There’s a whole lot of backstory that is given throughout the book, so I’ll try to keep it snappy here (and pretty, too). You have Mike, an operative on a dusty backwater planet that the Alliance (vaguely good-guys) has some unknown interest in, and Sergei, part of the Doctrine (vaguely bad-guys) sources coming to take over and, no joke, indoctrinate the people. These are, coincidentally, our lovers, and through some very daring choices, they end up in the field together. (It's all a bit Romeo and Juliet.)
I was a little hard on this book as I listened to it, mostly because of what happened last time I listened to a Gay Romance. (See my review of Escape Velocity.) But toward the end I found myself more and more amazed at how much info was given without spending (too much) time on actual exposition. No, that was left to moments of reflection and brief discussions (and omissions) when the boys were just getting to know one another. It was actually nice how before they could really settle into something temporary, the rug was pulled out and something proverbial hit the fan.
And even though I was hard on the audiobook, credit must be given to Jack LeFleur, who took an almost ridiculous plot very seriously, and he read the sex scenes respectably. The fact that I set the book’s playback to three times the regular speed has nothing to do with him, but more to do with the voices of the narrators. Sparse and compact sentences just sound like you’re listening to a very long spoken word performance of romance. And that doesn’t work at all. It was too dramatic, there was too much gravitas for something that is more contrived than cunning. Listening to it faster kept the pace where it should be. Reading short sentences usually has a reader flying through the pages, after all.
I’m hopeful for this this couple, but with all the world-building and tempting unanswered questions in the background it’s almost a shame this book is standalone. I’m torn between advising buy or borrow because lovers of sci-fi and military romance will probably come back to this one again and again.
12:15. Carina Press. 15 Aug. 2011.