Rating: 2 stars
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Plumarian Prince Nayix Lexion is still struggling to adjust since the death of his Kindred Consort. He wants to be left alone to grieve, but his people are on the brink of disaster and Nayix must find the strength to be the prince they need. It means returning to Earth to scout for the valuable flora that helps fuel their ecosystem. It’s also the place where he lost his Kindred Consort. It’s not a job Nayix wants, but to save his people, Nayix would do anything.
Veldroi Ruvax, the Jadeling heir, doesn’t have much use for his father anymore. Since his sister and mother’s deaths, the Elite Leader seems preoccupied with revenge. Now, he wants Roi to stop the Plumarians from completing their mission on Earth. Reluctantly, Roi agrees to go, but violent weather destroys his ship and leaves him at the mercy of the enemy, an enemy who seems not so very different from him. Now Nayix and Roi must work together to save Plumarians and Jadelings alike.
I’m not really sure where to start with Skin-Deep Attraction. The premise was interesting, but nearly everything about the execution was pretty rough. The world building is convoluted and lacks much structure. The characters are flat and uninspired, and the overall writing struggles to make an impact.
Skin-Deep Attraction is jumbled mix of science fiction and the contemporary, but there’s no good reference for Aldebaran Galaxy. Most of the time it feels as if the author just threw out some science fictiony sounding words. And maybe that would have been enough if the overall story was stronger. Additionally, a lot of things don’t make sense. For example, these races have space travel, can don human “skins,” and have advanced artificial intelligence, but they can’t plan ahead for bad weather? And the survival of the Plumarian race is dependent upon flora only found on one planet? These scenarios don’t work and the story feels perpetually out of step with itself as a result.
Nix and Roi are stock, cardboard figures that didn’t inspire much of my interest. They fall in love too quickly and without any development of their relationship. I just couldn’t connect with them or the secondary characters, who were just as bland. The writing is technically fine, but the conversational language is stiff, almost formulaic, and interspersed with too much slang for supposed alien life. The storyline fails to deliver any depth and the “enemy” is predictably cartoonish. It’s hard to read Skin Deep-Attraction and find a cohesive, immersive narrative that feels well developed.
There were a lot of good ideas in this book and, with more fleshing out, I think it could have been a good sci-fi story. Instead, too much of the book is superficial, without the scaffolding needed to give it real teeth. Unfortunately, I’d have to recommend giving Skin-Deep Attraction a pass.