This is my first book by Dare, and that combined with how picky I am about world building, meant I was cautious. But right from the start, I was drawn into the world the author created, fully immersed in interstellar travel and the pirating ways of the crew. The world is layered, well built, and fully realized, and with compelling characters that had me hanging on to every word.
I really enjoyed the cast of characters. Dare did a great job of fully fleshing out not only the MCs—who captured my heart right at the start—but also the unique members of the crew. Each secondary character had a distinct personality and a specific role to play. Though we only get the story told from alternating POVs of Jaime and Rylan, we are treated to the individual personalities of every member of the crew. It’s really an ensemble piece and it was incredibly well done.
I loved both the MCs. Both Jaime and Rylan have a strong sense of themselves, though it’s different from each other. I liked the way they complemented each other and how they fit well together. Their chemistry was off the charts and their progression to love felt believable and natural. These guys drive the story and their individual journeys—as well as their journey together—make the story work. Jaime grew into himself as he was tested and tried, and Rylan really learned exactly who he was. Separately, they are compelling characters, and together it goes to a whole new level.
I was also impressed with the plot as a whole. Nothing felt forced or too rushed, and it all developed in a believable way. There were more secrets at work than anyone knew, but the author laid in the right clues that made things work. The Commonwealth, the different factions of detractors, and all the different ideologies were so well laid out that as the mystery portion of the story came to a head, it all made sense.
Basically, I really enjoyed this story. It’s one of the best sci fi romances I’ve read in a while, and it has all the important aspect that make it a good read. Excellent and visual world building, compelling characters, and a great romance with wonderful chemistry. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. And it looks like this is the first of a series. I, for one, am looking forward to more.