There are two fans of Veronica Scott that review books for Whiskey With My Book. So when she introduces a new series, what do you think happens? Two reviews!
Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.
Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.
Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?
As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.
The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?
This is the first book in a new scifi romance series and each novel has a satisfying Happy for Now ending for the hero and heroine, not a cliffhanger. Some overarching issues do remain unresolved in each book since this is a series but romance always wins the day in my novels!
Review X2 of Aydarr
Review by Riley
One thing I did not like about Aydarr is the fact that the heroine has to start the adventure dressed only in a revealing nightie. Yeah, I get the circumstances, but I would like a special forces veteran to be a bit more practical when she is sleeping alone in a Sectors colony.
Despite Jill’s dubious scantily clad start, she proves to be a strong heroine, used to taking charge and getting things done. At one time this clashes with the alpha-dominated structure of Aydarr’s tribe. Good. They (the Badari and Jill) all need a little conflict to work through.
Aydarr is the original nice guy. Maybe too nice. I mean, a nearly naked woman shows up out of nowhere and all he can think about doing is protecting her. It is nice to think a hero can be an alpha and a nice guy.
Other genetically engineered soldiers add interest to the story as do an AI named MARL, alien races and ties to the history I already know from the Sector SciFi Romance series. If you are a fan of that series, I am certain you will enjoy Aydarr. The story stands alone, but there are cliffhanger aspects. This does not prevent what one assumes to be a HEA for the heroine and hero. It does set the reader up for another book in the series.
In the last few weeks, Aydarr is one of two books that I have read that has the element of genetic engineering. The theme of re-defining the sentient being is a theme that I always enjoy reading about. It causes us to think about what it means to be ‘human’ or, as I prefer to say, a viable sentient being that is equal to what I know to be a human being. I hope Ms. Scott will explore this theme more in upcoming books in this series.
The author provided a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.
Review by K J Van Houten
This book opens with Jill Garrison, ex-Special Forces support tech, waking up in the middle of a forest – with all the wrong type of trees! It takes her fuzzy mind a few moments to realize she isn’t in a lucid dream – the colourful, carnivorous trees and strange vegetation around her are real, it’s starting to rain heavily, and she’s wearing only her favourite skimpy pink nightie and a black metallic bracelet that she can’t remove. This was so not the comfortable bed she’d fallen asleep on back at her home on a colony planet that didn’t even have the same type of sun as the one she saw before the torrent of rain started.
Scary roars are heard in the distance but coming closer. There’s a mad dash for safety, running into an invisible barrier, and falling into a giant hole that houses a monstrous creature and its viperous offspring. Jill has many ‘what the heck’ moments as panic ensues. At the height of her distress, a giant of a man jumps into the hole and begins to fight off the monster while Jill is rescued from above by another man. Jill only has a moment of relief before she realizes that she’s been captured by a tribe of primitive men dressed only in loincloths, and with deadly claws for weapons. Why can’t she remember being kidnapped? How did such primitive men manage to take her from another planet and bring her here? Jill has many questions, along with fear for her safety among these strange men, as she succumbs to poison from a monster bite.
OK, so far, this story follows a traditional abduction trope. Girl is kidnapped, brought to another planet populated with alien men with no female in sight. Seems obvious what’s going on here. Still a good story, good action plot getting away from the monsters, tension building as Jill undergoes treatment – will these primitive medicines work? Or will the cure be worse than the venom? The Badari, as the men call their ‘pack’ seem to be decent men, but they are a band of warriors without females, how will they react to Jill’s presence? And most of all, there’s a hint of sparks already started to fly between Jill and Aydarr, the Badari Alpha, who is almost immediately possessive and protective of her. The idea of a girl from a tech-filled world dealing with life on a primitive world is interesting. Enough for a good, if somewhat predictable, story starting here.
But wait, there’s more! That only takes us to the beginning of chapter two!
Veronica Scott throws a twist into what seemed to be predictable story. These ‘primitive’ men turn out to be not so primitive after all. Aydarr slowly reveals to Jill that they are on planet ruled by the Khagrish, a race subservient to the Mawreg, a fearsome enemy in a long battle with the more peaceful races of the Sectors. The Badari are just one genetic creation among several as the Khagrish attempt to create improved soldiers for the Mawreg army. The Badari and other DNA-manipulated races are being observed and experimented upon, as well as trained for fighting. Jill has been thrown into the midst of the experiment. While her presence was at first a mistake, the scientists decide to let her presence continue to see how it affects the pack and particularly to see if Badari and humans are able to breed.
I’ve only given spoilers for the first couple of chapters!! There is much more to this story. Jill proves to have her own ideas for her presence in the experiment. Her agenda is to find her sisters and fellow human colonists that were abducted with her, find freedom for humans and Badari alike, and eventually find a way to contact the Sectors Forces for help escaping the Mawreg section of the galaxy. And somewhere along the way, tell Aydarr that she is falling in love with him.
In some ways, I feel like book should have been named Jill instead of Aydarr. Don’t get me wrong, Aydarr ranks right up there with some of the best heroes in Veronica Scott’s writing. He’s strong, intelligent, caring, an excellent leader who cares about not only his pack but also other people they encounter. And gorgeous to boot! We do get some of the story through his point of view that helps to reveal all of this. It seems, however, that more of the story is seen through Jill’s perspective. There are several important parts of the story that Jill endures and accomplishes without Aydarr’s help or even presence at times. She is a quite skilled and capable heroine! A lot of the story progression depends more heavily on Jill, and, no disrespect to Aydarr, I could totally see her surviving and winning without him. This is the kind of strong heroine that I love to see and which Veronica Scott is good at writing!
Aydarr is book 1 of the Badari Warriors, a spin-off of Veronica Scott’s Sectors series. I see a hint of the direction this series is likely to go, and it may not be necessary to have read the Sectors series first. There are a few details that I think will be better understood if the reader is familiar with the Sectors first though, particularly as to who the Mawreg and their servant races are, and some of the special abilities of soldiers in the Sectors Special Forces. Either with or without knowing the Sectors first, the reader is sure to enjoy this story. It may be one of Veronica Scott’s best!
Note: Author provided copy of Aydarr in exchange for an honest review. But I’d have rushed to buy it immediately on its release anyway!
Add Aydarr to your Goodread shelf:
You might also be interested in Veronica Scott’s guest post and introduction to the new series that begins with Aydarr.