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The Stars Entwined (The Aryshan War Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 371 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The action is crafted well, with the story proceeding in slow exposition followed by frenetic action and development. This leads to a stunning set of climatic action. All of the characters, from lowly lieutenants to admirals and Speakers, are well constructed with character traits, flaws, and believable motives. The races are at odds, somewhat hostile, but they both have motives for action and goals. The story give some tantalizing views of two cultures in contact and conflict.
Earth and Arysha are on the brink of interstellar war, pushed by the machinations of the Aryshan Speaker Ny’aet. Sean Barrows is sent out for counterintelligence work, but is recruited into deeper intelligence collection. Everything proceeds according to plan … until Sean get a glimpse of a beautiful Aryshan face. As fate turns out, Sean (in surgical disguise) is placed as a sleeper agent on Tamar’s ship, assigned there along with replacement pilot Tol. Tol and Sean have meanwhile become great friends and supporters, both being somewhat oddball personalities in their respective worlds, but with great respect and liking for each other.
As tensions increase, Sean finds himself assigned to Tol on combat missions against human targets, and also finds himself spending more time, first by accident, with his commander Tamar. Sean and Tol grow as close as only combat buddies (of any species) do, placing their lives in each other’s hands. Sean and Tamar begin growing closer together, gradually falling in love. As the Speaker maneuvers events to his advantage, we discover his own interests in and plans for Tamar.
San is revealed to his Aryshan lover and comrade as an impostor and spy, after a combat accident. All three people and their love for each other are tested to the breaking point by the Speaker, and by his torturers. Fleet combat give the lovers and their best friends a chance to escape and flee a damaged ship; but now, having met in her world, they must understand and manage to live in his.
- The secondary characters felt more real to me than the two primary characters who left me cold. We found out about what motivated the secondaries but less about the primaries.
- The book ended much too suddenly. Change of scene - the end. No real sense of jeopardy to make me look forward to a second book.
- The usual complaint with small-press books: too many typos that should never have happened. The winner for this one is how somebody 'titled' their head.
- There's very little feel that the Aryshans are really aliens and just one throw-away line that I noticed that said they might have a shared background/genetics with humans. Along those lines, the Aryshans used too many obviously human ways of phrasing.
Hoping these comments are useful to the author.
The author tries his hand at space opera romance, with some impressive results and one caveat.
In brief: Earth’s spacefaring empire is clashing with the Ashyrans, a race of empathic beings who experience each other’s emotions, with some odd implications for their biology and culture. Earth needs intel and Sean Barrows undergoes cosmetic surgery to pass as one of the enemy. He’s inserted into one of their ships, but soon the matter is complicated when he becomes smitten, then more than smitten, with Tamar, a warship commander nursing some doubts about the direction her rulers are steering their people.
Getting romantically entangled isn’t the best decision for Sean, but with the Ashyran empathic sharing, this may be unavoidable. Loyalties will be tested, plots unmasked, and our heroes could save two empires if they don’t get killed in the process.
The story and especially the aliens have a very Star Trek feel, particularly the Ashyrans, with their cranial accoutrements reminiscent of Trek aliens, and their compatibility with humans. As a species, their empathic bondsense is also an interesting source of strength that also renders them vulnerable. The author also had some evident fun playing with and validating the tropes of love at first sight and fated mates so prevalent among fantastical romances, and there’s even a dash of super-science to get the characters out of some scrapes.
However, I’ve got to voice one criticism, and a minor spoiler: while there are alternating points of view, the hero and heroine don’t directly interact until nearly halfway through the book, and the romance is the big selling point.
That said, I’m interested in reading the next installment, but the best parts of this book comes in the back half.
Most recent customer reviews
• classic-style action driven scifi with some human development
• logical extrapolation of how biological differences impact a species’ development