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Reviewed by KJ Van Houten

salvationSalvation is book two of Kirk’s Prophecy series. My first impression is that a you really should read Prophecy first, as I’m not sure how well Salvation stands without it. (Since I’ve read Prophecy and the novellas also written as part of this series, I don’t think I am a good judge of whether any of these can stand alone.) I think Prophecy sets up the background of the overall universe and story. There are people, events, and interactions between species that may not be understood as well if read alone. And Salvation does begin 7 years after the events of Prophecy.

So be warned, spoilers to Prophecy may show up in this review!

My second impression is whoa! Is it just me or is it hot in here?! That first chapter more than sizzles! It’s just unfortunate that we don’t meet our hero until Chapter two!

Due to past events, the world is very different than we know it today, with vast destruction of major cities and loss of a great portion of the human population. We meet our hero, Nick Bock – brother to Alex, the heroine of Prophecy – on his way home from a recording session where he and a group of musicians are trying to rebuild the musical culture of human society. In Prophecy, Nick had discovered that he has a unique gift for healing, and was on path to train with Matiran healers. In Salvation, we find that he did not complete the healer registration at the end of his training, instead leaving the Collegium, having reached the conclusion that the healing gift just didn’t sit well with him, bringing with it more responsibility and recognition than he wanted.

Nick is called into a special meeting with his former mentor, Magister Dante Dacian, and his new protégé, Sakura Yamata, another human with an extraordinary healing gift. Nick is immediately drawn to Sakura against his will, seeing her as young, ambitious, humourless, and dedicated to healing at any cost. Sakura sees Nick as rude, arrogant, and selfish, despising him for the stories surrounding his disdain for their healing talent and his refusal to use it. In other words, a perfect match!

As the bearers of unusually high mastery of healing with their gifts, Nick and Sakura are tasked to find a cure for a group of rogue Anferthians that are dying at a hidden settlement on the Matiran homeworld that was set aside for them. The location of these rebels cannot be revealed so the healers must go in under a cloak of secrecy and stealth. Dealing with an unknown disease with a rapid decline of health and horrific death, Nick and Sakura find themselves thrown together for long hours of research and testing, dealing with personal issues, phantoms of their pasts, and a very real and present unknown danger that threatens their lives.

I’m going to cut myself off before I start giving away too many spoilers! I found Salvation to be an exciting followup to Prophecy. Kirk excels at writing relationships, and this was definitely not an exception. So many great interactions to follow – Nick and Sakura, Nick with his family, Nick and Sakura with the Anferthias they are trying to save, and even the larger political play between characters we see mostly behind a viewscreen or pulling strings of other characters in the story. This story is more than just watching romance bloom between our hero and heroine, it’s furthering the political field and battle actions previously set in motion as well. I highly recommend this series!

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