Commander Rafian VCA is one of the most gifted Space Marines in the Anstractor Alliance. His life changes when an elite group of spies known as the "Jumpers" recruit he and his wife-to-be into their order. Rafian finds the Jumper training to be harsh, unorthodox and nothing like he expected. They separate him from his love and rob him of his memory before sending him off to another Universe.
With no recollection of his betrothed, and the war on Anstractor, Rafian falls in love with a beautiful woman. He joins a rebellion, becomes a criminal, and focuses his efforts on overthrowing a government. As Rafian regains his memory, he remembers his mission, and realizes that everything was to prepare him. He must find his way home, take revenge on the aliens that invaded his planet, and set things right with the love of his life.
It is a charge that will take him across several planets, galaxies, and realities but there was one more thing... He must first take care of the Jumpers for what they did to him.
©2014 Gregory Dyer (P)2014 Gregory Dyer
I was given the Audible credit in return for an honest review, so here goes. To me, the story started out promising, with the main character living on the streets, having escaped the planet of his birth during an alien invasion, and escaping to a warship, where he is accepted into the academy which trains into future officers. Sounds like a rags to riches Ender's Game, and reads that way too, which isn't a bad thing. He becomes a successful pilot, and all around kick ass soldier. He does have a LOT of drama in his love life, more than I would have expected, but I was OK with it. Then the story takes a turn for the weird, when Rafian and his current Lady are recruited by the Network, which is a shadowy spy organization that is not mentioned once in the book until they got their invitations, which I thought was jarring. The training was reprehensible, where the students are basically forced to have sex with each other on pain of death, to learn not to form attachments of feeling with sex, and they are trained to kill, back stab and manipulate others. They are then sent on their first missions, to earn the right to gain the basic rank of Person. Before that, though, they are mindwiped to forget their memories of self, retaining only technical knowledge. Rafian is dumped in a universe where he is to join a rebellion and overthrow the government. He does this, while also falling for a Noble Lady Soldier, who he marries. He returns to the order after being gone for 3 years, only regaining his memories at the last minute. he then has to resolve the conflict between himself, his now wife, and the other woman he loves. Plus, all the other women he is going to keep having sex with. The last part of the book involved them taking back their home planet from the invading aliens. It felt rushed at the end, as if the storyline was jammed in place to fit regardless. Rafian's ability to rationalize having sex with all these different women, while his wife was raised to believe in a monogamous culture, was really jarring and really made me think of him as an unlikable jerk in that respect. It was overall an ok read, with some good bits in the combat scenes, buit the personal interactions and drama were offputting. I won't recommend against reading it, but it doesn't seem like a book that will be getting a re-read. The narrator was mediocre, being a bit monotoned, with a lot of background noise during her reading. She does not have much variety in her voice for different characters, so overall, 3 stars.
Set in a future universe, humans have been waring with each other and with an alien reptilian species. Now, the humans have consolidated their powers by force and a cat and mouse cold war exists between them and the reptiles. Rafian, as a small orphaned boy, is a casualty of all this chaos. He grows up in the system, being broken down and built up time and again until he is a superb pilot and killer.
The book started off strong and promising. I really enjoyed how the foundation for Rafian’s character was laid out as it explained many of his actions later on. Also, he’s not the only one who has gone through such harshness. Rather, the author built in characters with a variety of backgrounds. This made the plot even more interesting. In addition, there is plenty of cool tech, something I always look for in scifi. Once Rafian joins up with the spy program (which happens just past the halfway mark but is noted in the book blurb so I feel no guilt mentioning it), we get some pretty cool Matrix like stuff going on. The spy program isn’t at all what Rafian was expecting. The story is told through a series of memories, so I never really feared that Rafian would end up dead. He does have some pretty close calls though, so there is some good suspense.
Rafian also has a softer side he saves for the ladies. Indeed, he has several relationships throughout this book. The first couple added to the plot and gave Rafian’s character depth. But then things got a bit repetitive (for instance, he tends to date one drama queen after another) and more and more of the book was given over to Rafian’s love life. As less and less of the book was about the plot and the scifi universe, I became less interested in the story. Plus, Rafian is never at fault in any of these relationships and all of the women are extremely jealous of him spending any time with another female. Then we get into the whole forced promiscuity thing and it read more like a playboy’s fantasy than a scifi story. Yep, in the end I was left wanting more substance and less relationship drama.
However, the book is a fun military romance science fiction story if you aren’t looking for depth. I truly appreciated that women were equals in this tale and the author didn’t feel the need to point that out. We had women at every level in the command structure and serving as equals side by side with Rafian.
I received this audiobook from the author (via the Audiobook Blast Newsletter) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Anisha Dadia has a lovely British accent that she reads the entire book in. At first, I questioned why the author picked a female narrator when the main focus of the story is a man, but after the first hour, I felt Dadia was a good fit. Plus, the story is told in 3rd person, as an outsider looking in and recording all these events. Dadia had decent voices for the men and a variety of voices for the ladies. On the technical side, there sometimes was a change in volume and occasionally there was a small thump or other extraneous noise. Neither were enough to irritate me into turning off the audiobook.
I enjoy a good sci-fi and a good romance, but I guess I don't like a romantic sci-fi. The story was pretty good and I liked the characters, especially the strong female characters. But the romantic scenes took me out of the sci-fi action. On the other hand, the sci-fi scenes seemed much too violent for a romance. I'm sure there are many people that would really enjoy this type of novel.
Anisha Dadia did an excellent job. Her soft voice and British accent fit well in both the sci-fi and romance genre. Her pacing was excellent.
An epic, romantic sci-fi.
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
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