BRINGER OF DEATH…
Orishok is the last of his kind — a valo shaped by the Creators to embody death. He’s stood vigil over his people for centuries, watching them fade away, one by one succumbing to the entropic energies they hold inside. With his slightest touch unwillingly bringing death to all living things, he has remained isolated in his people’s city, his heart as empty as the buildings around him…until a pale, slight female arrives and shakes the foundations of his world.
GIVER OF LIFE…
Quinn Dalton lost everything when she was convicted of murder — her sister, her niece, her budding career — but it isn’t until she’s transferred to an interstellar penitentiary that she realizes her very life is no longer her own. Her existence aboard the Concord is a nightmare, broken only when the station is torn through a wormhole and crash lands on an alien world. After waking up alone and bloodied, but somehow unharmed, she seeks shelter in an abandoned city — where she discovers an ancient, wondrous mystery. Can she survive alongside a being whose touch means death?
Warning: This book contains foul language, explicit sexual content, and violence and is intended for mature readers only.
Review of Undying
Review by Riley
I loved that the human, Quinn, meets something extremely alien. Not just Orishok, but also the planet and the city. Orishok meets something just as alien to him when Quinn appears. Language, food, singing, sleeping, even emotion. When Orishok and Quinn first meet, they have nothing in common. But each has a reason to make the attempt to get to understand and know each other. There are serious moments and moments of humor. The developing relationship was tender and hopeful and heartwarming.
Very near the end of the story, Quinn and Orishok will meet some bad guys. The story needed more conflict, so I appreciate that it was in there, but it seem a bit contrived because it was not part of the entire story. Such is often an issue with a shorter novel.
Amazon says there are 180 pages in Undying. I don’t believe it. The e-book read like 80 pages, I absorbed it so fast! I guess I am saying that this book was easy to get into and hard to put down.
Undying is part of the Valos of Sonhadra series which is a shared collaboration of nine scifi and fantasy romance authors. If you want more after Undying, know that they can be enjoyed in any order and happily ever afters abound.
When the penitentiary ship she’s incarcerated in gets sucked into an anomaly, Lydia barely survives the crash onto an alien planet. Only the sadistic experiments performed on her by the prison’s scientist allow her to survive this harsh and dangerous world. The future looks grim until she stumbles upon a magnificent city of ice and its most unusual inhabitant.
Kai is fascinated by the delicate stranger fallen from the stars with the power to bring his hibernating city back to life. She stirs emotions long forgotten by his frozen heartstone. Can she be the salvation of his people or will the trap set by the Creators bring about their collective doom?
Review of Unfrozen
Review by K J Van Houten
Unfrozen opens with our heroine, Lydia imprisoned and undergoing experimentation against her will. She has an unusual condition where her body produces great heat, and she can also withstand great heat, as well as extreme cold. The experiments have only made her inexplicable condition worse.
The prison ship Lydia is on crashes onto the surface of an unknown planet. Lydia escapes, uncertain if anyone else survives or not, determined to get as far from the crash site as she can. She stumbles upon an abandoned city – well, inhabited by the strange statues of tall, humanoid men, made of an unusual substance that seems both hard and soft to touch at the same time, and bearing gaping holes in their chests. As Lydia studies the statues closer, she realizes that the holes are uniform, more like an open slot than damage. With a start, she realizes the statues may be more than they seem. As Lydia explores more, she begins to feel that she is being watched. Exhaustion finally overcomes her, and she falls asleep on a bed of ice – think of the famous ice hotels in some colder parts of Earth, like Norway.
While Lydia sleeps, met meet our hero, Kai. At first he things Lydia is from the race his people call the Creators or the Strangers. He has been the one watching her as she explored the city, as he is the only of his people awake. He watches over her as she sleeps, and brings her food for when she awakens.
Lydia is startled to find Kai. They speak different languages and have trouble communicating at first. Fortunately, Kai is capable of learning languages quickly the more he hears of it, so they are soon able to exchange basic words and ideas.
As they spend more time together, learning each other’s language and behavior, a growing attraction develops between Lydia and Kai. Lydia learns the secret of Kai’s people – an interested race that seems to be a cross between a cyborg, a golem, and an ice elemental. The holes in their chests are where their heartstones belong. These are a part of them that allows them to feel emotion and a provide a desire to go on living. Most of Kai’s brethren are in hibernation as they have lost this desire for life, others have gone to the extreme and shut down permanently. The heartstones were taken out by the previous race of Creators/Strangers that left the planet a very long time ago. The heartstones are piled in particular locations, which cannot be reached because they are surrounded by lava pools and the extreme heat would kill Kai’s people if they tried to reach them. Lydia’s ability to withstand extreme heat give hope that they can be restored.
This book starts off a little confusing for me. Not sure if it’s because the story is written in first person POV and the character isn’t ‘introduced’ to us by name for quite a while into the story. Although fortunately, the chapters are labeled “Lydia” or “Kai” to let us know which POV we’re getting in each. I normally don’t have an issue with reading first person narratives, however, and it didn’t take me long to settle into the story, once I could put a name and description of the main characters in place.
I find this world very interesting. Lydia seems a little too good to be true with her abilities, but she’s a likeable heroine. Kai is fascinating because I can’t put a single description to what he is. I tend to think ‘ice elemental-golem’ in my mind, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across a hero which like this. The pacing of the story is not fast, and it seems that learning to communicate and uncovering the secret of the heartstones and what needs to be done to save Kai’s people takes up most of the action of the story. The attraction and eventually love between Lydia and Kai is cute, at times playful, at times tender, and eventually a bit steamy – how does an ice elemental-golem handle the heat of a woman like Lydia?
There are, naturally, more twists than I’ve given away in this review. Lydia and Kai do have more hardships to overcome than just their communication problems, after all. The more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading. While the ending of the book is satisfying, it does open the way for more stories in this series. There are some unanswered questions such as why was Lydia on the prison ship, and what about the friends she mentioned leaving behind when she escaped? I’m intrigued enough that I think it’s worth going back to read the previous stories as well as ones to come.
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