Series: The Confederacy Treaty, #1
Genres/Themes: science fiction romance, aliens, military
Author: Lilly Cain
Excerpt: on author's website
While not groundbreaking, this is certainly a solid piece of sci-fi romantica. The scope of the novella's plot is intimate, but there are threads that imply greater complexity on a series level, to be explored in future installments.
Book Description (via Goodreads):
Inarrii agent Alinna Gaerrii was tasked with observing the Starforce base on Earth. Crash landing her observation pod was not part of her mission briefing. Neither was making m'ittar—mind contact—with Major David Brown, the human who found her amongst the wreckage.
David thinks she's a psychologist sent to evaluate his Special Forces team, and Alinna goes along with his misconception, seizing the opportunity to observe humans up close. But their contact has unexpected side effects, and Alinna soon invades David's dreams. Through their intimate mental connection she allows him to express his forbidden physical desires.
Alinna delights in the sensory exploration and grows excited by the prospect of a treaty with the humans and a potential life mate in David. But an attack from an unknown ship sends the base into chaos, and Alinna may be forced to reveal her lie, erasing all hope of a successful treaty, and driving David away forever...
This story is definitely established quickly and, in my opinion, efficiently. At the same time, there was apparent care and detail employed early on, enough to make the quick exposition feel thorough. Within the first few scenes, the reader has a sense of the alien(s) and their dynamic with humankind; the main characters are already engaging; and the groundwork is laid for the romantic dilemma that eventually carries the plot to the end.
The story keeps the scope controlled, manageable and focused. We follow the hero and heroine and learn only as much as is needed to understand their respective dilemmas and appreciate how they attempt to overcome them. Sure, there is a looming threat of the Inarrii's premature discovery by the human race--and thus the potential failure of any future treaties--but it's limited to Alinna's frame of reference.
In my opinion, this book falls somewhere in the erotic romance arena. The romance was nice and well developed…but man, the steam was incendiary. In fact, it just nudges at the boundaries a bit, and might catch some readers unaware (well, depending on one's boundaries). So head's up on that. Still, the development of the romantic aspect of the book was pretty clever, using unexpected methods (i.e., a kind of telepathy) to quickly build a deep connection between Alinna and David.
For the most part, the logic and explanations behind characters' decisions and actions were believable. Further along in the story, though, I did feel like the romantic development lost a bit of its great flow, and certain events were just bursting onto the page with seeming randomness, inexplicably there just to jump the plot from one point to another (a sudden, mysterious attack on a military compound comes to mind). A couple times I'd found some of the later explanations of developments a smidge blatant and unnecessary.
All told, though, this story is indeed solid and tightly written. The romance is developed via some intriguing means, and at times proves to be truly spicy. There's a lot of promise developed by the initial world-building; this book was more romance-focused than sci-fi focused, but I have a feeling the next installments will really draw out the very interesting sci-fi premise of this series. And I absolutely plan to find out first-hand how that goes. ^_^
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
"I really liked it."
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